There is no right answer. Ben McAdoo and his New York Giants should do what they feel is right in Week 17 already locked into the No. 5 seed.Here we go. Now that the New York Giants have clinched the No. 5 seed in the NFC Playoffs and Week 17 means absolutely nothing, the so-called “experts” are out in full force.
They simply say, “Ben McAdoo must not rest his starters.”
They believe momentum is key and the familiar Week 17 loss against the New England Patriots that saw Tom Coughlin play his guys in a virtual exhibition catapulted the team en route to Eli Manning‘s first Super Bowl Championship in a stunning upset over the undefeated Pats.
Come on, now. Are you really that arrogant?
There is no right answer here. There have been many examples of teams taking off a week, or two, only to find them in the Super Bowl after all of the dust settled.
Remember the 2009 Indianapolis Colts? Jim Caldwell hilariously called off the dogs, much to the dismay of Peyton Manning and gave up an undefeated season. They still cleared the AFC and found themselves in the Super Bowl. While the New Orleans Saints upended Indy, few can argue resting players had anything to do with it.
The 14-2 Colts still made it there after giving up the last two games. The very same team who the Colts allowed into the tournament — the New York Jets — they defeated in the AFC Championship game?
Momentum completely reversed itself when the money was on the line.
In the very same season, we saw Bill Belichick play his guys in a meaningless Week 17 game. Wes Welker tore his ACL and was lost for the season. The Pats would then go on to get crushed by the Baltimore Ravens the next week at home, 33-13, in the AFC Divisional Game.
Obviously, it works the other way as well.
It’s the Bill Parcells tree of coaching that has pushed this sentiment on in full force. Just as Parcells believed preseason outcomes mattered to the team as a whole, he believed playing on in meaningless Week 17 games was important.
The point is, don’t ever claim that one style rules all. Don’t point to 2007 and say, “See, look at what the Giants did after they played hard against the undefeated team.”
Those undefeated Pats were slowly fading the entire last quarter of the season. Even in the playoffs, they weren’t the dominant machine we saw early on.
They’ve earned that, especially in the face of so many doubters who thought they’d be an average 8-8 or worse.
Besides, “What momentum does New York have at the moment?”
While I believe playing Week 17 like a regular game is what they should do, I have no business in claiming it’s the right thing.
I honestly have no idea.