LONDON — Professional validation can come anywhere. Even 3,466 miles away from where you normally work.
The Giants traveled far from their football home at MetLife Stadium, not seeking confirmation that they really are a different franchise, but not running away from earning that distinction, either. They’re the road team on Sunday against the Packers, nowhere near Green Bay. These two storied NFL teams, so popular in parts of the United States in addition to Wisconsin and the New York/New Jersey area, will hit the international stage when they meet at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with 3-1 records.
This is the first time since the NFL began playing these games overseas (the Giants were in the first, defeating the Dolphins during the 2007 season at Wembley Stadium) that both teams have come to foreign soil with winning records. . That’s not a surprise with the Packers’ annual success. The Giants, four games into Brian Daboll’s first season as head coach, are one of the league’s biggest turnaround stories thus far, beating the Titans, Panthers and Bears and losing only to the Cowboys.
What comes next is quite different. Detractors can fire the Giants based on the teams they’ve beaten. If they can upset Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, the Giants will come home to praise for how they handled their business in England.
“I think that’s every week to show that we’re real,” defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence said. “If we lose the other games that we won, it’s like, ‘Who are the Giants?’ You know what I want to say? Every game is important. Every game is big. This is the next game so it will be a big game for us and we will treat it as such. We are going to keep fighting, we are going to keep competing and we are going to keep being there for each other”.
And if they win?
“I definitely think you earn some respect, for sure,” Lawrence said. “You’re going to be up against a guy like Aaron Rodgers. That is another challenge for us.”
This will be another hurdle for a Giants team that few anticipated could take off. The Packers are the last team in the NFL to play a game abroad, but they’re used to being in the spotlight. They have a huge following, just like the Giants. They have been tipped off on what to expect from the crowd of around 63,000 when it comes to team loyalty. This is a Packers home game, a long way from historic Lambeau Field, but there will be a lot of green and a lot of blue, and a lot of other colors too, as the makeup of the fans at these international games tends to be a mix of all. types of shirts and rooted interests.
Daboll, as an NFL assistant, has previously played overseas games and told his players the atmosphere can be compared to big events — college playoffs or bowl games or the Super Bowl — where there’s no real team. local and noise is common at any time. moment someone has the ball.
“I hope the ballpark shakes,” safety Xavier McKinney said.
“I’m excited,” quarterback Daniel Jones said. “We have heard a lot about the atmosphere, the energy. Playing in front of a somewhat neutral crowd where there are people cheering a lot throughout the game, it will be fun to be in that atmosphere and watch it.”
Jones will start, having overcome a sprained left ankle that sidelined him during last week’s 20-12 win over the Bears. It was important to him not to waste any more time, not to waste another click.
“We have a lot of tough guys on the team,” Jones said. “Hard group. I think a lot of guys throughout the year get hit and run into little things here and there, and everybody tries to be there. So I’m no different.”
Jones is leading an offense that is averaging just 19 points per game. The Packers have actually scored one fewer point (75) in four games than the Giants, a rare offensive upset with Rodgers completely healthy. However, a rash is always possible when a player as talented as Rodgers is on the scene.
Asked if Rodgers has any weaknesses, McKinney said: “I haven’t seen any. Hopefully, we’ll try a few things.”
If things go well and the Giants find a way to win, they’ll come home from a great distance, much closer to becoming the team they want to be.