Next Sunday’s Falcons game will be different.
Very different. In more than one way.
The 2-1 Dirty Birds will be heading into this next game with a lot of new scrutny on them. The Falcons were seen as a team that paid enough money in the off season to add talent and develop a defense that could make plays when needed and give the team a shot at a winning record after years of falling short. But last Sunday, fans and observers watching the game instead saw a team humbled by the Detroit Lions, who challenged the Falcons defense, and undermined their offense, leaving the Falcons facing questions about why the team sputtered so noticiably last Sunday.
But the questions surrounding their 20-6 loss aren’t the only thing the Falcons face Sunday when they take on the 1-2 Jacksonvile Jaguars.
The most noticiable: they won’t be home in Mercedes Benz Stadium, or TIAA Bank Field where the Jaguars play. They will be at Wembley Arena in the U.K.
It will be an unusuall expirence because the Falcons won’t be in front of the home crowd. They will be going on the ultimate road trip, traveling overseas to help bring the American football expirence to fans in the United Kingdom. The Falcons haven’t played in England since 2021, against the New York Jets (they won 27-20). The U.K. crowd will be cheering for the game, not necessarily for any one specific team. So the Falcons (or the Jaguars for that matter) can’t count on home field advantages like they could at MBS.
The Falcons will need to find time to practice, and it’s hard not to get distracted in England where there’s so much to do and see.
Falcons fans have chalenges of their own just seeing their team. The game will be shown at 9 am Sunday morning, so Falcons fans will have to rise up (litteraly) early in the morning to watch them on TV. And by the way, the game is not on Fox, CBS, or even ESPN. It’s on ESPN+, the app. So unless you have the app on your phone or TV, (unless a local TV station has an arrangement in place to air it, and as of this writing, no station including WAGA TV, Atlanta Fox station and usual broadcaster of Falcons games, is aring it. ) the only other way to catch the game is on the radio, 929, the Game in Atlanta. (UPDATE 9/26/23: WSB-TV Channel 2 will be airing the game starting Sunday morning at 9:30 am. NFL+ will also carry the game on it’s app.)
But there’s yet another option, for the kids. The NFL is trying to get more young fans to expirence pro football, so they are working with Nickelodeon and in this case, Disney to develop football frendly content to help deliver young eyes to the game. On this particular game, the characters from Disney’s Toy Story will be seen interacting with the Falcons and Jaguars on the Disney+ feed of the game. Don’t be suprised if you see Buzz Lightyear and Woody standing on the sidelines with Freddie Falcon if you watch on the Disney app.
The Falcons will not be concerned about how they will look on TV with the Disney characters. They don’t have that luxury. They will be going to England this weekend get back on track and positively answer questions about their performance that Sunday’s loss raised. They will have to make moves and adjustments to their game plan to make sure what happened at Ford Field Sunday, does not happen at Wembley this Sunday.
Updated to show local tv availablity of Sunday’s game vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars.