Final score from Sunday Night Football:
New England Patriots 30-23 Atlanta Falcons
Final scores from the 4.05pm ET and 4.25pm ET kickoff games:
New York Jets 13-38 Tennessee Titans
Philadelphia Eagles 20-52 Denver Broncos
Washington 24-14 Oakland Raiders
Dallas Cowboys 21-30 San Diego Chargers
That’s it from me
Thanks for reading and for all your various tweets, emails and comments. The main part of this blog has now come to an end, but we will carry on posting the final scores from the later games. The comments section will also stay open so you can carry on discussing the day’s events below.
Don’t forget to check back on Tuesday for our Five Things blog, looking back on all the weekend’s action. And before I go, here is how things stand at the moment in the 4.05pm ET and 4.25pm ET kickoff games:
Jets 3-16 Titans
Eagles 3-14 Broncos
Washington 0-14 Oakland
Cowboys 0-7 Chargers
Immediate reactions to this afternoon:
- For years fans in London have been crying out for a game between playoff-quality teams. They won’t get it in 2013 (the remaining match-up this season features the 0-4 Jaguars) but at least they did get a competitive and highly entertaining game of football between Minnesota and Pittsburgh.
- Seattle have done things the easy way in either of their road games to date, but they have won both of them anyway. At this rate, the team has a very good shot at securing homefield advantage for the playoffs. If so: look out.
- It might be time to start taking Detroit seriously. They had lost nine of their last 10 games against the Bears, but recovered from an early deficit to blow their division rivals away this time at Ford Field. Having Reggie Bush in the backfield is plainly a huge asset.
- The Kansas City Chiefs are 4-0 for only the third time in team history. In four weeks they have already doubled their win total from last season. Andy Reid is a heck of a coach.
A few of today’s Fantasy stars
- Adrian Peterson: 23 carries for 140 yards, 2 TDs
- Reggie Bush: 18 carries for 139 yards, 4 receptions for 34 yards, 1 combined TD
- Arian Foster: 27 carries for 102 yards, 6 receptions for 69 yards, 1 combined TD
- Victor Cruz: 10 receptions for 164 yards, 1 TD
- Torrey Smith: 5 receptions for 166 yards, 1 TD
- Colts defense/special teams: 3 INTs, 1 returned for a TD, 4 sacks, 3 points allowed
OK, here’s one more confirmation of those final scores from the 1pm ET kickoffs, which are now all finished:
Steelers 27-34 Vikings
Ravens 20-23 Bills
Seattle 23-20 Texans (after OT)
Bengals 6-17 Browns
Colts 37-3 Jaguars
Cardinals 13-10 Buccaneers
Bears 32-40 Lions
Giants 7-31 Chiefs
Bills win 23-20!
Alonso’s interception did stand in Buffalo, and the game ends in acrimony as Terrell Suggs earns a 15-yard penalty for ripping off the helmet of Bills quarterback EJ Manuel, who was attempting to burn a few necessary seconds off the clock before taking a knee. That flag gave the Bills a fresh set of downs, eliminating the need for Manuel to burn those extra few seconds in any case.
Seahawks win 23-20 (after OT)!
Steven Hauschka converts a 45-yard field goal to seal a remarkable comeback win for the Seahawks, who trailed 20-3 at half-time and 20-6 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but scored a total of 20-unanswered points to win in overtime.
Interception in Buffalo!
This play is up for review, but it appears that Kiko Alonso might just have sealed a win for the Bills, intercepting Flacco near midfield. That would be Flacco’s fifth pick of the day, and Alonso’s second.
Run Russsell, run!
The story of the game in Houston can apparently be broken down into two broad chapters: the one before Russell Wilson starts running with the ball, and the one after. He has rushed for 77 yards on 10 carries, and it seems that most of that figure was generated in the fourth-quarter or since. Seattle have the ball now at around their own 45.
I will stay here…
… to guide you through the finish to these last two 1pm games. Seattle just got the ball back in Houston, where we are into ‘next score wins’ territory. At the two-minute warning in Buffalo, Baltimore have the ball at their own 29-yard line, but they’re looking at second-and-18 after a sack of Flacco.
