Some meaningful football could be played across the pond in 2018.
The NFL on Thursday announced the three regular-season games that will take place in London this upcoming campaign: Seattle Seahawks vs. Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans vs. Los Angeles Chargers.
That’s one game fewer international game than the 2017 season, which featured four games in the United Kingdom. But there’s good news: We could be replacing quantity with quality.
The 2017 slate was absolutely abysmal, with every game decided by 17 points or more and one team failing to score more than seven points in three of the four contests — two of which were shutouts.
We’ll leave the past in the past, though, and look ahead to an enticing 2018 lineup. Here are the three matchups, ranked from most to least entertaining:
1. Eagles vs. Jaguars. No surprise here. We didn’t have a single London matchup between playoff teams last season, but Eagles-Jags will buck that trend, as both teams won their respective divisions in 2017. Can Carson Wentz return to elite form after his ACL injury in a showdown against one of the league’s best secondaries? Will Eagles running back Jay Ajayi put on a show in his native London, or will Jacksonville’s Leonard Fournette prove he’s the real deal in his second season? It isn’t Jags-Patriots, but this still is a fascinating matchup.
2. Seahawks vs. Raiders. Welcome back, Jon Gruden. Now go play a “home game” more than 5,000 miles from Oakland. Travel will be brutal for these two West Coast teams, but there’s plenty of juice in this one. Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch plays his first game against his former team, Richard Sherman and Michael Crabtree meet again and two clubs that underachieved in 2017 hope to prove they’re playoff material. The game also will be played at Tottenham Hotspur’s brand-new stadium, which is set to open later this year.
3. Titans vs. Chargers. There had to be one dud in the mix. Titans-Chargers doesn’t give us much to get excited about, although it’s not awful: Both teams finished with winning records (9-7, but still) in 2017 and feature marginally exciting quarterbacks in Marcus Mariota and Philip Rivers. We’ll take mediocre over bad.
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