For a split second, there seemed to be a fleeting possibility that the Green Bay Packers would finally get a chance to play across the ocean in London in 2020. On Tuesday afternoon, the Atlanta Falcons announced that they would be one of the teams participating in the International Series of games next season, and the Falcons are slated to play the Packers and the rest of the NFC North next year.
However, the Packers will not be the opponent making a cross-Atlantic trip for this game. The Falcons’ press release made two things clear: the International game would be a non-divisional matchup, but the Falcons will also be the home team, giving up a game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. However, based on the NFL’s schedule rotation, the Packers will be the home team when they play the Falcons in 2020.
So much for that.
Green Bay will face the Falcons and Carolina Panthers at home next year as part of the NFC South matchups, with road games against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints. Green Bay also has games scheduled against the AFC South division, traveling to Houston and Indianapolis while hosting the Jaguars and Titans. The Jaguars also play a home London game each year, but given that they also are scheduled to come to Lambeau, that option is out as well.
If the Packers do find a way to make the trip over in 2020, the likeliest scenario would be one of those road out-of-division games. Perhaps the league could talk the Buccaneers or Colts into giving up a home contest to make a trip to England instead. But it won’t be this Packers-Falcons matchup.
Interestingly, the home team has one each of the past six games between the two franchises, with the last road win occurring in 2011. That year, the Packers won 25-14 in Atlanta in week 5, a game that came about nine months after a divisional playoff victory at the Georgia Dome en route to Super Bowl XLV.