It doesn't matter how Washington makes the playoffs, Ron Rivera just wants in

Mike DePrisco
·2 min read

It doesn't matter how Washington makes the playoffs, Ron Rivera just wants in originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

It's been well documented how bad the NFC East has been in 2020. It's been so bad that six wins might even win the division and clinch a home playoff game. 

Some will use that to downplay the legitimacy of a team's playoff berth or use it as proof as to why the NFL needs to rethink its playoff structure, while those like Washington Football head coach Ron Rivera couldn't care less how his team gets to the playoffs. As long as he gets there, he's good. 

"I told the guys during our meeting, I said, 'Hey guys I don't care if we're 8-8 and get in the playoffs, you've just gotta get invited to the dance and then we'll see what happens,'" Rivera told reporters Monday.

Rivera went to the playoffs four times during his time with the Panthers and the team got in just about every way you could imagine.

2013: 12-4 (Division winner, No. 2 seed in NFC)

2014: 7-8-1 (Division winner, No. 4 seed)

2015: 15-1 (Division winner, No. 1 seed)

2017: 12-4 (Wild Card, No. 5 seed)

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The 2014 season would likely be the most comparable to this one. The Panthers entered December with a record of 3-8-1, which constitutes a bad football team. Then they went on to win their last four to clinch the division and a home playoff game. 

"I've made it to the playoffs at 7-8-1 and people said we didn't deserve to be there and we turn around and win our first playoff game and scare the heck out of a good team," he said. "It doesn't matter, however you can get in, you get in."

The Panthers ended up beating the 11-5 Cardinals in the Wild Card round and then pushed the eventual NFC champion Seahawks in a loss on the road.  

Can the Washington Football Team pull off a similar run? It's hard to say, but to Rivera's point, anything can happen once you get in. 

Washington's next three opponents (Giants, Lions, Bengals) have a combined record of 6-15-1.