The Washington Redskins and Baltimore Ravens meet Thursday for their annual ‘Beltway Battle,’ an affair that the players don’t really see as a legitimate rivalry.
Redskins players see this week’s meeting as significant because it is the third preseason matchup – the game in which the starters play the most – and because they want to measure themselves against a playoff team like the Ravens.
The Ravens certainly have been the more successful team of the two, reaching the playoffs seven times in the last decade. Washington has reached the playoffs only twice since 2000.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh may see the game somewhat differently. Afterall, he said this summer that when it comes to fanbases, he wants the Ravens to “take control of this whole area. We’ll take over Washington D.C. while we’re at it.”
New Redskins’ cornerback Josh Wilson doesn’t know if that will ever happen, but he said as things currently stand, Washington wins when it comes to fan support.
Wilson grew up just outside of D.C., rooting for the Redskins. He played for Baltimore last season and said there is no comparison between the two fan bases.
“One thing about it, they have nowhere near the tradition of Redskins fans,” Wilson said with a grin. “...My uncle is 50-so years old and all they know are Redskins and you’d almost think somebody’s died when the Redskins have lost. And now I’m getting all these phone calls asking, ‘What do you think about this?’ and they think I’m going to give them all the insight, and I’m like, ‘Get out of here!’ But the Ravens have a strong fanbase up there. They’re growing and getting kind of that establishment that the Redskins already have.”
Wilson said he looks forward to facing the Ravens, however.
“It’s always a little something extra and a little more fun when you’re preparing to go against your friends,” Wilson said. “It should be fun going up there and seeing all those guys. Last week I heard they booed [former Ravens fullback] Le’Ron McClain, so I expect a lot more cheers this week than what you normally would get on an away game.”