For the 15th season, the NFL roadshow makes its way to London. It's the continuation of the league's commitment to develop the sport globally. Since the first NFL regular season game took place at Wembley in 2007, the NBA and MLB have decided to take their product overseas. They have the NFL to thank for taking that bold first step.
The NFL wanted to grow the sport internationally and made the brave decision to move one of the regular season games to the UK. The league knew there was interest in the sport in Britain, but would the public attend a game? You bet they would. As soon as the first game was confirmed, the league received over half a million requests for tickets in the first three days.
As ticket prices have increased, so too has the popularity of the NFL international Series in London. A ticket for that historic first game to be held in England’s capital in October 2007, was the hottest ticket in town, costing £45 for a seat in the upper tier of the recently renovated Wembley Stadium. A ticket for the same section for this year's contest at the same stadium between the Denver Broncos and the Jacksonville Jaguars has risen to £100. Ask anyone who has attended any of the 30 London games, and they will tell you, it has been money well spent.
The league remains keen to build on the popularity of the sport, which is one of the biggest betting markets with many of the NFL betting sites, by making it an annual event on their schedule. One game a season rose to multiple games at multiple venues with Twickenham and Tottenham Hotspur’s state-of-the-art stadium, built with NFL games in mind, hosting numerous games. This year's second game of three, will see the total attendance figure smash through the 2.5 million barrier.
October 2: Minnesota Vikings 28-25 New Orleans Saints (Tottenham Hotspur Stadium)
October 9: New York Giants @ Green Bay Packers (Tottenham Hotspur Stadium)
October 30: Denver Broncos @ Jacksonville Jaguars (Wembley Stadium)
Little did we know that when the New York Giants beat the Miami Dolphins in the first London game that the Giants would go on to win Super Bowl XLII at the end of that season.
Jason Taylor (Dolphins) and Michael Strachan (Giants) played in that game, and they are two of the 10 players inducted into the NFL's Hall of Fame, who have played in London. That number will continue to grow when more current players retire. Tom Brady, who led the New England Patriots to two victories in London, is a certain first ballot Hall of Famer after winning seven Super Bowls.
London is preparing to host it's 32nd game which will feature the Green Bay Packers who will be the 32nd and final NFL team to make the trip across the Atlantic when they face the Giants on Sunday.
So, what can Aaron Rodgers, who is looking to be named the league's MVP for a third straight season, and the rest of the Packers expect from a weekend in London? Green Bay will be the favorites with many of the leading sports betting sites to beat the New York Giants this weekend. Bookmakers.com has collected every possible stat from all 31 NFL games played in London so far and we highlight key individual stats that could be broken this year.
As the saying goes, better late than never. The Packers are about to make their debut in an NFL International Series game. The Packers will be the 32nd and final NFL team to accept the invitation to fly across the pond and play in London. For the Giants, this will be their third trip to the capital and after winning at Wembley and Twickenham, they will be looking to complete a hat-trick of wins at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday.
For the first time in an NFL London game, both teams have a winning record. The Giants and Packers have similar 3-1 records after the Giants bounced back from their 23-16 loss to the Dallas Cowboys to beat the Chicago Bears 20-12. The Packers are on a three-game winning streak after needing overtime to beat the Patriots, who finished the game with third-string quarterback Bailey Zappe leading their offense due to injuries to Mac Jones and Brian Hoyer.
For the Packers, much of the attention will focus on their quarterback Rodgers, who will surely take his place in the Hall of Fame as soon as he is eligible to do so. Rodgers will be the highest profile quarterback playing in London since Drew Brees led the New Orleans Saints to a 20-0 win over the Dolphins in 2017. Turning 39 at the start of December, this will probably be Rodgers' one and only trip across the pond, and he will want to put on a show for his fans in London.
On his day, Rodgers can smash all sorts of records. He is a student of the game and in the back of his mind, he will want to leave London with his name next to the individual passing records. First up, 458 yards remains the most passing yards in a single game, set by Kirk Cousins for Washington in their 27-27 tie with the Bengals in 2017. Surprisingly, for all the four-time MVP has achieved in his illustrious career, Rodgers has only thrown more than 458 yards, once in his career. That was in 2013 when he threw for 480 yards and four touchdowns in a 38-20 win for the Packers over Washington.
Four touchdown passes is the most in an NFL London game held by Patriots' Tom Brady in 2012 and the now retired Blake Bortles for the Jacksonville Jaguars five years later. Bortles also holds the NFL London record for yards thrown (1,209), most attempts (171), most completions (98) and most touchdown passes thrown (9) in the four games he played in for the Jaguars.
