Immediately following the Raiders week three game in New England the Raiders hopped a flight to London to prepare for their week 4 match-up with the Dolphins at Wembley Stadium. The Dolphins, however, are opting to wait until the regular Friday road trip to head across the Atlantic. Both teams are hoping their travel plans gives them to advantage.
For the Raiders part, they have struggled with trips to the East Coast of the United States, let alone another country altogether, so they need a week to change over and acclimate to the time change. They're hoping that actually gives them the advantage.
"I think us coming here early is gonna be good," said Antonio Smith. "Coach got a pretty big gameplan on it; telling us all to stay up for the rest of the day today so that you'll be real tired tonight so that we can sleep all the way through the night and your body clock will change. They did a lot of research on it. I don't know how, but they said mostly after today, most people kind of get used to it."
"I thought practice was pretty good," said Dennis Allen. "Obviously we got here Monday morning and the guys had a little bit of time on Monday and Tuesday to catch up on a little bit of rest. Now we'll get started with a normal game week preparation. I think the further we go into the week, the more acclimated the guys will get to the time change and hopefully that won't be any sort of factor come Sunday."
The Dolphins don't arrive until Friday which may seem like a disadvantage because it wouldn't give them time to acclimate, but the Dolphins don't really need to acclimate. The game comes on at 7pm in England which is the same time as their home games that start at 1pm Eastern Time. So, if they just keep their schedule the same, they won't need to acclimate to anything.
The rub here is this is a ‘home' game for the Raiders, it will feel much more like a home game for the Dolphins with regard to the time of the game and the distance to travel.
That being said, staying here all week was absolutely imperative. By Sunday it will feel like a primetime game for the Raiders as opposed to one in the Eastern Time zone where the Raiders have lost 16-straight including two losses this season in New York and New England.
And in the process, the Raiders get the experience of London. Though that's not why they're here. They're here to try and avoid 0-4.
"You match it about football, the experience is nothing," said Antonio Smith. "Winning is everything. And that's the bottom line. I don't think any of us would be here right now just to come sightseeing during the season. Everybody came here for one reason and that's to win this football game."
West Coast teams are 2-1 in England with the 49ers winning both of their games and the Chargers losing theirs. Not a large sample, so there isn't a lot to prove it one way or the other.