One club has made more trips over the pond than any other in the NFL’s first international game of the 2023 season. The Jaguars will play in London for the tenth time on Sunday, while the Falcons will play there for the third time overall and twice in the past three seasons.
In London, both sides hope to tie respective records. The Jaguars have a 4-5 record in these contests, which includes their Week 8 loss to the Broncos last season by a score of 21-17. In Week 4 of the 2021 season, Atlanta defeated the Jets 27-20 in their final game played in London. Kyle Pitts, a tight end, was a key player for the Falcons on that particular day, catching nine catches for 119 yards.
Falcons made the long journey to London only to collapse in front of a large worldwide audience. Atlanta was unable to convert a few strong drives into points and once again scored under 10 points on the road due to a lackluster attack that was led by two very awful Desmond Ridder turnovers and further sunk by a few costly defensive errors.
Ridder’s performance, how the coaching staff is positioning this offense for success, and why there are so many errors for a team with so many playmakers are all valid concerns raised by fans and experts. Because of the general excellent effort that has allowed the Falcons to stay in games despite a few significant slip-ups over the past two weeks, the defense is given a pass.
Jacksonville defeated the Atlanta Falcons 23-7 in London on Sunday thanks to defensive back Darius Williams’ 61-yard pick-six touchdown and a 30-yard touchdown pass from Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence to Calvin Ridley in the first quarter.
The Jaguars, who will remain in London and host the Buffalo Bills on Sunday at Tottenham Stadium, won thanks to three field goals from Brandon McManus.
Lawrence said: “It’ll be good to hang out in the city and get ready for Buffalo.”
The Falcons must immediately revive their passing attack, and Ridder is failing to deliver. It doesn’t help that veteran tight end Jonnu Smith is outperforming Kyle Pitts, the highly drafted tight end, who has largely been invisible.
The NFL failed to put on a fun show for the London crowd because this was a mainly uninteresting and lifeless game. The 2-2 Jaguars will now remain in London for their game versus the Bills, a much superior foe, the following week. If Ridder can perform better than he did today, the 2-2 Falcons can win their game against the Texans at home.
Coach Doug Pederson of the Jaguars stated, “It’s great; they responded well today,” while quarterback Trevor Lawrence added, “The win felt great.”
Lawrence said that winning there was a lot of pleasure, especially in London. Losing isn’t really fun, particularly when you’re so far from home. Without a doubt, our team provided a wise response– Lawrence.
The Falcons lost to the now-3-1 Detroit Lions last weekend, ending their 2-0 start and handing them their first defeat. Atlanta’s offense struggled to defend quarterback Desmond Ridder, who was sacked seven times during the Falcons’ 20-6 defeat despite having a strong defense.
In what could be a tight game between two teams with playoff hopes on Sunday, both clubs are undoubtedly looking to return to the winning side. Both teams have star players, including Atlanta rookie running back Bijan Robinson, who joins Sunday’s game with an excellent average of 5.5 yards per rush, Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars linebacker Josh Allen, Falcons safety Jessie Bates III, and Jacksonville linebacker Josh Allen.