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Oakland Raiders' key decision could prove vital in Dolphins Wembley game

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Speaking to the Oakland Raiders roster today at their UK base on the outskirts of London one thing was immediately obvious - the jet lag associated with trans-atlantic travel continues to have an impact on them three days after arriving from California.

Several of the players noted on Wednesday the "crazy" sleeping patterns, tiredness and long periods of sleep that have been necessary as they look to aclimatize ahead of Sunday's International Series game against the Miami Dolphins.

Quarterback Derek Carr amongst them:

"It's been crazy, I texted my wife this morning and she was still on Tuesday and I was texting her good night and she said good morning to me," explained the rookie QB.

"The first day I got here I tried to fight the sleep as long as I could, and I think I slept for eleven hours because I was just trying to get caught up to this time frame and this time zone.

Speaking three days in, Carr is feeling the benefits however.

"Obviously I'm still feeling it a little bit today but as the time has gone on it's gotten progressively better. So the faster I can get into the right time zone the better so I'm glad we came out as early as we did because it definitely makes a difference."

And here lies what could prove to be the crux of the upcoming game against the Miami Dolphins. The decision from the Oakland Raiders franchise to bring the team across to England on Monday, a full three days in advance of their opponents the Miami Dolphins, may have left their star names a little exhausted now but it could prove crucial come game time.

Giving themselves a full week in England means that their players (and their body clocks) should be all set to go come Sunday afternoon.

The Miami Dolphins meanwhile arrive on Thursday. And if their players take the same three day period to get over the long distance travel, the likes of Tannehill and Cameron Wake will be three days behind the Raiders in terms of acclimatising to GMT when the first quarter begins.

In a game which could be decided by fine margins that could prove crucial.

Veteran Charles Woodson, speaking of his excitement at being in London representing the NFL, was another to spot the obvious benefits:

“All our focus is on trying to adjust to the time change," he explained during a Wednesday practice session.

"But what we’ll have to do while we’re over here, especially the next couple of days, is just get our minds right...Making sure our bodies are right and we’re going to get our first win of the season."

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Plan in place

Head coach Dennis Allen too was at pains to explain the efforts of the Raiders franchise to help their players find their feet in a different time zone:

“Yeah I thought practice was pretty good, obviously we got over here Monday morning and the guys having the time on Monday to try and catch up on some rest, Tuesday we had some stuff on and then today we basically had a normal game week preparation," he explained to reporters.

"I think the further we go into the week the further acclimated guys will get to the time change and hopefully that wont be any sort of factor come Sunday."

The Miami Dolphins will not be afforded this luxury. If their players take the same amount of time to adjust to UK time then almost their entire game preparation (and possibly the game itself) will be affected.

Tight encounter expected

The Raiders are looking to bounce back from their third successive defeat at this, the start of the 2014 NFL season and if the old adage 'the devil is in the detail' rings true here then they are doing everything in their power to give them the best possible chance of coming away from this unique 'home game' with that first W on the board.

Miami of course, on East coast time, benefit from being slightly closer to UK time naturally. But as anyone who has taken the flight from the USA to the UK will know it takes a while for your body to adjust. And with both teams desperate for victory come Sunday, any slight disadvantage could play a huge role in determining just which franchise heads back to the comforts of America with the win.

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Miami Dolphins
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