Around the league
I’m afraid I really did lose track of some of the other games there towards the end, so here’s a sweep of where we stand in all of the other 1pm ET kickoff games:
Ravens 20-23 Bills – 3:22 remaining in 4th quarter
Seattle 20-20 Texans – game into overtime, Houston have the ball
Bengals 6-17 Browns – Final score
Colts 37-3 Jaguars – Final score
Cardinals 13-10 Buccaneers – Final score
Bears 32-40 Lions – Final score
Giants 7-31 Chiefs – Final score
Updated at 4.38pm ET
For once, London gets its money’s worth
The International Series has featured more than its fair share of disappointing games down the year, but that one certainly lived up to expectations. Two desperate teams fought to the last, and while the football certainly wasn’t perfect, it did have its moments. Adrian Peterson, in particular, looked good en route to a 140-yard, 2 TD rushing day, but in some ways the star for Minnesota was Matt Cassel. By completing 16 of 25 passes for 248 yards and two scores, the quarterback finally took some of the load off AP’s shoulders, and the result was a more effective offense all-round. Early impressions are that Christian Ponder might not be getting this job back when he returns from his broken rib.
Vikings win 34-27!
A grandstand finish in London, where the Steelers looked all set to force overtime, only to fall agonisingly short. They fall to 0-4 for the first time since 1968. The Vikings have their first win of the season and perhaps, just perhaps, hope yet of turning their season around.
FUMBLE! THE VIKINGS HAVE THE BALL
And that is effectively game over in London, as Roethlisberger is sacked on third down and coughs the ball up, before Minnesota recover!
Steelers 27-34 Vikings, 0:20 remaining in 4th quarter
Circus catch by Brown, who knocks the ball up in the air as he is hit, then catches it anyway! First down Pittsburgh at the 6.
Updated at 4.07pm ET
Steelers 27-34 Vikings, 1:13 remaining in 4th quarter
The Steelers are rolling – first down at the Minnesota 20 after four consecutive completions from Roethlisberger, broken up only by a spike to stop the clock.
Steelers 27-34 Vikings, 1:43 remaining in 4th quarter
Locke’s 36-yard punt is fair caught by Brown at the Pittsburgh 22. That is where the Steelers will take over with no time-outs remaining.
Steelers 27-34 Vikings, 1:50 remaining in 4th quarter
Barring any shenanigans, the Steelers will get the ball back. Peterson picks up five yards on two carries, but it’s not enough to get him past the marker.
Updated at 4.00pm ET
Two-minute warning: Steelers 27-34 Vikings
Pittsburgh are down to their last chance to make a stop, after Minnesota picked up a quick first down through two Cassel completions and a Peterson run. It’s now second-and-six at the Minnesota 37. The Steelers have two time-outs remaining.
Big upset brewing in Cleveland...
… where the Browns lead the Bengals 17-6 with just under five minutes remaining after Brian Hoyer capped a 12-play, 91-yard drive with a one-yard scoring pass to Ogbonna. And the Seahawks have tied things up in Houston, Richard Sherman returning an interception to the house to make it 20-20.
Field goal! Steelers 27-34 Vikings, 3:37 remaining in 4th quarter
The Steelers do indeed make this a one-score game, Shaun Suisham converting from 28 yards after a nine-play drive that took just over three minutes off the clock. The good news for the Steelers si that they still have all three time-outs left as they seek to force a quick change of possession to give themselves a chance to respond.
Missed field goal! Steelers 24-34 Vikings, 6:49 remaining in 4th quarter
Could this be a turning point? After the Vikings fail to draw the Steelers offside on fourth-and-one in Pittsburgh territory, they instead decide to call for a field goal. Blair Walsh, though, hooks his attempt wide of the left-hand upright from 44 yards, his first miss in 19 attempts dating back to last season. The Steelers will take over at their own 34 with an opportunity to bring themselves back within a score of their opponents here.
Scratch that last bit
It sounds as though the Buffalo touchdown has been overturned on review. Dan Carpenter kicks a field goal instead, and they lead 23-14. Still in the third quarter there, too, so perhaps Baltimore are still more alive than I had presumed.
