The NFL begins its annual export of games to Europe on Sunday, with the 1-2 Colts and 0-3 Jaguars squaring off in London. The Jaguars specifically requested the earliest possible slot, given their history of improving after playing overseas.
But playing in the first England game comes with a risk. For each of the last two years, the initial London game has become a coaching Waterloo.
In 2014, a 38-14 loss to the Dolphins resulted in the termination of Raiders coach Dennis Allen, who went 8-28 during his time with the team.
Last year, the Dolphins fired coach Joe Philbin after a 27-14 loss to the Jets in London. Philbin finished his tenure in Miami with a 24-28 record.
This year, the 1-2 Colts face the 0-3 Jaguars in the first London game. A loss by the Jaguars would drop coach Gus Bradley to 12-40 since taking over in 2013, and it would fuel speculation that he’ll be released with 12 games left in 2016.
That would be a surprise, however. Although owner Shad Khan has made it clear on multiple occasions that the time for winning has arrived, there’s no indication that Khan would make a change this early in Bradley’s fourth year on the job.
Colts coach Chuck Pagano, who would stumble to 1-3 on the year with a loss to Jacksonville (which hung 50 on Indy last season), also isn’t in trouble, given the four-year contract he signed in January. (Philbin currently is on Pagano’s staff.)
Still, whoever loses on Sunday will be in the AFC South basement with 25 percent of the season in the books, and it will be the kind of start that could result in a change, sooner than later. For either team, an immediate change is unlikely, which would stop the Week Four London-and-done streak at two.