LONDON – Professional certification can come anywhere. until 3,466 miles from your usual place of business.
The Giants have traveled as far from their football home as MetLife Stadium, in search of confirmation that they truly are a changing franchise, but they also haven’t escaped having that distinction. They are the road team on Sunday against the Packers, nowhere near Green Bay. These two NFL storied teams, who are popular in various US locations other than Wisconsin and the New York/New Jersey region, will take to the international stage where they face off at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with matching 3-1 records.
This is the first time since the NFL began playing these outdoor games—the Giants were in the first game, defeating the Dolphins during the 2007 season at Wembley—the two teams have made it to foreign soil with winning records. This is not surprising with the yearly successful packages. The Giants, four games into Brian Daboul’s first season as head coach, is one of the league’s biggest transformation stories to date – defeating the Giants, Panthers and Bears and losing only to the Cowboys.
What comes next is completely different. The naysayers can kick out the giants based on the teams they’ve defeated. If they are able to anger Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, the Giants will come home hearing praise for the way they handled their business in England.
“I think it’s every week to prove we’re real,” defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence said. “If we lose the other matches we’ve won, it’s going to be like, ‘Who are the Giants? “You know what I mean? Every match counts. Every big game. This is the next match, so it’s going to be a big match for us, and we’re going to treat it like that. We’ll keep fighting, we’ll keep competing and we’ll be there for each other.”
And what if they win?
“I definitely think you earn some respect, sure,” Lawrence said. “You are up against a guy like Aaron Rodgers. This is another challenge for us.”
This will be another obstacle for the team of giants that few expect to be able to take off. The Hazams are the last team in the NFL to play an overseas game, but they are used to the spotlight. They have a large number of followers, just like the giants. They’ve been alerted to what to expect from the crowd of around 63,000 when it comes to team loyalty. This is a home game from the Packers, a far cry from historic Lambeau Field, but there will be a lot of green and a lot of blue – and also a lot of other colors, as the lineup of fans at these international games tends to be a mixture of all kinds of jerseys and rooting interests. .
Daboll, as an NFL assistant, has previously participated in outdoor games and told his players that the atmosphere can be likened to big events – college games, bowl games or the Super Bowl – in which there is no real team at home and noise is common. The time anyone owns the ball.
“I expect the stadium to be swaying,” said Xavier McKinney.
“I’m excited,” said midfielder Daniel Jones. “We heard a lot about the atmosphere and the energy. Playing in front of a fairly neutral crowd where there are people cheering a lot throughout the match, it will be fun to be in that atmosphere and watch it.”
Jones will start, having overcome a left ankle sprain that sent him to the sideline during last week’s 20-12 win over the Bears. It was important for him not to miss any more time, not to miss another shot.
“We have a lot of strong players on the team,” Jones said. “Tough set. I think a lot of guys throughout the year get beaten up and deal with little things here and there, and everyone is trying to be there. So, I am no different. ”
Jones is on top of the attack averaging just 19 points per game. The Packers actually scored one point less (75) in four games than the Giants, an unusual attack with Rodgers in good health. An eruption is always possible when there is a talented player like Rodgers on the scene.
Asked if Rodgers had any weakness, McKinney said, “I haven’t seen any weakness. Hopefully we can try some things.”
If all goes well and the Giants find a way to win, they will return home from a distance, much closer to becoming the team they want to be.