WARE, HERTFORDSHIRE, UNITED KINGDOM – The Giants arrived here early Friday morning and have quickly settled into their temporary home north of London.
After breakfast and their customary meetings, the Giants practiced in an unusual setting.
Their hotel here is also a golf resort. Fittingly, golf carts transported most of the players from the main building to the temporary tent serving as their locker room. They had the option to hitch a ride or walk down a steep hill to the practice field, which, because of space constraints, is 90 yards long. The field is surrounded on three sides by the golf course. Just beyond one end zone is a large water hazard. Security guards dressed in black stood around the field facing outward looking for any sign of trouble. Not even an errant golf ball tried to make its way onto the field.
"Even for meetings, we did a walk through, it just felt like we were in a movie," safety Xavier McKinney said. "Everything looks super nice. Everything looks clean. It's just feels like we're in a movie. It feels fun. Obviously, I've never been here, so I'm pretty excited. I know a lot of guys are, too. A lot of guys haven't been here, it's their first time being here. So, it's definitely been fun so far."
View photos from practice at Hanbury Manor ahead of Sunday's matchup with the Packers in London.
The Giants will face the Green Bay Packers Sunday in Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. Both teams are 3-1.
Despite the six-hour flight and the logistical challenges of playing in England, the players have embraced the journey.
"You have to take it in at the end of the day, you're blessed," said running back Saquon Barkley, the NFL's leading rusher with 463 yards. "We're in London getting ready to play a football game, but you've got to keep the same mindset that it's a business trip and you know what the end goal is. That's do whatever you can to come out with a win against a really good team. When you can, have your fun, but when we've got to lock in, lock in and get ready for Sunday."
"It's big," defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence said. "It is my first time (in London), and I'm excited to see how the fans show up and cheer us on. It's exciting for all of us and then it adds a little more excitement going against a guy like Aaron Rodgers. So yeah, we're ready."
Quarterback Daniel Jones said, "I'm excited. We've heard a lot about the atmosphere, the energy. And playing in front of a somewhat neutral crowd where there's people cheering on throughout the game, it'll be fun to be in that atmosphere and see it. But we're all looking forward to it."
Jamie Gillan certainly is. The Giants' punter was born in Inverness, Scotland. He played rugby in his native country before his family moved to Maryland in 2013. A fourth-year pro and first-season Giant, Gillan is nicknamed "The Scottish Hammer". He holds for placekicker Graham Gano, who was also born in Scotland.
"It's going to be great," Gillan said. "It's nice being home or as close as I can get to home playing football. It'll be great – great seeing some family and stuff."
Gillan has received inquiries from teammates about what to expect regarding the stadium and the atmosphere.
"I know a lot of guys watch Ted Lasso," he said, laughing. "I love that show, by the way. But just kind of the atmosphere of our football, their soccer. Different chants and stuff. Should be a really good experience for everybody."
Coach Brian Daboll is trying to treat this as close to a normal game as possible.
"We're honored to represent the Giants," Daboll said. "I think it's cool to be able to play in this atmosphere. But again, we got to do our job and do the things we need to do to go out there and play well and coach well."
The team will follow its normal road game routine, which includes a light Saturday morning practice – and no visit to the stadium.
"We're staying here," he said. "Like a normal away game. We don't go to the stadiums. If we go play wherever it is, we'll keep it as normal as we can."
For a team that's 3-1, that seems like a good idea.
View photos of the Giants getting ready to fly to London ahead of their international matchup with the Packers.