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The game after London

Posted by Adam Kilgore, Globe Staff  October 27, 2009 12:07 PM

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As the Patriots take time off to decompress from their trip to London and get into their bye week, what can they expect next? The four previous teams to play in London went 1-3 after their byes, which may or may not be instructive given the minuscule sample size.

The travel to Europe is obviously unique, but not necessarily in a taxing way -- a flight to London is nearly the same distance as a flight to the West Coast. Still, even with the ensuing week off, teams coming off their London trips have appeared sluggish at times during their next games.

With an eye toward the Patriots' game two Sundays from now at Gillette against the Miami Dolphins, here’s a quick rundown of the aftermath for the previous teams to play in London:

2007: Giants 13, Dolphins 10
Giants
Record pre-London: 5-2
Post: 4-4
Game after: Lost at home to Cowboys, 31-20
Playoffs: Won Super Bowl

The Giants had won five straight before barely beating the terrible Dolphins. After the Giants lost coming off their bye, they were fighting for a wild card. They rallied at the end of the season and into the playoffs, winning three road games on their way to the Super Bowl, and we don’t need to talk about that any more.

Dolphins
Pre: 0-7
Post: 1-7
Game after: Lost at home to Bills, 13-10
Playoffs: None

The Dolphins were a dreadful team, eventually finishing 1-15, so not much can be gleaned from their experience – they could have played Week 8 in Miami, London, Paris, the surface of the moon, or a mine shaft and it would have made little difference in their season.


2008: Saints 37, Chargers 32
Saints
Pre: 3-4
Post: 4-4
Game after: Lost at Falcons, 34-20
Playoffs: None

The Saints had a disappointing season overall. At the time, it seemed like their London victory could help turn their year around. Instead, they kept spiraling down the stretch. They’ve obviously figured it out this season.

Chargers
Pre: 3-4
Post: 5-3
Game after: Won at home over Chiefs, 20-19
Playoffs: Lost to Steelers in Divisional Round

The Chargers won their game after the London trip only after stuffing a 2-point conversion try in the final seconds at home against a team that was in the midst of going 2-28 over a 30-game period. They sneaked into the playoffs despite a harrowing three-game losing streak late in the year, then upset the Colts in the first round.

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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