So the New York Giants have one of those tough questions to answer themselves when they take the field as the final regular season test for the New England Patriots at Giants Stadium on Saturday night. The Giants are going to be the fifth seed in the NFC when the playoffs start the following weekend, no ifs, ands, or buts. They cannot move up, nor can they move down. Their first-round matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is set for the first weekend of the playoffs. So here’s the question – do you risk having players banged up for that first playoff contest by trying to go all out Saturday night?
It’s an interesting question in terms of how much you value history. The Giants deep down would like nothing more than to come out Saturday night and ruin the party that already seems to be planned for the Patriots. Now with the game, the first in league history, on not only NFL Network but two network stations, millions will watch what may be a game that rivals some of the lower rated Super Bowls. Argue all you want, the Giants could spoil the mark of the Pats, as well as stamp give themselves one heck of a boost heading into the playoffs.
But, and it’s a big but, if one of the Giants regulars (keeping the already gimpy ankle of stud wide out Plaxico Burress in mind) gets hurt, and the Giants lose in the process, how much has the team really gained? So do you sacrifice playing regulars in a game that in 2,5,10 years will not be remembered, and in the process give up your chance at the best possible shot at going for the Lombardi Trophy? To me, it’s a no brainer. You enter the season with one goal in mind – win the Super Bowl. The Giants need to, and they had better keep that in mind.
No one will remember the last team the Pats beat to go undefeated. All they will think about is the 16-0 record and whatever happens in the postseason for the Pats. Beating the Giants will do nothing more than conclude the perfect regular season for the Pats, and for the Giants, they have to make sure to do everything they can to enter wild card weekend as close to 100 percent as possible. Even if it means laying down for New England Saturday night with backups and third-string players.