It's entirely arguable that the way the New York Giants played in Week 17 against the Patriots, despite losing, propelled them into the postseason and eventually to a Super Bowl win.
Of course, you could also argue that such a discussion is pointless. Whatever. My main point is that Tom Coughlin typically -- as he wrote in a book -- does not believe in resting players in the final week of the season if there's nothing at stake.
"It is a difficult decision," Coughlin wrote after noting that many NFL coaches bench their stars in similar situations. "It becomes clear that the media and fans care more about a playoff game and therefore don't want our first-teamers to play. But I feel differently."
Naturally, then, you would expect to see every single Giant -- including Justin Tuck and Brandon Jacobs, both recently banged up -- playing full games against the Vikings this Sunday. Or perhaps not; it appears, judging by the somewhat hemming nature of a recent statement to the media, that Coughlin might have changed his tune.
"My answer to all of your questions will be that in conjunction with the medical people and with the idea of improving our game, having individuals perform at a higher level than we did in the last game, which is always our theme, we will do the best thing for our football team," Coughlin said.
"What's best for the Giants" and "Play every game like it's win or go home" are two entirely different statements. And while Coughlin isn't the type of guy to go back on his word, I don't think, he would be doing exactly that if the Giants don't pull out all the stops to beat the Vikings on Sunday.
Of course the most intriguing aspect of that game is that the Bears need a Giants win in order to have a shot at the playoffs ... and considering the broad effect that this game will have on the NFC playoffs as a whole, it'll be interesting to see what Coughlin ultimately decideds to do.
It's also interesting to remember that playing his full team against the Pats last year gave them valuable experience in Phoenix; it would be incredibly ironic if the Giants sat players against the Vikings and then later got booted from the playoffs by Minnesota.
Tom Coughlin Might Be Reversing His Stance on Playing Time During Week 17 originally appeared on NFL FanHouse on Wed, 24 Dec 2008 02:00:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.