The Packers playing in London could be bad. Not necessarily for the London game itself being played against the Giants, but for the following week. Let’s look at some of the reasons it could be bad for the Packers to be playing overseas.
Reason #1: Lack of Rest
Jetlag is a very real thing that teams have to deal with. The Packers players will be tired from the trip to London from Green Bay. There is a six hour difference between London Time and Central Time. Putting that into perspective, the game kicks off at 2:30PM in London but at home, the time zone the team is used to, it will be 8:30AM. The players will be lacking rest that they are used to. That time difference will have an impact on the bodies of the players and throw off their circadian rhythms.
So what are the Packers doing to help with the time change and lack of rest? The Packers left on Thursday, to the chagrin of Aaron Rodgers and some other players. This seems to have been based on analytics that shows that leaving later in the week is better for the team than leaving earlier in the week. The Packers should have enough time to adapt to the time change to be ready for the game on Sunday but they aren’t leaving too early for distractions to COMPLETELY get in the way of game prep.
Reason #2: The Distractions
With playing in London, there are a ton of distractions for the players. Distractions are to be expected each week of the NFL season. The players have lives outside of football and that is great. But London is a different environment with many different activities to participate in. There are also the new media responsibilities that the players and coaches will have to partake in as well.
Now, these first two reasons discussed will not only affect the Packers but it will also have an impact on the Giants too. This should allow it to be a level playing field on Sunday for the most part, but what about for the following week?
Reason #3: Short Rest After London Game
Before this season, there have been thirty London games. Out of those games played there, only five of the teams that participated in the games have deferred their bye week to later in the season. The NFL gives teams the option to receive their bye after the London games and most of the time, the teams would take it then. But not this season. The Saints, Vikings, Packers, and Giants have all delayed their bye weeks to later in the season.
Because of the small sampling size of teams that have delayed their bye week to later in the season after the London game, there is not much information about how this will affect the Packers. The five teams that delayed the bye week in the past are: the 2016 Colts, the 2017 Jaguars, the 2017 Ravens, the 2017 Dolphins, and the 2021 Dolphins. The Vikings and Saints played in the London game last week and have delayed their bye weeks but have yet to play this week’s games.
The teams that delayed their bye weeks went 2-3 the following week. That doesn’t sound great but due to the small sampling size, it doesn’t show the whole picture. All of the teams played below their offensive and defensive averages the week after London except the Colts, who beat the Bears the following week and outpaced their team averages.
This Sunday’s game against the Giants will be historic for the Green Bay Packers as it will be the first time the team has played in London. Let’s hope it is a memorable one that ends with the Packers earning a “W” in the win column. Just temper expectations for the performance for both the Giants and the Packers.
With regards to the following week against the Jets at Lambeau Field, do not look past them. If the small amount of history shows us anything about the week after the London game, they could give the Packers a battle in a game Green Bay will be favored to win. These next two games against the New York teams could prove to be more difficult than one originally may have thought.
Damon is a diehard, fully-immersed cheesehead who currently lives in southern Missouri. He teaches at a local high school and has a family YouTube channel about all things Packers. You can follow him on twitter at @packersfamily and on YouTube at The Packers Family.