Once the Ravens knew they were playing in London this year, they asked the league to not give them their bye week the following week.
It wasn’t because they didn’t need it after the long road trip, but because they preferred to have their week off later in the season.
The Ravens play the Jaguars on Sept. 24 in London, then come back to host the Steelers in Week Four.
“We felt it was better for us to save that bye week for the middle of the year than it was to give it up,” Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said, via Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. “We asked them – and we’re not guaranteed – to give us a home game [after London] and we got that. It’s Pittsburgh. If I had my druthers, I would have rather it been maybe some other team. But the good news about playing Pittsburgh is we know them well. We know their personnel. We play them all the time.
“Even though it’s going to be one of our toughest games, we certainly won’t have to get back on a plane. We’ll be playing a team, though a very good team, [that] we are very familiar with.”
The rough travel comes the following week when they fly the other direction to play at Oakland, giving them over 12,000 air miles in a three-week span, but coach John Harbaugh and General Manager Ozzie Newsome preferred having their bye in Week 10 (Nov. 12) to give the team a break closer to the end of the season.
“There’s no doubt, . . .that it’s going to be a quick turnaround,” Bisciotti said. “It was John’s and Ozzie’s opinion that we didn’t want [the early bye week]. If we were a West Coast team, that would be a different deal. It’s a 14-hour flight. But going to Seattle [from Baltimore] is about the same as going to London. It’s really not that much different.”
The Colts were the first team to skip the automatic bye after London last year, and they came home and beat the Bears at home the following week.