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To play or not to play: How should Giants handle season finale?

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Should stars play or sit vs. Washington Redskins?

New York Giants v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

To play or not to play. With the New York Giants having already qualified for the playoffs and being entrenched in the fifth seed, the outcome of Sunday’s season finale against the Washington Redskins won’t change anything. So, should the Giants play to win the game, or should they rest Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr., Landon Collins, Olivier Vernon and Co. for their first-round playoff game?

I have already seen both sides of the argument.

Gary Myers of the Daily News is on the “sit ‘em” side:

This is an easy decision. McAdoo has to do what gives the Giants the best opportunity to get to Houston.

McAdoo should not play his irreplaceable players at all. It will give the Giants a bye without having a bye. Or, if he wants them to get game action to stay sharp, he should pull them after one quarter.

However, let’s face it: Manning and his pals are not suddenly going to explode. If it hasn’t happened in the first 15 games, it’s not happening in the 16th game. The Giants’ playoff success will be determined by the defense.

James Kratch of NJ Advance Media is on the “play to win the game” side:

The Giants may be locked into the NFC's No. 5 seed, and they may have several banged-up starters who could use rest. But McAdoo's job is to put his team in the best position to win in the postseason. Going all out against a rival Washington club that is fighting for the playoffs is the best way to do that.

McAdoo doesn't have to coach this game like it's the Super Bowl. He'd be smart to get players like Jonathan Casillas (knee) and Janoris Jenkins (back), among others, some rest. Protecting Odell Beckham Jr. and Eli Manning should be a priority as well.

But McAdoo should not sit and rest starters across the board. Play the regulars, roll in the capable backups and young players a bit more than usual, and aim to finish the day at 11-5. It's a tough decision, but it's the right decision.

My view? I’m siding with Kratch. The Giants are coming off a loss, a poor performance against the Philadelphia Eagles. Heading into the playoffs off back-to-back losses is no way to generate momentum for a postseason run.

No one wants to see what happened to Derek Carr or Marcus Mariota happen to Eli Manning or any of the Giants other star players. There is, however, something to be gained by going into Washington and playing well. Especially for the offense.

Liberally using reserve players to limit snap counts, and perhaps pulling Manning at the half or whenever McAdoo thinks he and the offense have accomplished enough is fine. I just don’t see any point in treating the game like the it was the fourth week of the preseason and sitting everyone.

Your thoughts, Giants fans?