What will the matches be?
Graphics: Igor Lazarevic
the NFL will reveal the matches of the five regular season international matches for the upcoming 2022 season.
We already know who the home teams will be as well as the venues and even some dates. However, on the eve of the announcement, we still don’t know who the designated local teams will face.
In 2021, when the NFL announced they would expand the regular season to 17 games, they also indicated a format they would use starting in the 2022 season. From then until 2029, each of the league’s 32 teams will drop one game at home and will play abroad at least once. This will indicate who gets the extra home game in a given year. This year, 2022, will have the NFC2023 will have the FCA, and the cycle repeats. This does not include teams that already have existing offers in place, such as Jacksonville Jaguars who have played a “home” game in London almost every year since 2013.
Let’s take a look at the possible matches for the 2022 NFL International Series:
Week 4, October 2: New York Giants @ Green Bay Packers
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, United Kingdom
This will be the first of three games this year, as well as the long-awaited first-ever London game for the Green Bay Packers. For years, the team never went overseas because the city of Green Bay needed the team’s eight home games to sustain its economy. They would also never be an overseas road team as most teams would prioritize the Packers, one of the most dominant teams in the league over the past three decades, as well as a large fan base that travels to be a game they have at their usual home. With the addition of Game 17 of the regular season, the Packers were finally able to get an international game.
As for who their opponent will be, that’s more of a mystery. Considering the Packers long story against their NFC North rivals, in the Bear, the Lions and vikings, these home games would be hard to give up. the Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots also seem highly unlikely as these are national brands for the league and Green Bay wouldn’t want to give it up. So there are really only four choices that could really be considered for this. the Rams, Titans, Jets and giants.
the Los Angeles Rams are the only ones of these teams to say publicly that they are open to being the Packers opponent in London for this year, but given that they just won Super Bowl LVImore than likely, the Packers want to give it up. The Titans are in a situation similar to that of the Packersthey finished first in the conference last year.
As for the two New York teams, while Jets have decided to market their games to UKthey already played last season against the Atlanta Falcons and they are unlikely to play another game in consecutive years. This makes the giants the most logical option. It’s a team that hasn’t been particularly good in the last five years. They said they wanted to play more international matches and the Packers could afford to abandon this game.
Week 5, October 9: Minnesota Vikings @ New Orleans Saints
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, United Kingdom
For the second game of London this year the Saints will give up a home game to play away. This will be their third game in Londonwith their first and second clashes stemming from victories over the Chargers in 2008 and dolphins in 2017. When the Saints have been announced to star in London back in Marchthere were early reports that they would be against one of their NFC South rivals. However, since then, we have obtained an almost concrete confirmation. In week 4 or 5, they will apparently face their biggest cross-divisional rival, the Minnesota Vikings. This makes sense since the vikings have decided to start marketing their games in the UK as the Jetsand want to take this opportunity to market themselves further.
Week 8, October 30: Denver Broncos @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Wembley Stadium, London, UK
After playing last year at Tottenham Hotspur Stadiumthe jaguars announced the establishment of a new contract with Wembley Stadium which will be in place until the 2024 season. This will be the ninth game for Jacksonville in the International Series, and have no sign of stopping their commitment to the City of London any time soon. As for their opponent, it has been confirmed that they will host the Denver Broncos October 30. It makes sense because the Broncos would have faced Falcons in London in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic has thwarted such plans. the Broncos were particularly interested as they have the longest drought without an international game among the rest of the teams (without Green Bay) dating back to 2010 when they lost to the 49ers.
Week 10, November 13: Kansas City Chiefs @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
After years of speculation, the country of Germany will organize a game in the International Series. Over the next four years, the cities of Munich and Frankfurt will each host a game. the Tampa Bay Buccaneersone of four teams that claimed Germany as an international market, will get the first dibs to host a game. We even have a fixed date, November 1st. Although it is not certain who Buccaneers will play again, the programming would make sense for it to be the Kansas City Chiefs. This choice is still uncertain because it would be a revenge of Super Bowl LV and the meeting of Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes doesn’t look like anything Tampa Bay want to give up their territory. However, as the Buccaneersthe Chiefs pretend too Germany as an international market and even announced a Day 3 draft pick in Munich. So it’s definitely possible.
Week 11, November 21: Los Angeles Rams @ Arizona Cardinals
Azteca Stadium, Mexico City, Mexico
the Arizona Cardinals were originally intended to host a game in Mexico City in 2020, but as the Falcons in London that year, COVID-19 delayed any potential plans at that time and was postponed to a later date. According to the tradition of Mexico City games, they will be played the weekend before Thanksgiving. Also, consistent with the 2016 and 2019 matches, this match will be played on Monday night football.
Similar to the Packerswe don’t know which team will play against the Cardinals because it contains the least amount of information. The best estimate among all opponents scheduled at home for Arizona is their division rival and reigning superbowl champion Los Angeles Rams. While it’s odd in theory for a team to drop a playoff rematch and a game against the defending champions, the Rams had to get a match against the Chiefs in 2018 but this game was moved to Los Angeles due to poor ground conditions at Azteca Stadium. the Chiefs ended up playing a year later, but the Rams haven’t played yet. Moreover, the icing on the cake is that the Rams as the Cardinals chose Mexico as an international market, so that’s even more of a reason to choose them as your choice for the game.