Baltimore Ravens set sights on football, Jacksonville Jaguars in London

By Todd Karpovich, The Sports Xchange  |  Sept. 20, 2017 at 10:13 PM
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OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Baltimore Ravens won't be visiting any historic sites when they travel to London for their first-ever game overseas.

The team is fully focused on beating the Jaguars and improving to 3-0. As a result, this is simply another business trip for the players and coaches.

While the Jaguars have gone 2-2 in four previous games in London, Ravens coach John Harbaugh doesn't believe either team has any advantage with the long-distance travel and other logistics.

"We're both playing in London. We're going against the Jaguars," Harbaugh said. "They have to go over there, as well. We're going over there to win a football game -- that's it. We're not thinking about too much else besides that."

The game will be played at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, so that will be a major adjustment for both teams. Harbaugh said the team started becoming acclimated to playing earlier in the day during training camp.

"We'll try to get our guys on London-time as much as we can, in that sense, throughout the course of the week," Harbaugh said. "We have a plan for all that. We practiced every day at training camp at 8:45 a.m., so they were rolling at 8:45 a.m. So, 9:30 a.m., that's 45 minutes later than 8:45 a.m. That's what we're going with, and we think we'll be ready to go."

A bigger challenge for Baltimore might be playing without six-time Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda, who was ruled out for the season with an ankle fracture following a 24-10 win over the Browns in Week 2. This means the Ravens will be without their best offensive lineman against Jacksonville, which leads the league with 11 sacks over two games.

Baltimore will play Tony Bergstrom in Yanda's spot at right guard. Bergstrom was previously acquired from Arizona for a conditional seventh-round pick in next year's draft. Harbaugh liked what he saw from Bergstrom against the Browns.

"He played well. He had to shake it off a little bit after the first couple of plays." Harbaugh said. "After he got himself settled down there, he played well. The whole offensive line played extremely well. When you go back and watch [the film] ... It's an early season, but it was the best they've played to date."

While the offense has to iron out some issues, Baltimore's defense is playing at a high level. Over the first two games, the Ravens have eight interceptions, two forced fumble recoveries and eight sacks. They will look to attack Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles, who is the 25th-ranked passer in the league, going 31 of 55 for 348 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions (72.4 passer rating).

"We want to be a ferocious defense," said linebacker Terrell Suggs, who has three sacks on the year. "We want to be a pressure defense. The standard is very high."

With a chance to remain undefeated, the only "Big Ben" the Ravens are worried about is the quarterback in Pittsburgh, which visits M&T Bank Stadium in Week 4. As a result, Wembley Stadium is just another place to play football, the American version.

"It will be a fun experience," linebacker C.J. Mosley said. "It is always a business trip, and we know why we are there. We know the Jacksonville Jaguars pretty well. The last few years we have had some pretty close games. We have to go in mentally prepared for a physical fight, even though we have to enjoy our time together with our family and our teammates."

SERIES HISTORY: 21st regular-season meeting. Jaguars lead series, 11-9. The Ravens and Jaguars were former division rivals in the AFC Central until 2001. Jacksonville won the first eight meetings. Baltimore responded with six consecutive victories from 2000 until 2003. The teams have split their past six games.

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