Sports

NFL’s top two draft picks set for London games

Quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson, the top two picks in the 2021 NFL draft, will be on the international stage this season with their teams set to play in London.

As part of the NFL schedule release, the league announced its return to London on Wednesday, with the Atlanta Falcons set to host Wilson’s New York Jets on Oct. 10 and Lawrence’s Jacksonville Jaguars to host the Miami Dolphins on Oct. 17. Both games will be played at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The NFL did not play any international games last season because of the coronavirus pandemic. The league had been set to hold four games in London and one in Mexico City last season.

The Jaguars selected Lawrence No. 1 overall in last month’s draft after going 1-15 last season, while the Jets selected Wilson No. 2 after finishing 2-14 and trading former starter Sam Darnold earlier in the offseason.

The NFL started playing games in London in 2007, when the Dolphins hosted the New York Giants and played at least one game there every season until last year’s pause due to the pandemic.

This year’s game will be the Jaguars’ eighth home game in London, while the Dolphins will be playing in the city for the fifth time. When the Jets and Falcons play, it will mark their second time each playing in London.

When the NFL announced the expansion of the regular season to 17 games per team earlier this season, it said the enhanced season will guarantee that, starting in 2022, each team will play an international game at least once every eight seasons. Up to four neutral-site games will be scheduled with the initial focus on Canada, Europe, Mexico, South America and the United Kingdom. The league said interested teams can also volunteer to play home games internationally, as they currently can do. Chris Halpin, the NFL’s executive vice president and chief strategy and growth officer, said that Germany is among the countries that could host a game in the coming years.

The entire 2021 NFL schedule will be released at 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

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