On Sunday, the Houston Texans will be playing in London for the first time in franchise history.
The trip will be a relatively short one, arriving Friday for practice just a little over 48 hours before Houston’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“We're going to leave after practice on Thursday and get there, get off the plane, we're going to stretch and hydrate, and we're going to practice,” head coach Bill O’Brien said. “We'll try to have as normal of a Friday, Saturday as we can, and then we'll go play the game.”
O’Brien was on the New England coaching staff when the Patriots played the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2009. While some teams prefer to spend more time in London, the Texans weighed the benefits of arriving early to acclimate to the time difference (London is six hours ahead) and leaving later to keep their routine as normal as possible heading into the Week 9 game.
“I know teams have done it different ways,” O’Brien said. “I think the players – one of the things that I lean on, is the veteran players. They love the routine, so whatever the routine is, let's not disrupt the routine too much. So, that's what we're trying to do.”
This is the Texans first international trip since playing the Oakland Raiders in Mexico City in 2016. The Jaguars, on the other hand, will be playing a home game in London for seventh-consecutive season.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to go play a divisional opponent in London,” O’Brien said. “A divisional opponent that has been over in London a lot, so they’re a lot more used to it than us. I totally understand that and we’ve got to have a good week here. I think our guys getting on that plane, they’re going to know – we’ve got every resource imaginable to help them hydrate, help them get therapy on the plane, help them do whatever they need to do to be ready to play on Sunday.”
Sunday’s kickoff from Wembley Stadium is set for 8:30 a.m. CT (2:30 p.m. GMT) on NFL Network and FOX-26.