Rodgers is more than capable of setting a new record. The MVP from Super Bowl XLV has seven games in his career with five or more touchdowns passes. The last time he managed this, was in 2019 in a 42-24 win over the Raiders which saw him finish the game with a perfect quarterback rating of 158.3.
Giants' quarterback Daniel Jones will be hoping to get the better of his opposite number, if he can overcome an ankle injury sustained in the win over the Bears last weekend. Backup Tyrod Taylor left the game with a concussion which left Saquon Barkley leading the offense late in the game. However, starts under center, the Giants know how to win a game in London with a limited passing game. In the first ever London game, the Giants beat the Dolphins 13-10 with just 49 net passing yards.
If Jones does get the start, he might not be able to add to the one game in his career he has with 400+ yards. But when he has Barkley running the ball as well as he does, he doesn't have to pass the ball as much as Rodgers does. Jones has thrown five touchdown passes in a single game once in his career, doing so in a 41-35 overtime win over Washington in 2019.
Both players led their teams to victories last weekend, and while both games were one-possession games, there's nothing better than walking into the next game after a win. Rodgers threw for 251 yards and two touchdown as the Packers beat the Patriots 27-24 with a field goal as time expired in overtime. Jones may only have thrown for 71 yards in New York's 20-12 win over the Bears, he did score two rushing touchdowns.
458 yards: K Cousins (WAS vs CIN)
4 touchdown passes: T Brady (NE vs STL), B Bortles (JAC vs BAL)
5 interceptions: J Winston (TB vs CAR)
7 sacks: J Winston (TB vs CAR)
Wembley is the home of English soccer, or football as it is called in the UK, and it was in the old version of the ground that Geoff Hurst scored a memorable hat-trick of goals to help England win the 1966 World Cup.
In the 31 NFL games played in London, no running back has scored a hat-trick of touchdowns. Marcedes Lewis is the only person to have scored three touchdowns in a single game, but they were all touchdown passes from Blake Bortles in the Jaguars’ 44-7 drubbing of the Baltimore Ravens in 2017.
After a couple of injury hit seasons, Giants running back Barkley is back to his best. After four games, he leads the NFL with 463 rushing yards and is currently on course to finish the season with 1,968 rushing yards. If the Giants are to win their division, they will need Barkley to stay fit as it takes the pressure of quarterback Jones. Barkley could be in for a big day as the Packers run defense is ranked 22nd, allowing 126.8 yards per game.
The Giants allow 141.0 rushing yards per game which will be great news to Green Bay running back Aaron Jones. Jones is averaging 81.8 yards on the ground per game this season, but he should improve that if the Packers struggle to stop the run. If you like running games more than seeing quarterbacks light up the sky with passes, then this could be the game for you.
The longest run in an NFL London game is 60 yards when Adrian Petersen ran for a 60-yard touchdown for the Minnesota Vikings against the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2013. Barkley already has a 68 yard run this season for the Giants in their 21-20 season opening win in Tennessee. Jones has a 77-yard from two seasons ago to remind us that he can turn a short run into a monster play. Be sure to check out our NFL lineups for confirmation as to who is playing this weekend.
166 yards: C Ivory (NYJ vs MIA)
29 carries: F Gore (SF vs DEN)
2 touchdowns: By 7 different players
A wide receiver is only as good as the quarterback throwing the ball to him. And for any receiver lining up for Green Bay, they know they have one of the best in the game looking to target them. Rodgers can make anyone look good because of his accuracy at finding players downfield. For eight seasons, Rodgers had Davante Adams to throw to which was the foundation of their success in making the playoffs three seasons in a row.
Adams has gone and while the Packers are on course to make it to the playoffs, Rodgers has yet to build an understanding with his current crop of receivers, like he did with Adams. Rookie Romeo Doubs has emerged as a reliable receiver for Rodgers. Doubs leads the team with 19 catches and with 184 receiving yards. The more the pair work together, the better their understanding will be and if Rodgers can get Doubs involved early, the rookie, who has 125 yards after catches this season, could have a big game in London.
The record for receiving yards in an NFL London game is Cooper Kupp's 220 yards. Remarkably, the Los Angeles Rams receiver needed only seven catches from his then quarterback Jared Goff to set the mark in 2019.
Richie James might not be a household name yet, but after four seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, the wide receiver is on course for his best season ever. Cut by the 49ers after suffering a knee injury before the start of last season, James has settled in very well in the Big Apple and has earned the trust of quarterback Jones. Nobody has caught more passes (15) for more passing yards (155) than James who might be one to watch on Sunday more so now that Sterling Shepard's season is over because of a knee injury.
Last weekend in London, Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson came two catches short of Antonio Brown's record of 12 catches and Jefferson's 147 receiving yards was the seventh most in the 31 games played in the capital. All the receivers on show this weekend will need a great game from their quarterbacks if they are to challenge Kupp's single game record.
