Despite the fact that a win tonight could pull the Redskins further ahead of the NFC East, playing the Cowboys always means a little bit more to the Redskins and the fan base.
It doesn't matter if it's the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants or Philadelphia Eagles, they're all the same when it comes to first-year Washington Redskins defensive end Ricky Jean Francois.
"It wouldn't be a rivalry without disrespect," Jean Francois said on NFL HQ in reference to the Giants game last Sunday, but also as a sneak peek into both the team's and fans' mindset entering tonight's highly anticipated matchup against the Cowboys on Monday Night Football at FedExField.
Jean Francois hasn't been the only one that's been quickly inundated into the dislike for the Cowboys, as safety Dashon Goldson explained last week.
When he was first brought in via trade earlier this year, Goldson was told that even if the Redskins somehow finished 2-14 on the season, those two wins had better come against the Cowboys.
"Somebody told me, 'I don't care how many games you guys win, as long as you beat the Cowboys,'" Goldson said. "At that point I knew it was serious. As far as what I'm doing to prepare for this is simply just the same thing I do week in - week out. Film study and knowing my opponent, understanding what they're doing and relying on our game plan to execute that. I'm not trying to be Superman out here. I'm just trying to win a football game."
Tonight will mark the 17th time these two NFC East rivals will meet on Monday Night Football, tying the Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos for the most appearances on this night against each other.
A look back at some of the top images in games between the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys.
This game also has incredibly important stakes at hand, as the Redskins could pull out to a full-game lead on Giants and Eagles, while the Cowboys could be set three games back with just four games left to be played.
If the Redskins lose, though, they'll be in a three-way tie for first place with the Cowboys just one game behind in the standings.
Regardless of what the result is tonight, Jean Francois insists that Washington isn't looking ahead.
"Do the playoffs start today? My point exactly, we don't care for the lead; we don't care for the tie breakers," Jean Francois said last Thursday. "If we come out here and do what you said and play NFC East football against the rest of the teams we play, it should result out to a W. If it results out to a W then we can talk about the playoffs but right now we just want to talk about beating Dallas on our home field."
Jason Hatcher is among only a few players who has ever called both Dallas and Washington,, D.C., home at some point in their NFL career.
He's experienced big moments at AT&T Stadium and even old Texas Stadium, and has at FedExField as well.
The two crowds do not even compare.
"You know what? I don't think it's going to be any different from all the other home games, man, because the fans been doing a great job of screaming," Hatcher said. "You bet I can't hear the call sometime they be so loud. If they get louder, then I don't know if we'll be able to hear each other.'