NFL London 2014: Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions and Miami Dolphins are in!

NFL At Wembley

The NFL has announced the opponents for its three Wembley games in 2014.

The Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions and Miami Dolphins will all make the trip to London next season.

The Cowboys will face the Jacksonville Jaguars, while the Lions will battle the Atlanta Falcons and the Dolphins will square off against the Oakland Raiders.

These are three smart choices by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. The Cowboys are arguably the most famous NFL franchise, self-styled as "America's Team."

The five-time Super Bowl winners are often controversial, but always entertaining. The antics of owner Jerry Jones usually take care of that.

The point is that love them or hate them, the Cowboys generate interest. That makes them the perfect opponents for the hapless Jaguars.

The Jags are contracted to play four-straight games at Wembley. Considering they have a hard enough time filling their own stadium, the NFL faces a tough challenge helping them fill Wembley.

That problem is compounded by Jacksonville's struggles. The team is rebuilding following a 2-14 nightmare in 2012.

But the early results have not been promising, and the Jaguars will make their UK bow this Sunday at 0-7.

After using the San Francisco 49ers to bring in the crowds this season, the NFL has wisely gone for another storied franchise with name recognition.

Fans won't be shy about wanting to see Cowboys players like quarterback Tony Romo, wide receiver Dez Bryant and outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware, the best pass-rusher of his generation.

The NFL has been even smarter with its choices for the other two games.

For the first time since the International Series began in 2007, the league will pit teams from the same conference against each other.

From the NFC, the Atlanta Falcons will play the Detroit Lions. The Lions are a good pick since they boast star names like quarterback Matthew Stafford, running back Reggie Bush and premier wide receiver Calvin Johnson.

They also feature perennial league bad boy Ndamukong Suh, a dominant but temperamental defensive tackle.

Meanwhile, the AFC will be amply represented when the Oakland Raiders host the Miami Dolphins, who took on the New York Giants in the first Wembley game back in 2007.

Both teams possess strong support in the UK, garnered mostly from their success and notoriety during the mid-eighties.

Oakland's dual-threat quarterback Terrelle Pryor should draw the crowds. Fans should also be excited about seeing Miami defensive end Cameron Wake, one of the most destructive pass-rushers in football.

More importantly, having teams from the same conference play against each other adds more significance and jeopardy to the games.

The results could have implications for each team's playoff prospects in their respective conferences. It is a move long overdue for the league's annual Wembley visits.

It is great to see the NFL working hard to not only keep regular season football in the UK, but also to improve the overall experience.

The choice of opponents for 2014 should go a long way to making the bold move of playing three games in London a success.

image: © vtravelled