The Miami Dolphins and New Orleans Saints will face off in London during the 2017 season’s NFL International Series, according to Richard Graves of Sky Sports. It is the first International Series matchup to be announced for the 2017 season.
The NFL’s International Series has been derided for featuring exclusively below-average teams over the last couple seasons. With both the Dolphins and Saints currently sporting sub-.500 records in the 2016 season, this announcement will do little to quiet that criticism. The games have managed to attract fans and popularity despite the criticisms regarding quality of play.
Regardless of the quality of teams, the games played internationally so far in 2016 have largely been competitive. On October 2nd, the Jacksonville Jaguars beat the Indianapolis Colts by three points. In Week 7, the New York Giants beat the Los Angeles Rams by one touchdown. Entering the fourth quarter of the current Week 8 matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and Washington Redskins, the Bengals lead by only three.
The NFL’s International Series has been played exclusively in the United Kingdom since 2007. On November 21 of this season, they will return to Mexico City for the first time since the NFL played their first international game in 2005. The game in Mexico will be between the Houston Texans and Oakland Raiders. Both teams could well be in playoff contention at the time that game takes place.
The Rams, as part of their relocation from St. Louis, have agreed to play in the International Series at least once per year until their new stadium is scheduled to be completed in 2019.