The Los Angeles Chargers packed a big suitcase for their trip to play the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. Following what the Chargers hope is their third straight win is a trek to London to face the Tennessee Titans.
But the Chargers are doing their best not to look too far ahead. Especially when facing the Browns, a feisty team which can still be the butt of jokes, but in reality, has won two of their past three games.
If that didn't get the Chargers' attention, the memories are still fresh from their last two meetings with the Browns. Cleveland earned its only win in 2016 against the Chargers and last year the Bolts struggled in beating the Browns,19-10.
"That was a scary game for us," Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said. "And now they are just learning how to win. They have won some close games but they could be 4-1. It is a dangerous football team."
Cleveland has received a boost since turning to rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield. He's provided the team with production and swagger.
"He has sparked them and he has probably added a lot of energy outside the building and inside the building. I thought he was a heck of a player coming out (of college). He plays with a lot of confidence and that is the way to go about it." Lynn said.
Mayfield would be wise to watch his counterpart when he's working. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is having a sensational start as he continues to build his Hall of Fame resume. Rivers has thrown for 13 touchdowns, the most in his first five games in a season since 2013. And he's only thrown two interceptions, which catches Lynn's eye.
"He's taking care of the football," Lynn said. "He's going to throw (an interception) every now and then but it's also the offensive line protecting him, the receivers running the right routes and the right depths and catching the ball. But he's delivering the ball where it needs to be."
Although it's an offense that isn't just relying on Rivers' right arm, his 116.4 rating is as tempting as it may be.
"Right now things are running smoothly on offense and it could not be more balanced," Lynn said.
Melvin Gordon, who has scored a touchdown in four straight games, is leading a rushing attack that when combined with Austin Ekeler's contributions is impressive. The tandem has combined for 1,005 yards from scrimmage with nine touchdowns.
But Rivers is the top gun in the offense and Lynn said the Chargers would be foolish to think otherwise.
"Our offense has always been about adjusting to Philip's skill-set," Lynn said. "That is what you have to do when you have a quarterback of that caliber."
And in the Browns, the Chargers have a rival that is of certain caliber and is capable of landing a haymaker on the Chargers for the second time in three years.
"It's going to be a dog fight," Lynn said. "But they all are so it's nothing we haven't seen before."
The Chargers (3-2) are enjoying their view of being above .500 for the first time this season. Soon after the Browns game, they'll be above 35,000 feet headed for London.
It's a two-game road trip that is demanding, but also a chance for the Chargers to continue their winning ways.
"We got a ways to go," Rivers said, and he wasn't referring to going over the Atlantic Ocean. "But it would definitely be good to keep this thing rolling on this two-game road stretch."
SERIES HISTORY: 27th regular-season meeting. Chargers lead series, 16-9-1. The Chargers have won six of the last eight matchups dating to 2003. The teams have split two games the past two seasons, with the Chargers being the Browns' only victim in the 2016 season in which they went 1-15. The Chargers lost on that day at Cleveland Stadium but it was a much more joyous visit in 2004. In a game played in frigid and whiteout conditions, the Chargers beat the Browns, 21-0, to win the AFC West title. They haven't won one since.