More scores elsewhere
Things might be about to get interesting in Houston, where Marshawn Lynch just found his way into the end zone for Seattle’s first touchdown of the day, cutting the Texans’ lead to 20-13. Buffalo, meanwhile, refuse to let Baltimore rein them in. EJ Manuel just hit Robert Woods for a four-yard score; the Bills lead 26-14.
TOUCHDOWN! Steelers 24-34 Vikings, 12:42 remaining in 4th quarter
And there has been another score in London, too, Ben Roethlisberger picking out Jericho Cotchery as the receiver worked his way into the end zone across the middle of the field. It’s not all good news for Pittsburgh, however – the quarterback appeared to catch the fingers of his throwing hand on a defender’s arm as he was releasing the ball, and ran off the field clutching it in some apparent pain.
Updated at 3.34pm ET
No sooner ...
… do I post those scores than we get a couple more scores. In Jacksonville, Andrew Luck makes it 34-3 to the Colts with a short touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne. The Chiefs, meanwhile, lead the Giants 17-7 after an 89-yard punt return from McCuster.
End of 3rd quarter round-up:
Here’s what’s happening elsewhere, as games begin to move into the fourth quarter:
Ravens 14-20 Bills
Bengals 6-10 Browns
Bears 16-37 Lions
Giants 7-10 Chiefs
Cardinals 0-10 Buccaneers
Colts 27-3 Jaguars
Seahawks 6-20 Texans
Updated at 3.34pm ET
End of 3rd quarter: Steelers 17-34 Vikings
Two quick completions from Roethlisberger take Pittsburgh up to their 45 before the quarter comes to a close.
Steelers 17-34 Vikings, 1:14 remaining in 3rd quarter
The teams exchange possession in London, where Pittsburgh have just over one quarter left now to wipe out a 17-point deficit. They will begin, after a holding call on Antonio Brown’s return, at their own 23. Meanwhile, I enjoyed this point of historical order below the line:Sappho2010 29 September 2013 8:08pm
Back when Channel 4 used to have an American Football programme on Saturday mornings I became a bit of a Vikings fan. But I do wish someone would explain to them that Vikings didn't do horned helmets, that's a misconception based on the misinterpretation of the Iron Age British Celtic Battersea Helmet as Viking when first found
Updated at 3.22pm ET
The CBS crew just decided to take us on a whistlestop tour of Wembley’s greatest moments so far:
Moment No1: Stadium used for first time
Moment No2: England win 1966 World Cup
Moment No3: US Women’s team win 2012 Olympic tournament.
Around the league
This London game has been eventful enough that I haven’t had much chance to keep up with what’s been going on elsewhere so far in the second half, but a quick scan down the scores suggests that the only big news since our last update is another touchdown in Jacksonville, where Indianapolis lead the Jaguars 27-3. Cleveland have added a field goal and are up 10-3 at home to Cincinnati.
TOUCHDOWN! Steelers 17-34 Vikings, 5:11 remaining in 3rd quarter
And Minnesota waste no time punishing Roethlisberger’s mistake! Two plays later Matt Cassel launches the ball to Greg Jennings in the back of the end zone for a 16-yard score. That’s the receiver’s second touchdown of the day.
Interception! Steelers 17-27 Vikings, 5:38 remaining in 3rd quarter
A huge turnover at Wembley, where Ben Roethlisberger misjudges the cut by his receveiver Emanuel Sanders and throws the ball straight into the cut of Minnesota’s Chad Greenway. Minnesota take over at the Pittsburgh 37.
Steelers 17-27 Vikings, 7:52 remaining in 3rd quarter
Don’t have a picture of that last TD yet, but here’s Adrian Peterson running in his first score.
TOUCHDOWN! Steelers 17-27 Vikings, 7:52 remaining in 3rd quarter
And now Peterson extends Minnesota’s advantage, dashing in from seven yards out. He is up to 109 yards and two touchdowns on just 13 carries. And that was a pretty strong response from the Vikings to that quick Pittsburgh touchdown to open the half.
Steelers 17-20 Vikings, 8:04 remaining in 3rd quarter
The Vikings are driving, Adrian Peterson bursting through another large hole on the right side of the line and working his way down to the Pittsburgh 10-yard line. I’m happy for Wembley right now getting to see this. Few things more enjoyable in the NFL than watching All Day run the football.
