Just 15 hours after Sunday’s loss to the Carolina Panthers, and despite a three-hour flight delay delaying their departure, the New Orleans Saints touched down in London on Monday to signal the start of the Champions League international playoffs. NFL.
“[I don’t know] what day it is,” defensive end Cameron Jordan tweeted. “But we are here.”
Teams have, since the start of the London Games in 2007, experimented with different logistical formulas, largely to combat jet lag, and in recent years – and, in particular, last year’s Covid restricted series – the “in, out” method has become increasingly popular.
The Minnesota Vikings, opponents of the Saints at Tottenham on Sunday, do not arrive until Friday. Regardless of the fact that, for any American tourist, a week in London seems a rather more attractive financial proposition than a week ago, New Orleans has returned to the schedule that has secured victory on each of its last two trips. in the capital. , in 2008 and 2017.
Maybe they owe it to London too: Sunday’s upset in Charlotte means the series retains a remarkable record of never having seen two teams with winning records meet.
That could change everything next week, however, in what is the most anticipated game in the capital for years as the Green Bay Packers play their first-ever game in London and complete the full set of 32 NFL franchises. visiting the UK.
They and the New York Giants sit 2-1, which means if the two win again this weekend, the hoodoo will finally be broken, cleanly, the 32nd time.
The Packers will of course bring Aaron Rodgers with them, the first time a reigning MVP will play in London since running back Adrian Peterson did so for the Vikings nearly a decade ago.
The presence of the Packers and Rodgers gives the series the spice it lacked in last year’s disappointing line-up, while the Jaguars’ return to Wembley (they face the Denver Broncos in Game 3) sows familiarity and gives the feeling that after several years of disruption, the London Games are ready to return to the top of their first season at Tottenham in 2019.