Giants managing their sleep to prepare for neighborhood brawl with Packers in north London – The Denver Post


LONDON – A palace rose into the sky out of a working class neighborhood in north London on Thursday, the home of the English Premier League’s Tottenham Hotspur F.C., temporarily adorned with photos of Saquon Barkley and Aaron Rodgers.

Local pubs like The Bricklayers on High Road were teeming with NFL fans after last weekend’s Vikings-Saints game inside this London Academy of Excellence, as Tottenham’s offices are labeled. And they promise to be again on Sunday when the Giants and Packers kick off.

“Mental,” bartender Niamh (“Neev”) described the scene for American football, sharing cell phone videos of standing-room-only singalongs with fans in Jaguars jerseys and other random team attire.

Before the Giants descended into unfamiliar territory, though, their priority on Thursday was sleep — getting it and avoiding it — to acclimate their bodies for a 9:30 Eastern Time Sunday start.

Brian Daboll and the Giants’ staff told the players to get as much sleep as they could on Thursday night’s red-eye flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

They told the players to limit screen time, to take their headphones out and to try to treat the flight just like a normal night’s sleep in their own beds.

“You gotta sleep on the plane,” said center Jon Feliciano, who played for the Oakland Raiders at Wembley Stadium in 2018.

The plan is then to land on Friday morning, bus to the team hotel and head right to the practice field at Hanbury Manor, which is about 43 miles north of the airport and 20 miles north of the stadium they’ll play their game in on Sunday.

The Giants know players will want to nap at points on Friday, but they told them no naps longer than 30 to 45 minutes. They don’t want guys’ body clocks off.

Safety Tony Jefferson played at Wembley for the Baltimore Ravens in 2018 and said it can take some players most of the game to wake their bodies up for this early a start.

Rookie edge Kayvon Thibodeaux said he did play a game at 7 a.m. once, but it wasn’t exactly recent.

“Pop Warner,” he said with a smile.

In Green Bay this week, Packers coach Matt LaFleur oddly was reluctant to share the details of his plans for handling this trip because he thought it could create competitive advantage.

“I just think it’s such an adjustment,” LaFleur told reporters. “And I think a lot of it is who handles this trip the best is going to be able to play to the best of their ability.”

Packers corner Rasul Douglas was brutally honest: he’s not a fan of games in London.

“It f—ing sucked,” he told “You don’t get to do nothing over there. You just f—ing get on a plane, get over there and f—ing practice and then you play a game. You get back on a plane and travel f—ing eight hours somewhere else.”

Douglas can speak for his own team’s lack of a social schedule. The Giants are running shuttles into central London all day Saturday so players can see the sights and explore if they wish.

It doesn’t make much sense that the Packers and Giants both appear to be stationed 20 miles north (or northwest in Green Bay’s case) of Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

But at least the Giants tried to offer their players some of the comforts of home: each player received a toiletry kit at their lockers after practice on Wednesday with a toothbrush and miniatures of shampoo, shaving cream, deodorant and toothpaste.

“It’s my first time going across seas to participate in a football game,” Daboll said. “We look forward to it, not much longer travel time than it is to go to the West Coast.”

The unique surroundings of Sunday’s venue could be comforting and welcoming for the Giants, too. Or they could be details that throw them an extra bit off.

Tottenham’s glistening, 3-year-old stadium is not in the middle of a vast and empty parking lot like MetLife Stadium. It is smack dab in the middle of a neighborhood, across from churches and businesses and row homes.

A stadium security guard, Pat, said the structure sits in the middle of the old warehouse district, where some families refused to relocate upon construction, keeping the area quaint and unique.

Children were walking home from their middle schools on Thursday past the same parking lot that the Giants’ bus is going to pull into on Sunday morning.

Pat said the 62,000-seat stadium won’t necessarily fill with a ton of locals, but rather, NFL fans from all over the world. He said the international interest, not necessarily London’s, stands out the most as these events.

“Especially Germans,” he said. “A lot of Germans come to these games. They love American football.”

And what would the scene be without the NFL’s omnipresent commercial influence?

There is a cavernous league apparel shop inside the stadium stocked with foam cheeseheads for the Packers faithful, full walls of Barkley and Rodgers jersey and throwbacks as far as the eye can see.

“It gets loud in here,” bartender Niamh said of the fanfare on gameday.

London is calling. On Thursday night, the Giants were in the air and on their way.


Wide receiver Kadarius Toney (hamstring) was downgraded and did not participate in Thursday’s practice. He appears poised to miss a third straight game. Safety Julian Love (concussion, non-contact) and wideout Richie James (ankle) were upgraded to limited. The rest of the injury report stayed the same. Daniel Jones (ankle) continues to trend toward playing. The team will practice Friday at 1:15 p.m. local (8:15 a.m. ET) in the QB’s final test.



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