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.
"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.