Chicago Sun-Times

Giant issue: How much will Coughlin play key starters at Minnesota?

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The New York Giants went all out in their season finale last year against the unbeaten New England Patriots, a game that didn't have any bearing on their own playoff standing, but that doesn't mean they will do the same thing again.

New York travels to Minnesota on Sunday after securing the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs with an overtime victory over the Carolina Panthers. A victory by the Vikings will secure the NFC North for them. But who will suit up for the Giants and how long will they play? If the Bears win tonight, they need a Minnesota loss and a win at Houston to capture the division.

Coach Tom Coughlin has not committed to what he is going to do based on his comments Monday in his press conference.

"I disagree with the idea that you have nothing to gain," he told reporters in New Jersey today. "There is a lot to be gained. If you believe, as we do, that you have to be playing your best football at this time of the year, you certainly do have some things to build on, and particularly when you are not going to play for a couple of weeks.

"I am taking all that into consideration and I am not going to answer any further questions about that stuff, because quite frankly I haven't had a chance to sit and talk with the various medical people or the coordinators or anyone in terms of our approach to this game."

Giants running back Brandon Jacobs, who ran for three touchdowns vs. Carolina, has been fighting a knee injury for much of the second half of the season and didn't play a week ago at Dallas. He could be rested. Ditto defensive tackle Fred Robbins, who has a sore shoulder, and defensive player of the year candidate Justin Tuck, who fought through the flu Sunday night and reportedly has a lower leg issue. Wide receiver Domenik Hixon, a key part now with Plaxico Burress done, has also had injuries. Would Coughlin want to rest quarterback Eli Manning?

The Giants went all out to win the final game last year when they hosted the Patriots, nearly spoiling New England's bid for perfection a month before their rematch in Super Bowl XLII. The Patriots prevailed 38-35 in a game that served the league well when the Giants fought hard with history on the line. Some believe that loss was a spark for the Giants entering the postseason. It's somewhat different this time. As the fifth seed last year, a spot New York was locked into before playing New England, the Giants played the next week. This time around they are going to have a bye before hosting someone Jan. 10 or Jan. 11.

"That plan has not been formulated as of yet," Coughlin said. "That is something that I plan on spending the next day or so trying to put together. The information will come basically from the medical people and exactly how we think we ought to go about our business here in this upcoming 16th game of the season. Our basic philosophy is that we want to win every game and that is the way our mentality should be. We will be smart about any advice we get from the medical people.

"I don't think anybody came out [of Sunday's game] any the worse for wear. I haven't seen Hixon today, but I don't think he came out with any issues. He played the entire game and when he did that last week he was sore and I would expect that they are all sore. Robbins would be sore today, Jacobs would be sore today, but I don't believe it is anything that would keep them from playing."

Before the Bears worry about what the Giants are going to do Sunday, they need to handle their own business vs. Green Bay. Kickoff is in two hours.

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7 Comments

He will play to win as he did last year, but there are differences between last year and this year.

Last year, they had a chance to beat the "best football team ever" that was undefeated, and knew that it would be a game of historic potential (which it ended up having).

This year the opponent is has zero meaning except to win. The Giants don't care if the Bears or the Vikings make it to the playoffs. But they do have championship pride, and the Vikings have either Jackson or Frerrotte at QB.

As a long-time Giants fan, I expect that Coughlin will rest only the injured. That probably means no Jacobs, no Ross, no Tuck, no Robbins. The rest of the team will play hard to win the game.

Now that we won, hopefully the giants do play their starters and win against the vikes and we win against the texans, and then TALK ABOUT A SEASONAL UPSET for the Bears!!! That game with the Pack was tooooooo close and we lucked out and got blessed with the end results of the FG block on the Pack and the horse collar call on the Pack, the nice run by Fortte and finally the FG by Gould. We need to start winning on skill instead of blessing and luck, only. Then again that is my opinion, I could be wrong.

i don`t think it matters if the giants play everybody or not. the bears arn`t going anywere if they get in the playoffs. they have no quarterback and very little offence. the only reason the bears have the record they have is one word LUCK, and luck will not get you to the super boal. I CAN THINK OF A HALF DOZEN TEAMS THAT THE BEARS CAN`T BEAT THAT ARE IN THE PLAYOFFS, so lets just start getting ready for next year with out a quarterback again!

This offense is ridiculous!! Get rid of Orton, Grossman & Turner. Don't think about the Giants & Vikes because the Bears aren't beating Houston. Houston will put 30 on us & we will be lucky to score 10 points on their dismal defense - maybe special teams and defense can get us another 21.

Don,

I have issues with the Bears and seriously question a number of decisions and plays they've made this year.

That said, with the exception of the Green Bay and Minnesota blowouts, the Bears have been very competitive with a number of quality, playoff-caliber opponents.

Atlanta
Tampa Bay
Minnesota (first game)
Philadelphia
Indianapolis
Carolina
Tenesse (yes I thought they were competitive)

Granted, Chicago was only about 3-5 against these teams, but really had a chance to beat Atlanta, Tampa, and Carolina.

They have some good players. Give 'em a break.

Go Bears!

"I disagree with the idea that you have nothing to gain," he told reporters in New Jersey today. "There is a lot to be gained. If you believe, as we do, that you have to be playing your best football at this time of the year, you certainly do have some things to build on, and particularly when you are not going to play for a couple of weeks."

Perfect. I love it. Oh and Don, fee free to shut your face. Have a little faith for this team and if you're so down on them why don't you find another team to root for like the Vikings.

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