An update from the Wembley press box
An email arrives from my colleague Sean Ingle at Wembley:
Several of the American press corp were grumbling about the food in the Wembley press box at half-time, and with good reason: non-descript pie and vaguely-spiced oven chips was all they got. Good job Wembley, reinforcing those cultural stereotypes about British grub ...
Speaking as someone who has covered games on both sides of the Atlantic, I am not surprised to hear such complaints. NFL teams go a long way above and beyond in looking after journalists’ alimentary teams. I know of teams that have cookies, brownies, ice cream, popcorn, nachos (with molten cheese), and name-brand doughnuts in their press box for an average Sunday afternoon game.
TOUCHDOWN! Steelers 17-20 Vikings, 11:28 remaining in 3rd quarter
The neutral fans among the crowd at Wembley could not have hoped for a better start to the half. The Steelers fans should be pretty happy too. A 48-yard pass-interference call on a deep heave intended for Antonio Brown brings Pittsburgh all the way down to the one-yard line, and from there Le’Veon Bell pounds his way over the line at the second attempt. Game on.
Steelers 10-20 Vikings, 15:00 remaining in 3rd quarter
We’re back underway in London, where Pittsburgh get the ball back first. Walsh’s kickoff goes for a touchback.simonsays 29 September 2013 7:11pm
I can't see a London franchise working- every single road game would be at least a 5 hour flight away, and to play the Seahawks or the Chargers would be hellish.
Would players want to relocate to a country with different tax codes and a different currency?
If the NFL want to create an international franchise, then Mexico City makes a lot more sense to me.
I’ve touched on the logistics side for London already, but it’s definitely true that there are a few people in Mexico who want to know why the league hasn’t shown more interest in expanding in that direction. When the Cardinals hosted the 49ers in Mexico City for a regular season game in 2005, more than 100,000 people packed out the Azteca. In the end, I suspect a lot of the NFL’s focus comes down to two things: language and money. It is easier for them not to have to worry about translating all official documents into Spanish, and they also like the idea of doing business in pounds sterling.
For those of you worrying about Fantasy teams this afternoon, here are few players enjoying a big day so far
- Reggie Bush: 11 carries for 112 yards, three receptions for 24 yards, 1 combined TD (also one fumble)
- Victor Cruz: 6 receptions for 104 yards, 1 TD
- Arian Foster: 14 carries for 58 yards, 3 receptions for 50 yards, 1 combined TD
- Colts defense/special teams: 1 TD, 2 INTs, 3 points against
Scores at the half
OK, so a couple of these games are still late in the second quarter, but here is how things stand around the league right now:
Ravens 7-20 Bills
Bengals 3-7 Browns
Bears 13-30 Lions
Giants 7-10 Chiefs
Steelers 10-20 Vikings
Cardinals 0-10 Buccaneers
Colts 17-3 Jaguars
Seahawks 3-20 Texans
End of first half: Steelers 10-20 Vikings
And that’s how the score will stay at the break, Pittsburgh opting not to push for a quick score but instead putting the ball in Le’Veon Bell’s hands twice to run out the half. An entertaining first two quarters in London. I’ll be back in a moment with a round-up of the half-time scores elsewhere.
Field goal! Steelers 10-20 Vikings
Blair Walsh converts his second field goal of the day, this one from a more modest 37 yards, to restore Minnesota’s two-score advantage.
Two-minute warning: Steelers 10-17 Vikings
We’re down to the TV time-out in London, where the Vikings just dodged a sizeable bullet, as Matt Cassel’s fumble at the 38 bounced kindly into the arms of his own receiver Jerome Simpson. Here’s a logistical thought on the NFL in London:
@Paolo_Bandini if a London team played 4 home, 4 away game blocks and based themselves in US and London in blocks, it would work more easily— Ali (@hopalongali) September 29, 2013
I think logistics definitely remains the biggest issue for an NFL team in London. League officials seem to delight in reminding us that the flight from New York to London is not that much longer than the flight from New York to San Francisco, but nobody ever seems to talk about what happens when the 49ers have to go on the road in England. But where there is a will, there is a way. Especially when that will believes there are good-sized profits to be made.
