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Redskins Seeking To Show Growth In Prime-Time Matchup


Sunday's matchup with the Packers marks the Redskins first Sunday Night Football game since 2013 and will be a chance for the home team to help its push for a playoff spot, despite its lack of success in recent prime time battles.

All 16 games in an NFL regular season are important. Not one can be taken more lightly than another, no matter when or where it takes place or who it is against.

But this weekend the Redskins will be making their first appearance on Sunday Night Football since 2013 and have a playoff spot in their sights. So the Redskins will want to show a national audience just how good they can play Sunday evening at FedExField against the Green Bay Packers.

"That's the best feeling, to be the only game in town," defensive end Ricky Jean Francois said. "You'll be the only two teams that are playing that night. Your mom's watching, your city is watching – the DMV will be in the building – but the people that can't make it will be watching. We've got to put on a show – a show that can equal up to a 'W.'"

This will be the first time the Redskins have been on Sunday Night Football under head coach Jay Gruden and also happens to be a pivotal game in the increasingly competitive NFC playoff race. With the Packers 4-5 record, they are going to be fighting just as hard as the Redskins to get a win with the season more than half way over.

"It's a big game regardless of who we play. From where we are in the standings at 5-3-1, behind the Giants and behind the Cowboys," Gruden said. "It's a huge game and making it Green Bay with Aaron Rodgers coming to town and Coach McCarthy, a franchise like Green Bay who has been consistently good for a very, very long time, it's a great challenge for us. And obviously they knocked us out of the playoffs last year so we know how good they are first-hand. But we're excited about it. We've got to get these guys in shape and ready to roll mentally and physically and go out there and compete. But regardless of who we play Sunday night it's going to be a big game for the fans and for us."

The prime-time affair will be a rematch between the two teams who faced off in the NFC Wildcard round last January, also at FedExField. The game will not only be a chance for the Redskins to get revenge from their loss in the postseason, but also an opportunity to get their first prime time game victory of the year. The Redskins fell in their season opener at home to the Steelers, 38-16, on Monday Night Football.

In recent Sunday night battles, the Redskins have only played eight games, going 2-6 since the start of the 2008 season. The last Sunday night game they competed in was a 24-17 loss to the Giants on Dec. 2, 2013.

The Packers, on the other hand, have already played three primetime games this season, going 2-1, and have a 21-15 record going back to 2008.

But this Redskins team isn't going to be focused on the past successes and losses. Instead, they will be looking to the fans to bring even more energy to the event that occurs so rarely.

Check out these photos of the Redskins' offense preparing for their Week 11 game against the Green Bay Packers Friday, Nov. 18, 2016, at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park.

"It's going to be fun," Su'a Cravens said. "My first NFL game was a Monday Night against the Pittsburgh Steelers, so I'm expecting the atmosphere to be something like that."

For a veteran like Josh Norman who is used to playing games in all kinds of conditions, knowing what to expect both in terms of the time of the game and what the offense on the other side will want to do, could help out some of the other Redskins players who have less experience with it.

"Prime-time Sunday night. Shoot, bright lights," Norman said. "Lights are a little bit brighter than they are usually, but it's a game to where everyone is watching, not just your mom and dad, your cousins, your uncle, aunts and your grandpa. They're going to be all in there watching that Sunday night. It's going to be fun to play against a pro like Aaron Rodgers, just knowing that they're going to be hungry to come out here and get a win, we got to try and defeat that and stop that as much as we possibly can."

No matter what history may say, the Redskins are planning to use every advantage they can get from hosting the late night affair to pull of the rare spotlight win.

"It's going to be a big game. It's on prime-time. I expect people to be loud," Ziggy Hood said. "I expect the fans to go nuts, and I expect us to use that to our advantage."

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