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Jags set to play twice in London

by ROB MAADDI AP Pro Football Writer | May 11, 2023 at 2:26 a.m.
Quarterback Trevor Lawrence and the Jacksonville Jaguars will play twice in London this season, facing the Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 1 and the Buffalo Bills on Oct. 8 (AP/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Trevor Lawrence and the Jacksonville Jaguars will become the first NFL team to play two international games in the same season when they spend back-to-back weeks in London this year.

The Jaguars will "host" the Atlanta Falcons at Wembley Stadium on Oct. 1 and "visit" the Buffalo Bills at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Oct. 8. The Jaguars were set to play two designated home games in London in 2020 but the pandemic canceled those plans.

The NFL also announced dates for three other international games and released the opponents for a few other games, including the first Black Friday matchup.

The Tennessee Titans will "host" the Baltimore Ravens at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Oct. 15. NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes and the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs will "host" the Miami Dolphins in Germany at Eintracht Frankfurt Stadium on Nov. 5. The New England Patriots will "host" the Indianapolis Colts on Nov. 12, also in Frankfurt.

Aaron Rodgers and the New York Jets will host the Dolphins on Nov. 24. The reigning NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles will host the New York Giants on Christmas Day in a playoff rematch. The Chiefs will host the Cincinnati Bengals on New Year's Eve in another playoff rematch.

The entire NFL schedule will be released tonight.

"Hosting the Falcons at Wembley Stadium will be awesome only to be followed by playing on the road against the Bills at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium," Lawrence said in a statement. "I'm pumped for the experience and know the support from Duval will be strong at both games."

The Jaguars have played nine games in London, including a 21-17 loss to the Denver Broncos last October in front of an NFL-record international crowd of 86,215 fans at Wembley Stadium. Under Coach Doug Pederson, who guided Philadelphia to a Super Bowl title in 2017, the Jaguars last year became the first team to win a playoff game after having the worst record the previous season.

It'll be the second trip to London for the Titans and the Ravens.

"It's exciting to witness and play a role in the NFL's rise in popularity across the globe," Ravens president Sashi Brown said. "This is an incredible opportunity to play in front of and connect with Ravens fans in the United Kingdom and throughout Europe."

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Seattle Seahawks in Munich in the NFL's first regular-season game in Germany last season.

"We are thrilled to be headed to Frankfurt this fall to play the Dolphins," Chiefs owner Clark Hunt said. "The Chiefs have a long history of helping to grow the game of football around the world, and we have been eagerly anticipating our chance to play in Germany."

The Patriots are 3-0 in international games while the Chiefs are 2-0.

"Germany has some of the most passionate sports fans in the world and has always been an international leader in enthusiasm for American football and the NFL," Patriots owner Robert Kraft said. "I'm thrilled to play a home game in this new market and to continue to build upon our team's long history and engagement with German fans. Our goal is to connect with fans at the local level and I look forward to expanding that fan base and fostering additional relationships and opportunities for partnership in Germany as well as Austria and Switzerland."

There will be no international game in Mexico in 2023 because of renovations taking place at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.

The five international games in 2022 set record-breaking attendance and viewership. Each game was sold out with a total of 356,116 in attendance.

"We are excited to bring three games to London once again, a city with a huge love for the sport and a passionate fan base across the UK," said Peter O'Reilly, NFL executive vice president, club business, major events and international. "We are also pleased to confirm that the two games in Germany will be played in Frankfurt, a city steeped in NFL heritage. We look forward to staging both games at Eintracht Frankfurt's Stadium, building on the incredible atmosphere experienced at last season's game in Munich."

The NFL's expansion to 17 regular-season games in 2021 gives teams a ninth home game in alternating seasons. Up to four of the teams from the conference whose teams are eligible for that ninth regular-season home game are designated to play a neutral-site international game each year.

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