By Staff

BOSTON (CBS) — With the NFL heading back to London this season after a COVID-forced break in 2020, the New England Patriots were a candidate to head across the pond to play in one of the 2021 contests. Alas, that will not be happening.

As part of what is apparently a day-long slow leak of schedule information, the NFL announced the participants for the two London games this year.

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The New York Jets will play the Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 10, and the Miami Dolphins will play the Jacksonville Jaguars on October 17. Both games will be played at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Previously, the Patriots played in London in 2009 (beating the Buccaneers, 35-7) and 2012 (beating the Rams, 45-7). They also played in Mexico City in 2017, beating the Raiders 33-8.

The Patriots had been a candidate to play the Falcons, as New England has Atlanta as a road opponent this year. Yet with four other non-divisional opponents to choose from, the NFL went with the Jets.

We’ll find out on Wednesday night whether that’s advantageous or disadvantageous for New England. While an international trip adds certain complications for teams, it also locks in some certainties — like a bye week after the game. For the Jets, that bye week will come in Week 7. There’s not necessarily a science to determining the best week for a bye, but if the Patriots end up with an early bye, they may end up wishing they were part of the London action.

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Instead, the Patriots will be traveling to Atlanta at some point this season. That trip should bring about happy memories for New England fans; the Patriots will be playing against the team they beat in Super Bowl LI, in the stadium where they also won Super Bowl LIII. Staff