For one, the Raiders will likely have their bye week the following Sunday, which would be Week 7 of the NFL season.
For another, Oakland might ask the NFL schedule makers to give it a road game in the east on Oct. 7. That way the Raiders, to cut down on travel, could shoot down to Florida after that Eastern time zone game and train for the week at the IMG Academy in Bradenton before heading across the Atlantic Ocean for the game at new Tottenham Hotspur stadium. Three of the Raiders’ 2018 road opponents reside in the Eastern time zone — the Cincinnati Bengals, the Baltimore Ravens and the Miami Dolphins — though exact dates will not be announced until late April.
At least, that was the thought under former coach Jack Del Rio, who was fired after the regular-season finale on Dec. 31 and replaced by Jon Gruden on Tuesday.
The Raiders have spent a week at IMG the past two seasons in between games on the East Coast, against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2016 and the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins in 2017.
Gruden’s home is in the Tampa area so staying in nearby Sarasota and practicing in Bradenton before the London trip could be appealing to him.
It will be the fourth time in five years the Raiders will give up a home game to play host in an international game. In 2014, the Raiders lost to the Dolphins, 38-14, at Wembley Stadium in Week 4. In 2016, the Raiders beat the Houston Texans, 27-20, at Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca in Week 11. And in 2017, the Raiders fell to the New England Patriots, 33-8, at Azteca in Week 11.
With the Raiders in the process of relocating to Las Vegas for the 2020 season, they are obligated to give up a home game for the international series — be it England or Mexico — each year until the new building is up and running.
The Los Angeles Chargers, who are playing in the soccer-specific StubHub Center in Carson before the stadium they will share with the Rams in Inglewood opens in 2020, are in a similar situation as they will lose a home game by playing host to the Tennessee Titans in London’s Wembley Stadium on either Oct. 21 or Oct. 28, while the Jacksonville Jaguars, mainstays of the London series with a fifth straight England game in 2018, will play the Philadelphia Eagles on the other date. The Rams, who are playing temporarily in the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, are expected to be the home team in a yet-to-be-announced Mexico City game in 2018.
“The Raiders are a truly global brand,” Raiders owner Mark Davis said in a statement, “and we look forward to hosting the first NFL game in Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium.”