Don't look now...
… but the Bills are stomping on the Super Bowl champion Ravens in Buffalo. A 16-yard Fred Jackson run has made given the home side a 20-6 lead. Detroit, meanwhile, have rallied strongly in their game against Chicago, scoring 17 unanswered points to go up 23-10.
Field goal! Steelers 10-17 Vikings, 3:39 remaining in 2nd quarter
Not the end that the Steelers wanted to that drive, however, as they are obliged to settle for a 26-yard field goal from Shaun Suisham. Pittsburgh held the ball for all of 9min 3sec on that drive, and moved it 78 yards, but could not punch it in, with Roethlisberger getting sacked on third-and-goal from the three. It was the third time he had gone down on the drive. Still, that does make it a one-score game.
Steelers 7-17 Vikings, 5:23 remaining in 2nd quarter
Very nice drive from the Steelers, who have first-and-goal at the four after a one-yard plunge from Le’Veon Bell. Will they look Heath Miller’s way here down by the goalline? The Vikings have given up six touchdowns to tight ends in three games.
Steelers 7-17 Vikings, 8:00 remaining in 2nd quarter
Pittsburgh are trying to get something going on offense, Antonio Brown making a pair of smarth receptions to help them up to midfield, but it does not help their cause that Ben Roethlisberger keeps getting sacked. The quarterback goes down for a second time on this drive, and both times Jared Allen has been involved.
Around the league
Indianapolis are finally ahead in Jacksonville, Butler intercepting a Blaine Gabbert pass and returning it for a 41-yard touchdown. Jaguars 3-10 Colts. And EJ Manuel just hit Robert Woods for a 42-yard touchdown in Buffalo. Ravens 7-13 Bills.
Updated at 2.05pm ET
TOUCHDOWN! Steelers 7-17 Vikings, 12:42 remaining in 2nd quarter
Adrian Peterson! The best running back in the NFL takes a hand-off from Matt Cassel and holds back just long enough in the backfield for his offensive line to open up a hole between guard and tackle on the right side. In a flash, he accelerates through it, shrugging off a pair of tackles before racing away for a 60-yard touchdown. London just saw the best running back in the league doing what he does.
1st quarter round-up
Every game is now into the 2nd quarter, so here's a full sweep of the latest from around the league:
Ravens 7-6 Bills
Bengals 3-7 Browns
Bears 10-6 Lions
Giants 7-7 Chiefs
Cardinals 0-7 Buccaneers
Colts 3-3 Jaguars
Seahawks 3-14 Texans - where Arian Foster just took a five-yard pass in for a TD.
(and, of course, Steelers 7-10 Vikings)
Updated at 2.34pm ET
End of 1st quarter: Steelers 7-10 Vikings
The quarter ends in London with Pittsburgh facing second-and-nine at their own 24. Entertaining game so far.
Around the league
A few more scores to report. The Chiefs and Giants have exchanged touchdowns in Kansas City, making it 7-7. And Matt Forte just rushed for a 53-yard touchdown in Detroit. Bears 10-6 Lions.
Steelers 7-10 Vikings, 1:34 remaining in 1st quarter
Another touchdown in Houston, where Matt Schaub has connected with Garrettt Graham on a deep ball for a 31-yard score. That makes it Seahawks 3-7 Texans. More NFL in London thoughts from below the line:Dougal 29 September 2013 5:55pm
I think there will be London franchise- eventually - and I'd be amazed if it's not the Jags, but I expect it to take a few years yet. The obstacles are more likely to come from division and conference rivals than the Jags franchise itself...
I too had assumed for a long time that the Jags would be the obvious choice for a team to move to London, but now I'm not so sure. Khan is investing significant amounts of his own money into renovating the stadium in Jacksonville - with plans to install, among other things, swimming pools in the stands. Successful businessmen rarely spend their money for no reason.
Updated at 1.44pm ET
TOUCHDOWN! Steelers 7-10 Vikings, 4:02 remaining in 1st quarter
We might not have two great teams at Wembley, but if nothing else it looks as though we have ourselves a ball game. Le'Veon Bell takes the hand-off moving right, checks inside but then bounces it out, following his blocks and jogging untouched into the end zone. That is Pittsburgh's first first-quarter touchdown in eight games dating back to last season.
