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Ron Rivera: Mike McCarthy’s victory guarantee is a “big mistake”

Chris Simms and Mike Florio preview the NFC East showdown between the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Football Team and discuss if Washington can make headway in the race for the division crown.

One of the best games of Week 14 is getting even better.

On Thursday, Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy returned to the team after a 10-day COVID-related absence and declared of Sunday’s date with Washington, “We’re going to win the game.”

In an interview with Julie Donaldson of the team’s official website, Washington coach Ron Rivera got candid about McCarthy’s confidence.

“I think it’s interesting; I don’t think it’s important,” Rivera said. “I think that’s the big mistake, is 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.”

It’s also a mistake because it gives Rivera a little something extra, when it comes to getting his players fully focused. It’s frankly surprising that Rivera said anything publicly other than, “It doesn’t matter.” Privately, what he says to the team about it could potentially peel the paint from the locker room walls.

Regardless, one of the great rivalries of the past is back, because both teams are playoff contenders in the same season, something that doesn’t happen very often.