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Colts first team not with bye week post London

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Traditionally, NFL teams that play in London are given a bye the following week, to ensure players will be able to recover after a long flight across the Atlantic.

The 2016 Indianapolis Colts will be the first team to not take a post-Europe bye.  

2016 Schedule Release

After playing the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium in Week 4, Jim Irsay's team will face the Chicago Bears in Week 5 in Indy. It's the first time since the NFL started playing in London in 2007 a team hasn't had a bye week after playing overseas. 

According to multiple reports, the Colts requested to not have their week off after the London trip in order to avoid an early season bye.

The Colts' decision adds one positive benefit for the NFL: The league will be able to monitor the aftereffects of playing a bruising game days after making an international fight. It's another stage in the NFL's years-long probing of the viability of a potential permanent franchise in London.

NFL executive vice president of international Mark Waller noted during Super Bowl week in February that the league would need to test out team's not having byes following London games.

"I think the reality is, if we ever put a team into the UK, you're not going to be able to commit that every team that comes to play an away game is going to get their bye week the week after," Waller said at the time, via Sky Sports. "It's just not possible. At some point we are going to need to find a way to play games in the UK without the need for a bye week afterwards."

The Colts' bye week comes five games after their trip to Wembley, in Week 10.

The positive is that the Colts aren't taking their bye in Week 5, which would make for a brutally long second part of the season. How they respond at home against Chicago, however, could go a long way in determining the future of other teams playing in London. The NFL will have its fingers crossed that Indy doesn't come out looking jet lagged.

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