Ravens plan to sleep, play video games and design houses on London flight

When the Baltimore Ravens board their plane to London early Thursday evening, the plan is to get as much sleep as possible on the 7½-hour flight.

The Ravens are due to touch down in England at 8 a.m. local time (although it will still feel like 3 a.m. ET to them), and the players will be on the practice field six hours later.

One of the team's doctors gave the players a presentation on sleep strategy this week, which emphasized getting to bed a half-hour earlier each night. The hope is for everyone to get adjusted to the five-hour time difference in London as quickly as possible as the Ravens prepare for Sunday's meeting with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

"I was asked [whether I've been able to get to sleep earlier] this morning by three different people and the answer was, ‘Nah.’ I felt bad about it," coach John Harbaugh said. "I wanted to do it the right way, but I think it is more important for the players to get on their pattern than it is for me."

Quarterback Joe Flacco doesn't foresee a problem with trying to get to sleep on the plane because he goes to bed early during the season anyway.

"So, moving that bedtime up, for me, would be pretty impossible, being that my kids would probably start running the house," Flacco said. "They don’t necessarily fall asleep super easy. I go to bed pretty early anyway, so hopefully my cycle would be pretty good."

The Ravens will do everything possible to help players fall asleep. Sleep masks and earplugs will be available. The seats will also convert into flat beds, which is a good idea in theory.

"If I can actually fit on one of those and get comfortable," said 340-pound defensive tackle Michael Pierce, "I maybe will fall asleep."

For those who don't believe they will sleep, the go-to options will be movies and games loaded on their tablet computers.

Defensive back Lardarius Webb downloaded all 284 episodes of the TV show "Criminal Minds" as well as "London Has Fallen," an interesting movie selection for this trip because it features most of the city's landmarks blown to pieces.

"I wonder what the guys will think when they see me watching it," Webb said with a laugh. "But I got it. I’m ready to watch it."

Safety Tony Jefferson is thinking about bringing along his PlayBook, a laptop version of PlayStation that can cost more than $1,000. He'll bring a couple of controllers and the latest sports games.

"We can keep the competitive nature going," Jefferson said. "But nobody is on my level. Not yet."

The most original option for the downtime comes from punter Sam Koch, kicker Justin Tucker and long-snapper Morgan Cox. They found 3D software on the internet that allows them to construct houses. Each one builds his own dwelling, and they compare their creations, which are usually very different.

"It can be pretty intricate," Koch said. "It's a good thing to pass time. We see our houses from a different perspective and change things if we want to."

This marks the first game outside the United States for the Ravens, but they have a handful of players who've suited up in London for other teams.

What those players chose to relay from their trips was, well, interesting.

Cornerback Brandon Carr pointed out how the ketchup and soda taste different. "They don’t use all the other artificial stuff that we use over here," he said.

Offensive lineman Tony Bergstrom said there wasn't much of a culture shock outside of the accent and architecture. "The hotel we stayed at when I was there looked like Hogwarts," said Bergstrom, referring to Harry Potter's school of wizardry.

When the Ravens arrive in London, the focus will turn to football and just one specific time.

"We have a football game at 2:30 London time, I know that," Harbaugh said. "We will be there. We will be on time. We won’t be late, I promise you. Unless of course, the buses get stuck in traffic. I have heard London traffic is pretty bad. We have our fingers crossed for that."