Over the past several days, I have heard a handful of Redskins fans make remarks indicating that Sunday’s game at Cleveland is one they expect Washington should win, but will lose.
For a fan base that for the better part of the past 20 years has become conditioned to expect failure, it’s hard to blame anyone who at least considers the possibility of a letdown. I’m not sure this is unique to the Redskins, as NFL teams are evenly matched enough that losses at times come at the worst times, to teams that appear to be, well, the worst.
The 5-8 Browns might or might not fit that description for you. Cleveland has won three straight, are 5-3 since Oct. 14, and with a couple of results that easily could have been flipped — a one-point loss in the opener to the Eagles and an overtime defeat a few weeks back against the Cowboys — they’d have the same 7-6 record as the Redskins. Then again, the recent wins are against the struggling Steelers, and hapless Chiefs and Raiders, and the Eagles and Cowboys are teams Washington has beaten soundly.
There’s a perception, maybe held more by casual fans than diehards, that the Browns are a team Washington should steamroll. But the game is in Cleveland. Whether because of that or the uncertainty about the Redskins’ quarterbacks, the oddsmakers favor the Browns.
It can be argued, however, that the whole premise of expecting a letdown based on being used to it as a Redskins fan is null because of Robert Griffin III. Whether or not he plays — subject of spirited debate — everything around this team just feels different. Maybe this one doesn’t give off the feeling that failure, at the time you least expect it, is imminent, to the point where you actually do expect it.
Or maybe the idea of a backup QB leading the Redskins to their fifth consecutive win, on the road, against a deceptively competitive team is too much for you to buy into, and you’ve made peace with the potential loss already.
Which is it? Do you smell a letdown, or does the Redskins’ train blow through this station on the way to Philadelphia, a home finale against Dallas, and the playoffs, with RGIII’s knee getting back to normal at some point along the way?