Tottenham Hotspur bracing for loss of Falcons’ game in London

Atlanta Falcons played the Detroit Lions at Wembley Stadium on Oct. 26, 2014, in London.
Atlanta Falcons played the Detroit Lions at Wembley Stadium on Oct. 26, 2014, in London.

Credit: Nicky Hayes

Credit: Nicky Hayes

With the NFL set to release its schedule this week, the Falcons' slated "home game" at the Tottenham Hotspur soccer club's stadium is in jeopardy because of the coronavirus pandemic, according the Daily Mail newspaper in London.

“The release of next season's NFL fixture list is expected to confirm that they will not be hosting two matches at their new stadium, a setback that will cost them in excess of £4million (more than $5 million),” the Daily Mail reported.

The Falcons reportedly were set to play the Denver Broncos.

Two games were set for the Tottenham stadium, and the Jaguars were sent to play two games at Wembley Stadium. All four are expected to be scheduled to be played in the United States.

Tottenham Hotspur has a 10-year agreement to host two NFL games, which began in 2019. But because of the uncertainty of international travel and mass gatherings, the games “in London this October is not feasible and the NFL are expected to complete their entire season in America,” the Daily Mail reported.

NFL teams, including the Falcons, are not using their buildings and are holding virtual offseason programs. The league still plans to announce the schedule by Saturday.

The Falcons’ 2020 list of opponents is set.

The 2020 away games will be at Tampa Bay, New Orleans, Carolina, Kansas City, Los Angeles Chargers, Green Bay, Minnesota and Dallas.

In the home games, the Falcons will face the Buccaneers, Saints, Panthers, Chicago, Detroit, Denver, Las Vegas and Seattle.

One of those "home" games was expected to be in London. The Falcons played the Lions there in 2014. The Broncos haven't played abroad since 2010.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank is expecting general manager Thomas Dimitroff and coach Dan Quinn, after retaining them, to "produce a different set of results on the field" in 2020, and they'll have to do it against the fifth toughest schedule in the league.

After consecutive 7-9 seasons, the Falcons’ schedule features teams from the NFC North and AFC West.

Only New England (.537), the New York Jets (.533), Miami (.529) and San Francisco (.528) have tougher schedules, based on the opposition’s 2019 records. The Falcons, Bills and Lions are tied for fifth at .525.

In the NFC South, Tampa Bay (.502) has the 16th toughest schedule, Carolina (.500) 18th and the Saints (.490) 24th.

The Falcons will play six games against 2019 playoff teams, including the Super Bowl-champion Kansas City Chiefs.

Here’s the list of the NFL’s toughest schedules, based on last season’s records:

1. New England Patriots: 137-118-1 (.537)
2. New York Jets: 136-119-1 (.533)
3. Miami Dolphins: 135-120-1 (.529)
4. San Francisco 49ers: 134-120-2 (.528)
T5. Falcons: 134-121-1 (.525)
T5. Buffalo Bills: 134-121-1 (.525)
T5. Detroit Lions: 134-121-1 (.525)
T8. Arizona Cardinals: 132-123-1 (.518)
T8. Houston Texans: 132-123-1 (.518)
T10. Los Angeles Rams: 131-123-2 (.516)
T10. Minnesota Vikings: 131-123-2 (.516)
12. Denver Broncos: 131-125 (.512)
T13. Seattle Seahawks: 129-125-2 (.508)
T13. Chicago Bears: 129-125-2 (.508)
15. Green Bay Packers: 128-126-2 (.504)
T16. Indianapolis Colts: 128-127-1 (.502)
T16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 128-127-1 (.502)
T18. Carolina Panthers: 127-127-2 (.500)
T18. Kansas City Chiefs: 128-128 (.500)
20. Tennessee Titans: 127-128-1 (.498)
21. Las Vegas Raiders: 127-129 (.496)
22. Jacksonville Jaguars: 126-129-1 (.494)
23. Los Angeles Chargers: 126-130 (.492) 
24. New Orleans Saints: 125-130-1 (.490)
25. Philadelphia Eagles: 124-131-1 (.486)
26. New York Giants: 123-132-1 (.482)
27. Cincinnati Bengals: 122-134 (.477)
28. Washington Redskins: 118-136-2 (.465)
29. Cleveland Browns: 118-138 (.461)
30. Dallas Cowboys: 117-138-1 (.459)
31. Pittsburgh Steelers: 117-139 (.457)
32. Baltimore Ravens: 112-144 (.438)

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