OK, gang, the Christmas celebrating is over. So is the euphoria of beating Buffalo and clinching a playoff berth.
Now comes a tough call. Put yourself in Tom Coughlin's shoes. How do you approach this Saturday's game with the New England Patriots?
The Patriots are, of course, 15-0 with a shot at a historic perfect regular season. At some level, you owe it to the league and the integrity of the game to take your best shot at stopping the Patriots' historic run.
On the other hand, you've been blown out of the playoffs two years in a row. You owe it to your team and your organization to do what is best for the New York Giants. That, of course, would be not to worry about the Patriots at all, rest some of your key players and prepare for Tampa Bay in less than two weeks.
So, what do you do?
• Do you play Plaxico Burress, or rest him in hopes that his chronically injured ankle is a little healthier for the Buccaneers' game?
• What about Brandon Jacobs? The big beast is nursing a sprained ankle, and seems prone to getting hurt. He wants to play Saturday. Do you overrule him and get him fresh for the playoffs?
• Eli Manning? Does he play the whole game? Do you get him a couple of series, hope he does something good and get him out of there? Do you just let Anthony Wright and Jared Lorenzen play and forget about it?
One defense, guys like Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck and Antonio Pierce could probably use a little rest. Do you play them sparingly, or play them like you normally would?
How about your game plan? Do you put in a Patriots' specific plan and pull out all the stops. Or, do you put in a vanilla game plan, and start adding a few wrinkles that you keep under wraps until you face the Buccaneers?
I know what my answer is. I don't give a hoot about the Patriots' game. Historic implications be damned, that should mean nothing to the Giants.
Do what you have to do to get ready for the Buccaneers. Going all out to beat the Patriots, even if the Giants succeed, will mean nothing if they go to Tampa Bay and get humiliated in a playoff opener for the third year in a row.
If that means I have to watch Lorenzen hand the ball to Reuben Droughns Saturday night, or throw it to David Tyree and Domenic Hixon, so be it.
I care about the Buccaneers, not the Patriots.