The 2023 season will witness the 34th, 35th, and 36th NFL regular-season games played in London since the International Series began on Oct. 28, 2007. With the exception of 2020, each NFL season since 2007 has featured at least one London matchup. But no team has ever played two games in London in the same season. But that’s about to change, courtesy of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Jaguars’ Previous London Games
The Jags are no strangers to London, having competed in nine of the NFL’s last 26 contests there. In other words, if you randomly flipped on the TV these past 10 years to watch one of these contests, there was a 35% chance you’d see a Jacksonville game.
In fairness to the Jaguars’ franchise, they haven’t exactly been the pride and joy of the NFL, having compiled only two winning seasons in the last decade. In fact, if not for those London matchups, you would have been hard-pressed to see Jacksonville on TV at any other time . . . unless you live in North Florida or southern Georgia.
The Jags’ London debut was on Oct. 27, 2013, when they faced off against a dominant San Francisco 49ers squad that three months later would come 18 yards and an extra point away from knocking off the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship Game. Jacksonville’s 42-10 defeat is currently the fourth-worst loss in NFL London history — though fans got to see one more glimpse of Maurice Jones-Drew’s greatness.
In each season since then — with the exception of 2020, when the London series was canceled due to pandemic concerns — the Jaguars have traveled to Wembley Stadium or Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Arguably their best team during that stretch was 2017’s defensive juggernaut that nearly knocked off the New England Patriots in the AFC title game.
That defensive unit was second in sacks and interceptions and first in opposing QB completion percentage, yards per pass, and passing yards. They were also fifth in the league in points scored, with an offense led by rookie Leonard Fournette. In their London contest that year, the Jaguars pummeled the Ravens 44-7, as Baltimore yielded its highest point total in four years.
That also marks the second-highest point differential in any London game, period.
Jaguars’ 2023 London Schedule
For the first time in NFL history, a team will play two games in London in the same season. Not only that, but the games will be on back-to-back Sundays. The logic behind this is clear: the league doesn’t want teams to have to take multiple international round-trip flights. The back-to-back approach enables a chosen team to hunker down in England.
And which team has been selected for this NFL adventure? The Jaguars, of course. And not just any Jaguars team we witnessed in past years. The 2023 version is one of the most exciting and rapidly ascending franchises in the league. Not only does Jacksonville have realistic playoff aspirations, but they also have reasonable AFC Championship Game aspirations.
It’s an incredible opportunity for the NFL to showcase a team on the rise on successive Sundays, led on both sides of the ball by players who should be NFL mainstays for years to come, including Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne Jr., Christian Kirk, Calvin Ridley, Travon Walker, and Tyson Campbell.
Jacksonville will seek to improve on their 4-5 record in London games. Their first contest will be against Bijan Robinson and the Atlanta Falcons, taking place in Week 4 (Oct. 1) at Wembley Stadium. Their second matchup will be in Week 5 (Oct. 8) at Tottenham Hotspur and will feature a consequential matchup against Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills.