A free-to-air broadcast from the NFL greets Irish viewers this weekend as the New York Giants face off against the Green Bay Packers in the first-ever regular season game to be shown on Irish TV. If you’re just catching up with the NFL season, here’s what you need to know.
Where and when is it?
The game is taking place in the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, kicking off at 2.30 on Sunday - an early start for American viewers but perfect timing for us!
It is the second game to be held in London this season after last week’s clash between the New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings, and is the first time the Giants have played in London since they beat the Los Angeles Rams in 2016.
What to expect
This isn’t some exhibition clash between two lowly sides - both the Giants and Packers are positioning themselves to challenge for the title.
The Giants have come back from a bad year in 2021 to start this season 3-1, including their first week win against the Tennessee Titans, who were the number 1 team in the AFC in the regular season last year.
They are coming off the back of a 20-12 win over the Chicago Bears last week, where quarterback Daniel Jones ran in two touchdowns. Jones is in his fourth season in New York and his style is something different to what many are used to as he isn’t afraid to take the ball and run it by himself.
And under the tutelage of head coach Brian Daboll the Giants offence has finally kicked into gear, so expect them to try some creative running plays and for the passing to be reserved for backs-to-the-wall plays, such as on a third-and-long.
As impressive as the Giants have been this season, they are still the underdogs. The Packers go into this game as eight-point favourites and are expected to keep the Giants offence contained, especially early on.
Green Bay were the best team in the NFC in last year’s regular season and they have continued their strong form, also starting the season 3-1.
But their defence can be a little hit-and-miss - they faced a New England Patriots side reliant on rushing plays last week after the Pats were down to their third-choice quarterback, but still conceded 24 points and needed over-time to seal a 27-24 win.
That being said, the Packers defence is normally reliable, and is a good balancing force with one of the most robust offences in the league.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is still one of the best and he is bolstered by the powerful running-back duo of Daniel Jones and AJ Dillon, who are a joy to watch for fans of the rushing game.
Ironically, the ‘GB’ Packers are the last NFL team to play in Great Britain, and it will be interesting to see how they react to being taken out of their famous home, Lambeau Field, to play in London.
Rodgers has said playing in England is “a dream come true,” but if the UK’s large fanbase of the Giants can get under the Packers skin early in the game it could open the door for the spirited New York team to showcase their never-say-die spirit.
Last week’s London clash was a classic full of drama, and expect something similar here.
Where can I watch it?
Coverage hosted by Laura Woods, Jason Bell and Osi Umenyiora will begin on Virgin Media 2 at 2.0. Commentary comes from the Fox team of play-by-play announcer Kevin Kugler and game analyst Mark Sanchez.