On Thursday morning, the NFL announced the five AFC teams that will be the “home” team in the league’s 2023 international schedule.
The Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans, and Jacksonville Jaguars will each host a game in London. The Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots will host games in Germany. There will not be any games in Mexico this year, and the opponents of these five teams have yet to be announced.
All of the host teams are from the AFC this year because that conference will have the extra ninth home game as part of the new 17-game schedule rotation.
This could be important news for Detroit Lions fans, because of those five teams hosting international games, the Lions are scheduled to play one on the road in 2023: the Chiefs. That means there’s a distinct possibility that Lions vs. Chiefs will be played in Germany. And with the loose connection of Amon-Ra St. Brown being a fluent German speaker, they could be a logical choice. But there’s even more reason to believe Detroit will be the road team.
The Chiefs obviously have seven other opponents scheduled for their “home” games, including the Broncos, Raiders, Chargers, Bills, Bears, Bengals, Dolphins, and Eagles. With the Bills already scheduled for an international game, that brings down the Lions’ chances to one-in-seven for a trip to Germany.
However, the league may think the Lions are due for a trip overseas. The Lions have not played an international game since the 2015 season when they played—coincidentally enough—the Chiefs in a 45-10 loss in London. They had also played in London the previous season, beating the Atlanta Falcons 22-21 on a last-second field goal.
Here’s a list of the last time the Chiefs’ other home opponents played an international game:
- Broncos: 2022
- Raiders: 2019
- Chargers: 2019
- Bills: 2015 (but already scheduled for 2023)
- Bears: 2019
- Bengals: 2019
- Dolphins: 2021
- Eagles: 2018
That said, there are a few other things to consider. Last year, every single international game was between two teams from the same conference. If that pattern continues, the Lions will not be traveling to Germany this year. Additionally, the Lions haven’t played in Arrowhead Stadium since 2003. I don’t know if that would impact the schedule-makers' decisions, but it is a bit odd.
However, starting in 2022, there’s a new rule that guarantees a team will play internationally at least once every eight years. It’s been exactly eight years since Detroit played overseas, so it may be time to update your passport.