For the first time in franchise history, the Ravens will be playing a game outside the United States.
The NFL announced its four-game 2017 International Series schedule Tuesday and one of the matchups features the Ravens against the Jacksonville Jaguars at famed Wembley Stadium in London. The Ravens will be the away team for the game, which will be played on either Week 3 (Sept. 24) or Week 4 (Oct. 1). The New Orleans Saints will also play the Miami Dolphins at Wembley one of those two weeks.
"This is a good opportunity for the Ravens and we are very excited about playing a game in London," Ravens president Dick Cass said on the team's website. "We hope to see many of our fans at Wembley Stadium in London."
The exact date and time for those games will be revealed with the rest of the NFL regular-season schedule in the spring.
It will mark the Jaguars' fifth straight season in which they hosted a game in London as part of their multiyear agreement with Wembley Stadium. They are 2-2 in their four London games.
Continuing its efforts to expand interest in the game abroad, the NFL added a fourth London game for 2017. Along with the Ravens-Jaguars and Saints-Dolphins games, the Minnesota Vikings will play the Cleveland Browns and the Arizona Cardinals will face the Los Angeles Rams at Twickenham Stadium in either Week 7 or 8 (Oct. 22 or Oct. 29).
The Cardinals, Ravens and Browns will all be playing for the first time in London.
Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti has said on several occasions that he'd like his team to play in London under the condition that the Ravens are the road team in the matchup. The Ravens have an agreement with the Maryland Stadium Authority that prevents them from playing a home game outside of their downtown M&T Bank Stadium.
In a conference call with season-ticket holders last year, Bisciotti said there was a 75 to 80 percent chance that the Ravens would play in London within the next four years.
The arrangement for next year makes sense, given the Ravens were one of eight teams that have yet to play in London and they are scheduled to play the Jaguars and the rest of the AFC South in 2017.
NFL officials told the Ravens' brass earlier this year that they were a candidate to play in London next year, and the Ravens have already started preparing for the logistics of such a trip.
Wembley Stadium, known for hosting major English soccer games, has a capacity of 90,000. This season, it attracted an announced 83,798 for the Jaguars' 30-27 victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Oct. 2, and 84,448 for the Cincinnati Bengals-Washington Redskins game on Oct. 30 that ended in a 27-27 tie.
The entire NFL schedule will be released in April, but only two of the Ravens' 2017 opponents are unsettled. At home, the Ravens will play the Bengals, Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts and a yet-to-be-decided AFC East team. On the road, the Ravens will face their three AFC North rivals along with the Jaguars, Green Bay Packers, Vikings, Tennessee Titans and a yet-to-be-decided AFC West team.
Traditionally, teams that play in London have their bye the following week, giving players some time to recover following the long flight across the Atlantic. However, the Colts requested not to have a bye following their Week 4 game against the Jaguars at Wembley this season and their request was granted. The Ravens will have a similar decision to make.
- Baltimore Ravens
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Cleveland Browns
- Indianapolis Colts
- Arizona Cardinals
- Cincinnati Bengals
- Minnesota Vikings
- New Orleans Saints
- Miami Dolphins
- Steve Bisciotti
- AFC East
- AFC North
- AFC South
- AFC West
- Detroit Lions
- Houston Texans
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- Tennessee Titans
- Washington Redskins