The NFL announced the 2016 UK International series games on Wednesday and for the fourth consecutive season, the Jacksonville Jaguars will front and center. The game will be played October 2, (week four) against AFC South rival, Indianapolis. It is the first time the Jaguars will host a division rival in London. The game will be played at Wembley Stadium.
“The passion our UK fans have shown for the NFL is overwhelming,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, in a press release. “We are very appreciative of the strong and growing fan support, not only for the games, but for all of the related NFL events we host in the UK throughout the year. We look forward to welcoming new fans to their first NFL game in 2016 and welcoming back thousands of others that are helping our sport grow to new levels of popularity in London and beyond.”
There were rumors that the Jaguars would play twice in London in 2016, with one of those games being a road game. If that had come to fruition, the Jaguars would not have had a bye week after one of those games. That seems like a huge disadvantage for a team that is London’s only yearly visitor and is now scheduled to play at least one game there every year through 2020. Other games announced include the St. Louis Rams hosting an NFC East team on October 23 at the new stadium in Twickenham. The opponent will be decided based on the NFC East team that finishes in the same spot in the standings as the Rams do in the NFC West based on the NFL’s scheduling formula. The following week, the Cincinnati Bengals will host the Washington Redskins at Wembley.
While the Jaguars are not playing two games in London, at least for now… the scheduling twist that will decide the NFC East opponent could mean the Washington Redskins would play consecutive weeks in London. Playing twice in London would not be ideal for any team, based on the fact that there will be no extra recuperation time built in, the NFL would like a team to play two games at some point. It did not happen this time around, but it will and it will likely include the Jaguars. The game times were not announced by the NFL, but they will do that at a later date. The 9:30 a.m. timeslot seems to work well for the most part and chances are the NFL will go that route with the majority of the games at that time. The only downside is that the games start at 6:30 a.m. on the west coast, which for the most part, people don’t seem to mind.
Jacksonville beat Buffalo earlier this season in London, winning 34-31. The game made history, as the first NFL game available only on the internet. All indications are that the streaming on Yahoo.com was a success, so it would not be surprising to see the NFL do that again with one or more of the 2016 games. Meanwhile, there is a lot of football left to be played this season and the Jaguars (4-6) will continue their 2015 playoff push on Sunday against the visiting San Diego Chargers. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.