220 yards: C Kupp (LAR vs CIN)
12 catches: A Brown (PIT vs MIN)
3 touchdowns: M Lewis (JAC vs BAL)
A defense can often carry a team in the NFL if the offense is not firing on all cylinders. But a good defense can only take a team so far. Defense will play a big part in this year's three London games, as it has done in the previous 31 contests.
Three players share the record for the most sacks in a single game in London with 2.5 sacks. Jared Allen was the first to do so for the Vikings in their 34-27 win over the Steelers in 2013. Four years later, Frank Clark registered 2.5 sacks for the Seattle Seahawks in their 27-3 win over the Oakland Raiders.
The third defender to have 2.5 sacks in a game did so against one of this weekend's starting quarterback, Jameis Winston. Gerald McCoy got 2.5 of the seven sacks the Panthers managed in their 37-26 win over Winston's Buccaneers in 2019. Of all the pass rushers on show this weekend, Green Bay's Rashan Gary is the one most likely to trouble quarterbacks.
Gary is third in the NFL with five sacks this season already. Only Nick Bosa of the 49ers (6.0) and Steelers' Alex Highsmith (5.5) have more sacks than the Packers defender. Gary has registered at least one sack in each game this season and comes into this contest with two in last week's win over the Patriots including a strip sack. Gary has yet to have a three-sack game in his NFL career.
For the Giants, Dexter Lawrence leads the way with two sacks. They both came last week in the Giants' win over the Bears. Like Gary, Lawrence has yet to sack a quarterback three times in a game. Sunday would be a great time for either to put that record straight.
If you like to see interceptions in your NFL game, then you might be disappointed with this matchup. The Giants are the only defense in the league without an interception this season. Things aren't much better for the Packers who have one pick this year.
2.5 sacks: J Allen (MIN vs PIT), F Clark (SEA vs OAK), G McCoy (CAR vs TB)
2 interceptions: B Merriweather (NE vs TB), L Collins & D Rodgers-Cromartie (NYG vs STL), J Bradberry (CAR vs TB)
In terms of last week's NFL London game between the Vikings and the Saints, there weren't many records broken. However, one record was broken and came within a double doink of being broken for a second time. We are of course talking about Wil Lutz's fourth quarter field goal for the Saints. With a minute and 56 seconds remaining, Lutz kicked a 60-yard field goal, breaking Jacksonville Jaguars' Josh Lambo's previous best from 57 yards.
Lutz' kick sailed through the uprights with a couple of yards to spare, so when New Orleans faced a 3rd and 10 on Minnesota's 43-yard line, Saints head coach Dennis Allen had no hesitation in calling for his kicker to try and force overtime. However, His 61-yarder bounced off the upright and onto the crossbar before taking a Vikings bounce and landing in the end zone.
So now the record for the longest field goal kicked in London is 60 yards. Which of this weekend's kickers are best placed to beat that? The advantage is with Giants' Scottish born kicker Graham Gano who has a 63-yard field goal for the Panthers in 2018 on his 13-year resume.
Mason Crosby has spent all 16 years of his career in Green Bay, but he has yet to kick a field goal longer than 58 yards. Crosby has not attempted a field goal of 60 yards or longer, so we don't know where he can be relied upon or not. If Sunday's game comes down to a field goal in the closing stages, I think we can assume Packers head coach Matt LeFleur will give Crosby the nod.
Vikings kicker Greg Joseph wrote his name into the history books last weekend with he kicked the most points scored by a kicker. Before Joseph kicked five field goals and an extra point, the previous best points tally was Greg Zeurlein's 15 points from four field goals and three extra points for the Los Angeles Rams in their 24-18 loss to the Cardinals at Twickenham in 2017.
Both Crosby and Gano have finished games in their career with 17 points, which would set a new record. Gano managed his more recently, doing so for the Giants in a 30-29 loss to Washington thanks to five field goals and two extra points. Crosby's 17 points came from the same methods in a 29-29 tie with the Vikings in September 2018.
Crosby has yet to miss any of his four field goals or nine extra point attempts this season. It's a much improved season after missing 11 kicks last season to put his place on this season's roster in jeopardy. Gano has kicked all five extra points for the Giants, but he has missed two of his 11 field goal attempts. A 37-yarder missed the target against the Bears last weekend, seven days after a 47-yard attempt was blocked by the Cowboys. If you think Gano or Crosby will land the longest field goal in NFL London history, get on your NFL betting apps and make the bet.
16 points: G Joseph (MIN vs NO)
60 yards: W Lutz (No vs MIN)
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