The Giants finished third in the NFC East last season with a 6-10 record. There usually aren't many negative consequences handed down from the league for such a dismal season. They ended up with a top-10 draft pick and a third-place schedule as a result. The only negative was that they were designated a trip to London to play another third-place finisher, the St. Louis Rams, who now hail from Los Angeles.
The Giants will pack up this week for their game against the Rams after their Thursday practice and be in London on Friday. The game is set for Sunday at 9:30 a.m. ET from Twickenham Stadium -- not Wembley Stadium -- in London. The Giants are the away team.
This will be the Giants' second trip across the pond to play a regular season game. They defeated the Miami Dolphins, 13-10, on October 28, 2007 at Wembley Stadium. The game was the first regular season NFL game ever played out of North America.
There are challenges to playing overseas, most notably jet lag among other distractions. This game either comes at a good time or a bad one. The Giants are a team with a slew of new faces and still gelling as a team. After an inspiring win Sunday, this trip could interrupt all the positive mojo it created.
"We just have to do a great job early in the week, make sure we're getting our preparation," QB Eli Manning said after the Giants' win over Baltimore on Sunday. "Once you take that trip and get over there, things are going to be off a little bit. You're not in your own facility so we have to make sure we have great preparation here in the States. Getting our sleep, getting hydrated. Do all the things we have to do because once we get over there it's going to be different. We have a good team, good leadership and we'll handle that and make sure we're prepared. But we have to know it is a work trip when we get over there. We have to do everything we can to prepare while we're here in the States."
Head coach Ben McAdoo also has to make adjustments this week. He's usually cooped up in his office on a regular week. Now his comfort zone is being disrupted.
"It's going to be a little bit different at the end of the week, for sure," McAdoo told reporters on his Monday conference call. "When we come to finalizing the plan on all three phases, a lot of that will be done on the plane or in London. We'll have the foundation for everything set early. We just have to be smart....Everyone usually gets some type of work done on a plane on a road game. With it being Thursday night, it's still pretty early in the week. We'll have some things we will need to brush up on and tighten up."
McAdoo said the anticipation of jet lag and the time difference is built into his plans for the week.
"We need to do a good job of getting our rest early in the week," he said. "We've pushed back the starting time on Wednesday and Thursday. They'll get the chance to sleep in Tuesday like they always do and today. Just to help catch up on some sleep as much as possible."
As for the plan when they land in London, the Giants will attend a quick media session on Friday and then outside of a few meetings, enjoy the sights until Sunday.
"We'll change some things up on Friday. We'll have our normal Fresh Friday," McAdoo said. "Just make sure we get them moving right away after we sleep on the plane. Get them going and moving. Give them a chance to recover. Get them off their feet.
Saturday, we'll change up the afternoon a little bit. Give them more time to spend with their teammates. If they want to take a nap, give them some time to do that. We will be smart with our meeting time on Saturday."
The Rams are also 3-3 and this will be their second trip to London as well. They lost, 45-7, to the New England Patriots back in 2012 in front of 84,004 spectators at Wembley. Now that they are in L.A., they will be traveling twice the distance than the Giants will be for this game. Whether or not that plays into the outcome remains to be seen.
Both teams will be on bye weeks upon their return to U.S. soil.