Around the league
A quick look at scores elsewhere, as Emmanuel Sanders pulls in a big pass down the right sideline for Pittsburgh:
Ravens 0-3 Bills
Bengals 0-7 Browns
Bears 3-3 Lions
Giants 0-0 Chiefs
Cardinals 0-7 Buccaneers
Colts 0-3 Jaguars
Seahawks 3-0 Texans
Steelers 0-10 Vikings, 7:59 remaining in 1st quarter
Interesting take on the NFL in London question from Gary Naylor, who emails: "There won't be a NFL London franchise in the near future because Wembley is strictly limited on the number of events they can host each year and no other venue would be both available and make the economics work. If we'd built a proper stadium for the Olympics instead of that outrageously overpriced Potemkin Village effort, then..."
Many people have asked whether the NFL might eventually look into playing games in Britain outside of Wembley, but all indications are that the league strongly prefers the idea of staying put. We shall see, but I suspect that in the end money will talk on this one, and concerts can always be moved elsewhere.
TOUCHDOWN! Steelers 0-10 Vikings, 8:19 remaining in 1st quarter
The 'home' team are in front at Wembley Stadium, where Greg Jennings made a sharp cut on a comeback route by the first-down marker, snared Cassel's pass and then weaved his way through the Steelers' defense for a 70-yard score. Superb running from the receiver, who got some good blocks at the second level but really made that one all on his own. That is Minnesota's longest pass play of the season, and also Jennings' first TD of the season.
Steelers 0-3 Vikings, 9:02 remaining in 1st quarter
Pittsburgh's first offensive series ends in a punt, which is returned 68 yards by Sherels, only to then be called back by officials, who ruled that a fair catch signal had already been made.
NFL in London thoughts
The majority of responses I've seen to the NFL franchise in London question so far have been positive, but here's a contrasting one:
@Paolo_Bandini It's been tried it failed, an annual game is OK but regular ones are met with 'meh' football not gridiron rules thank gawd— pox doctor's clerk (@poxdoctorsclerk) September 29, 2013
Not sure how you can say it's been tried really - there's never been a true NFL franchise outside of the US. If the reference is to the London Monarchs then that is a very different question - NFL Europe was a second-tier league and fans knew it.
Robbie Gould just gave the Bears a 3-0 lead on the road in Detroit with a 34-yard kick. No points anywhere else.
The Vikings ...
... were actually a little lucky to have the opportunity to kick that field goal at all - three plays earlier Ike Taylor dropped an interception in the end zone after Cassel aired one out down the right sideline for Patterson.
Field goal! Steelers 0-3 Vikings, 12:08 remaining in 1st quarter
The first points of the day anywhere in the NFL arrive in London, where Blair Walsh belts through the longest kick in International Series history - a 54-yard attempt crushed through the posts with room to spare. He's never missed from over 50 in his career.
Steelers 0-0 Vikings, 13:25 remaining in 1st quarter
With Matt Cassel replacing Christian Ponder under center, the Vikings come out throwing - a fact which seems to catch Pittsburgh a little bit off guard. A pair of completions to Jerome Simpson take the Vikings straight up to near midfield.
Away we go!
The game has begun in London, Cordarelle Patterson taking the opening kickoff out of the end zone when he probably shouldn't have. He makes it skes it only as far as the 17.
Sean liked the US anthem more than me, by the way: "Gene Simmons from Kiss performing the a surprisingly melodious national anthem. Calling Dr Love it is not. He gets a huge round of applause."
Not sure who did the UK anthem, but it was fine. Drowned out by the fans themselves singing it, as it should be.
Gene Simmons leading the US national anthem at Wembley. Underwhelming, to be honest. Meantime, here's David Preece on Twitter sharing some first thoughts on an NFL franchise in London:
@Paolo_Bandini If the NFL can see money in it, then for sure. Logistically a bit of a mare, perhaps. Is there real audience for it, though?— David Preece (@dafiveid) September 29, 2013
The audience is certainly growing fast, David. Both of this year's games sold out in no time, and there is strong talk of adding a third London game to the schedule in 2014. Plus we had 500,000 fans turn out for the NFL's pre-game party in central London.
