The Redskins are going to meet the Bengals in London on October 30, 2016. It will be the team’s first regular-season game not played in North America and just the second on foreign soil (the played the Bills in Toronto in 2011). Here are a few of my very early thoughts on it.
— The Redskins are not going to be giving up a home game. That is contrary to what was reported when we heard that the Redskins were in the mix for a London game earlier this season. There really is no reason for them to do so as they aren’t going to be in the mix to bid for a Super Bowl until FedEx Field is replaced and that won’t happen for another decade. With the international slate expanding in the years to come it’s likely they will give up a home game at some point but not this time around.
—I have heard that there are a lot of Redskins fans in London and all around England. The reason is that the Redskins were one of the top teams in the NFL when they first started televising NFL games there in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. I don’t know if that’s true or not but I suppose we’ll find out in the coming months.
—I’m not sure if the Bengals are highly popular in England or not. They have been better than the Redskins lately so perhaps there is some bandwagon effect. But the Redskins probably won’t have to practice going on silent counts due to hostile crowd noise in Wembley Stadium.
—The odd twist is the TBD game that the Rams will “host” at Twickenham Stadium on October 23. If the Redskins finish in the same position in the NFC East standings as the Rams do in their division, the Redskins will play in London in back-to-back weeks. Currently both teams are 4-6 and the Rams are in third place and the Redskins are in second.
—The London game is in Week 8 but the Redskins will not necessarily have their bye week in Week 9. Since the London series started in 2007, the participating teams have had a bye following the trip across the pond. But with the number of overseas games increasing, there has been talk that teams could play the week after a London game. After all, it’s not a much longer trip than an East coast team going to California or a Pacific time zone team coming to Eastern time. This is still being discussed but don’t necessarily count on the Redskins’ bye falling in Week 9.