The NFL has made London its base of operations for European football ever since NFL Europe folded, and by playing games in Wembly Stadium, the league is hoping to get a firm foothold on the continent. The Falcons vs. Lions game is the latest game in that series, and one of an unprecedented three in London this season.
On the game, I spoke to Choice Hotels UK for a game preview, which you can read here. If you're heading to London to catch the game and you're looking for lodging, check out the Quality Hotel Wembley, which is just a stone's throw from the stadium.
The London games have a short but interesting history. Four have been decided by seven points or less, one by eight points and the remaining four have all been fairly massive blowouts. In easily the most alarming statistic to come out of this series, the designated "home" team has only won three out of a possible nine games, which doesn't bode well for our beloved and badly reeling Falcons. The impetus for having a team actually based in London comes mostly from a business perspective, but it's not hard to imagine it would help to have an actual home game for the team in question.
Otherwise, there aren't a lot of patterns to analyze. The league hasn't necessarily sent its marquee teams over to do battle, or at least not two of them against one another. Gur Samuel noted yesterday that another unsettling trend may come into play here, as five of the nine international series games have seen a team involved fire its head coach by the end of that same season. If a likelihood of a "home" loss and a coach firing are your trends, that's not a good thing for this team, though I do appreciate that European fans are getting a shot to see the team in person.
Below, from NFL.com, are the results of and schedule for all London-based games:
International Series games:
" 2014: Week 8 (Oct. 26), Falcons-Lions, 9:30 a.m. ET
" 2014: Week 10 (Nov. 9), Cowboys-Jaguars, 1 p.m. ET
" 2014: Dolphins 38, Raiders 14
" 2013: 49ers 42, Jaguars 10
" 2013: Vikings 34, Steelers 27
" 2012: Patriots 45, Rams 7
" 2011: Bears 24, Buccaneers 18
" 2010: 49ers 24, Broncos 16
" 2009: Patriots 35, Buccaneers 7
" 2008: Saints 37, Chargers 32
" 2007: Giants 13, Dolphins 10
How are you feeling about the game ahead?