The Detroit Lions have known for a little more than a month they’d be playing a regular-season game in London’s Wembley Stadium next season. They just didn’t know when until now.
The NFL announced Thursday that Detroit will face the Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 26.
"This is a chance for our team to play on an international stage and do that against a really high quality opponent in the Falcons," Lions president Tom Lewand told detroitlions.com last month, when it was announced the team would be playing in London as part of next seasons international series.
"That's a really good challenge for them. The travel. The crowd size. The pageantry that's involved. Those things provide valuable experience for any team and its players."
It’s a road game for the Lions and will count as one of Atlanta’s eight regular-season home games. That means Detroit will still have all eight of it’s home games at Ford Field next season.
The Oct. 26 date in London means the Lions will again have their bye week in the in the middle of the season, which most coaches and players prefer. The NFL has already guaranteed the Lions will have their bye week after the London game.
Detroit has played in London once before, a 13-13 tie in an exhibition against the Cowboys in 1993.
There are three games total in London next year. The first will feature the Oakland Raiders against the Miami Dolphins on Sept. 28. Following the Detroit/Falcons game on Oct. 26, the Dallas Cowboys will face the Jacksonville Jaguars on Nov. 9.
"I think importantly, too, it's an opportunity for our fans and our partners to have a global platform to tell our story about how great our fans are, about what great things are happening with our team and our community and the City of Detroit,” Lewand said.
"I can't think of a better city to have its team represent it on a global scale than the City of Detroit."
There’s been talk that one of the games, potentially the Detroit/Atlanta game, will be played in the afternoon in London, which would make it a nationally televised 9:30 a.m. game leading into the rest of the league’s Sunday’s game that day.