The calendar has clicked into October which means that the NFL 2023 season hits London for the first time as the Jacksonville Jaguars head back to their adopted city when they host the Atlanta Falcons at Wembley Stadium.
This might have come at a good time for the Jaguars because they have lost their last two matches and face an Atlanta side who have started the season a little better than most would have been expecting. Wembley games are always good occasions.
Where to watch
The match will be shown live and in full on ITV1 in the UK with the build-up beginning at 1.55pm ahead of the kick off which is 2.30pm London time.
The reigning AFC South champions Jacksonville Jaguars looked to be in a good spot to have a positive season this term heading into it. They have seen their major rivals in the division look a little weaker and their young squad has plenty of potential to improve but they have fallen out of the starting traps a little. They won their opening match but have dropped two since then and will want to use the London advantage positively.
The win came against the Indianapolis Colts in the opening game and while there was no real shame in defeat to the Kansas City Chiefs in week two, losing to the Houston Texans last week will have been disappointing for them. Their offense has been very clunky so far this season which led to their defence having to be on the field longer than they would have wanted last week which in turn just contributed to a horrible day at the office. Jacksonville need to improve here.
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The Atlanta Falcons probably weren’t seen as a side who were going to catch the eye this season but when they won their opening two matches they were on the edge of forcing doubters to take notice of them, however just when it looked like they were a promising team ready to break out they put in a shocker of a showing against the Detroit Lions last week and undid a lot of their hard work despite carrying a 2-1 record to the English capital with them.
The big problem that they have is quarterback Desmond Ridder is starting to struggle and if the run game of the Falcons can’t get anything going you sense they are going to find it hard to impose themselves on teams. Defensively the Falcons have been decent enough. They have only conceded 54 points in their three matches so that is very much a positive but they need to be putting points on the board if they are to get anywhere, especially with the Saints already looking good in the NFC South.
I really am not a fan of backing unders in the London games because they are often a showcase for the sport in this part of the world but we’ve had enough matches in England that the pageantry side of things might just be dying down and teams are here purely for business and so I will make an exception and take the under here. The line is at 43.5 but I expect to see plenty of running the ball, particularly from the Atlanta Falcons.
The problem with that is the Jacksonville Jaguars defence has been pretty good against the run and with Desmond Ridder clearly struggling in the passing game you would imagine there will be little room in the box for Bijan Robinson to get the Atlanta run game going. Trevor Lawrence and the Jacksonville offense have a few questions to answer, especially in the red zone so I see a game with a fair bit of running the ball and field goals and a point total of under 43.5 points.
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