Ron Rivera Says Mike McCarthy Guaranteeing Cowboys Beat WFT a 'Big Mistake'

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVDecember 10, 2021

Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera attends a news conference after an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)
AP Photo/David Becker

Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera responded Thursday to Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy guaranteeing a win over Washington on Sunday.

Rivera expressed his belief that publicly calling a win was a bad move on McCarthy's part (h/t NFL.com's Kevin Patra):

"I think it's interesting. I don't think it's important. I think that's the big mistake, because as far as I'm concerned, you do that for a couple of reasons. One is you want to get in our head. And so I've told our players, 'That's interesting, it's not important. What's important is our preparation, getting ready to play on Sunday.' Secondly, he's trying to convince his team. So, again, I think that's another mistake. Because he's now made it about him and what he said, it's not about his players anymore. So I think that's a big mistake. That's why to me, you don't do those things. What you do is you focus in, you get ready, and you play football. We show up on Sunday, and we'll see what happens."

Rivera was referencing a comment McCarthy made Thursday while speaking to the media: "We're going to win this game. I'm confident in that. ... What am I supposed to say? I fully expect to win every game I've ever competed in."

When Washington hosts Dallas on Sunday, it will be a huge game for both teams, especially since they are set to meet again two weeks later.

The Cowboys lead Washington by two games in the NFC East with an 8-4 record, while Washington sits at 6-6. The teams have largely been moving in different directions recently, however.

Dallas got back in the win column last week with a 27-17 victory over the New Orleans Saints, snapping a two-game losing streak and a run of losing three out of four.

Meanwhile, Washington is on a hot streak, having won four in a row since losing to the Denver Broncos on Halloween.

Washington started the winning streak with a 29-19 upset of the reigning Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers and continued it last week with a 17-15 win over a Las Vegas Raiders team that beat the Cowboys on Thanksgiving.

Dallas remains the favorite to win the NFC East due primarily to a high-octane offense led by quarterback Dak Prescott, running back Ezekiel Elliott and wide receivers Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb, but Washington can't be counted out.

The Washington defense has played far better lately after an awful start, allowing an average of just 17.4 points per game over its past five games.

Also, quarterback Taylor Heinicke has played solid during Washington's winning streak, and running back Antonio Gibson has bounced back from a slow start with 98 rushing yards per game over the past three contests.

Washington currently owns a wild-card spot in the NFC, and a win over Dallas would not only solidify that, but also move it to within one game of the Cowboys for first place in the NFC East.

While the WFT already had plenty to play for, McCarthy may have given them some added motivation.