NFL takes a regular season game to England as the Jags host the 49ers.
The Jacksonville Jaguars hope a change of venue – all the way to London’s Wembley Stadium – can help them stop the streaking 49ers and get their first win of the NFL season.
The 0-7 Jaguars are designated the home team for the London clash on Sunday, the second of two games this season at Wembley.
Head coach Gus Bradley said his players had responded well to his comments challenging their effort in a loss to San Diego last week.
“Rarely can you talk about effort with an NFL team and you don’t get backlash,” Bradley said. “Our team took it as a challenge.”
Although the Jaguars haven’t been able to put a win on the board, the 49ers said they can’t afford to overlook them.
San Francisco, trying to work their way back to the Super Bowl after falling to Baltimore in the NFL’s championship extravaganza last February, narrowly trail Seattle for the NFC West division lead.
San Francisco quarter-back Colin Kaepernick says the 49ers can’t afford to take the Jaguars lightly.
But while Kaepernick is wary of Jacksonville’s defense, the Jags offense is in flux. Bradley announced Wednesday that Chad Henne will start ahead of Blaine Gabbert. Gabbert missed the last two games with a hamstring injury and Bradley said he liked what he saw from Henne in that time enough to stick with him.
It’s just one of the many quarterback changes throughout the league.
The St. Louis Rams were so stymied as to how to replace injured signal caller Sam Bradford — who suffered a season-ending knee injury on Sunday — that they reportedly called retired great Brett Favre to see if the 44-year-old was interested in playing for the first time since 2010.
Favre, who famously came out of retirement twice, said thanks but no thanks, and the Rams will start Kellen Clemens against Seattle.
Minnesota will be without Josh Freeman when they travel to NFC North leaders Green Bay for a division showdown.
Freeman, inked by the Vikings after he was released by Tampa Bay to replace Chris Ponder, suffered a concussion in Monday night’s loss to the New York Giants, so Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said Ponder will likely be back under center.
Browns coach Rob Chudzinski has benched struggling quarterback Brandon Weeden and will start Jason Campbell against the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs.
Campbell will be the third quarterback in eight games to start for the Browns, who lost signal-caller Brian Hoyer to a season-ending knee injury earlier this month.
Tampa Bay made a performance-related change when they dumped Freeman, but the move hasn’t yielded a win for the Bucs, who fell to 0-7 with a 31-13 loss to Carolina on Thursday.
Carolina quarterback Cam Newton threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score for the Panthers, who have won three in a row and improved to 4-3.
It’s the first time since the end of the 2008 campaign that the Panthers have moved above .500.
Other games this week see Dallas at Detroit, Miami at New England, Buffalo at New Orleans, the New York Jets at Cincinnati, Pittsburgh at Oakland, Atlanta at Arizona and Washington at Denver.
Denver got a scare in the quarterback department this week, holding superstar Peyton Manning out of practice with a sore ankle after the Broncos’ first defeat of the season at Indianapolis on Sunday.
However, the 37-year-old NFL veteran, who leads the league in passing yards with 2,565 and touchdown passes with 25, returned to training on Thursday and was expected to be in action against the Redskins.
Eagles quarterback Michael Vick was also expected to play Sunday when Philadelphia host the New York Giants in an NFC East clash.
Vick returned to training this week after missing two games with a hamstring injury.