A week ago, the St. Louis Rams announced they would be backing out of their agreement to host three games in London over the next three seasons. The team would keep the 2012 game, but would not be able to play the 2013 and 2014 games in London, due to a clause in their stadium lease, around which a solution could not be reached. Instead, the league was left looking for a team to replace the Rams as host in those two years, at a time when they were looking to expand the London series to two games a year.
The Jacksonville Jaguars, according to various reports today, are set to take over for the Rams, and will play one game in London each year from 2013 to 2016, giving up one home game in Jacksonville each of those years.
Looking forward to the 2013 game, the Miami Dolphins could end up being the Jaguars opponent in London. The Dolphins played the first London game in 2007 against the New York Giants.
The Jaguars home opponents for 2013 will be the Houston Texans, Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals, and the AFC East team that finishes in the same position within their respective divisions in 2012. With trying to figure out who the Jaguars will play in London as the goal, you can immediately rule out the Texans, Titans, and Colts, as the league has never played a division game in London.
The 49ers and the Cardinals should be ruled out as well, simply because of the flight time from the west coast of the United States to the United Kingdom. Which brings us down to two possible matchups - the Chiefs or the AFC East.
Last year, the Jaguars finished with a 5-11 record, placing them in third place within the division. With the Texans looking like Super Bowl contenders and the Titans appearing ready to push for the playoffs, the Jaguars, in their second year of the Blaine Gabbert era could be destined for another third place AFC South finish.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins finished third in the AFC East last year. The New England Patriots are once again the class of the field heading into the season, leaving the Buffalo Bills, New York Jets, and Dolphins to battle for the second through fourth positions in the division. If the Dolphins repeat their 2011 finish, they could be heading for another visit to London.
Would it not be fitting for two Florida teams to face off on the other side of the Atlantic?