After a full week of the English breakfast, we're nearly to the main course for the Ravens' trip abroad – Sunday's game against the Tennessee Titans at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Here are my thoughts going into the game, all in 50 words or less:
This game has high stakes. The Ravens want to atone for their 2017 London disaster. But most of all, they want to avoid dropping two straight after a frustrating loss last week in Pittsburgh. After spending a week here, they need a rewarding flight home to Baltimore.
A subplot is the different travel approaches each team took. The Ravens left Monday morning, arriving at midnight that day. The Titans took the red eye Thursday night, arriving Friday morning. After personally experiencing both strategies, my body feels way better now than I recall it feeling six years ago.
Ultimately, however, I think the whole travel schedule, and the turf at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium that has gotten plenty of negative ink, are just ancillary storylines. At the end of the day, I think the normal football rules that govern who wins and loses will mostly dictate Sunday's victor.
A fast start for the Ravens is critical. That would flush the bad taste from Pittsburgh and put the Titans, who rely heavily on Derrick Henry and their rushing attack, into a bind. That's especially the case for holding onto the football. No fumbles, no drops – especially early.
I'm not concerned at all about the Ravens' ability to catch the ball. They had no issues the first four weeks. In my opinion, drops are mostly mental. They can linger and spread. The best solution: put them out of mind. Some big grabs early on would do just that.
You're not going to eliminate all your mistakes in football. They happen to everyone. But if the Ravens can even cut theirs in half, they will be extremely difficult to topple. The Ravens should've beaten the Colts and the Steelers, two tough teams, despite a deluge of errors. That says something.
524: Roquan Smith on Bringing Real Football to London, Ray Lewis Comparisons, Bears Trade, Leadership
Ravens LB Roquan Smith joins our insiders, Mink and Garrett, to talk about moving on from the Steelers loss, playing in London, his trash talk and leadership, comparisons to Ray Lewis, the Bears trading him, and much more.
Roquan Smith vs. Henry has the potential to take on some Ray Lewis-Eddie George vibes. It's two physical warriors going at it in the next chapter of a non-divisional rivalry. I'm not sure there will be the same vitriol, but the pads will be popping just the same.
I can't get over the horrible timing of losing Morgan Moses, who had played in 134 straight games, and his backup when facing arguably the NFL's best pass rusher off the right tackle in T.J. Watt. The Ravens' health continues to improve, and getting Moses back would be huge.
Step inside the Ravens' practices at the Tottenham Hotspur training ground.
I found Odell Beckham Jr.'s comments about "failing the test" when faced with his first adversity of the season to be refreshingly candid. When he started going down the wrong path in Cleveland, it was a messy ending. Beckham seems to be nipping that in the bud in Baltimore.
It's great to see the NFL's footprint abroad continue to grow. The onslaught of fans at our live taping of "The Lounge" episode Friday in London was truly breathtaking. With the league emphasizing global expansion, it probably won't be another six years before the Ravens break out their passports again.