Latest from London
Time for one more pre-game note from Sean Ingle at Wembley:
10 minutes to go and Wembley Stadium is a hum of expectation and hip
hop and pounding dance music. Tinie Tempah has been and gone - I can't
tell you what he sang but it was certainly an unrelenting five-minute
assault the ear drums - the army men have removed the flags from the
pitch, and the Vikings flags are being waved. The atmosphere is
electric. Let's hope the game will be.
The Fantasy players among you have just a few more minutes left to adjust your line-ups, so here's the big news you might need to know:
- Ray Rice is active for the Baltimore Ravens, having sufficiently recovered from his hip injury. This obviously makes Bernard Pierce a substantially less attractive play
- Terrelle Pryor has been cleared to play for Oakland after his concussion last week, but after missing so much practice, Matt Flynn is still expected to start.
- Both Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola remain out for the Patriots
- Buccaneers wide receiver Vincenct Jackson will play against Arizona, but don't forget that he'll have a rookie QB throwing him the ball in Mike Glennon.
Pick Six competition
Don't forget to make your predictions for this week's games in our Pick Six competition - including Vikings @ Broncos - over on the NFL Talkboard. Predictions posted in the comments section of this blog will not be counted!
Sean has been plenty busy in the days building up to this game - looking into the NFL's continued failure to agree a Human-Growth Hormone testing policy with its players, as well as the league's expansion in to Britain. Here's an excerpt from the latter:
In between downs and downtime at his team's plush Hertfordshire hotel, the Vikings safety Harrison Smith admits that a "bunch of us have been talking about it". When you suggest to Smith the towering obstacles facing a NFL London team – from tax codes and time zones to the brutal logistics of transporting so much muscle and machinery over the ocean and back – he does not demur. "But there's always a way to do it, especially in today's world," he says. "The truth of it is this: as fun as it is to play football, it's a business. If there is an opportunity to make money there will be a franchise here." And money and opportunity are driving the NFL's foray eastward.
What do you think? Will there be an NFL franchise in London? If so, how long will it take? Let me know on Twitter or by email (addresses listed above) or in the comments section below.
A missive from London
Our man at Wembley Stadium is Sean Ingle, who surveys the scene for us from the press box:
Wembley is swelling up nicely and both sets of teams are going through their warm up - sorry, their Visa Warm-Up Cup. Meanwhile crowd are taking their roles seriously: the Steelers, nominally the away side here, were lightly booed when they appeared, while the Vikings, the home team, were cheered. Otherwise, the atmosphere is largely what you would expect from an International Series game in London: almost everyone is wearing a team jersey, and the scent of fries and hot dogs hangs giddily in the air, but unlike in previous Wembley NFL games I've attended there seems to be more people Vikings and Steelers' tops here than the usual poi pourri.
Nice to hear that both teams are well represented - I had feared that the Steelers might find more fans in London than the Vikings, who are - as Sean mentions - nominally the home team. Of course, if this game was actually being played in Minnesota, there is a good chance that a number of their own players (and certainly the quarterback Christian Ponder) would have been booed too.
Hello again, Wembley
The NFL is back in London, and back at Wembley Stadium. For the first time in league history, two regular season games will be played in Britain in 2013, and the first of those pitches the Minnesota Vikings against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
When the games was first scheduled, fans envisaged a contest between two playoff contenders. Instead these teams are both 0-3, but if nothing else that should at least ensure a hard-fought contest. Only one team has ever reached the postseason after losing all of its first four games.
Although our focus will be on Wembley, I shall do my best to keep you updated on all today's other 1pm ET/6pm BST kickoff games as well. Here's the full list:
Baltimore Ravens @ Buffalo Bills
Cincinnati Bengals @ Cleveland Browns
Chicago Bears @ Detroit Lions
Seattle Seahawks @ Houston Texans
Indianapolis Colts @ Jacksonville Jaguars
New York Giants @ Kansas City Chiefs
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Minnesota Vikings
Arizona Cardinals @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This article originally appeared on guardian.co.uk