Last year going into week 17, the question was whether Coughlin and Giants would take their last game of the season seriously. Having clinched a playoff spot the week before against the Bills and being locked into the # 5 seed, there was nothing for the Giants to gain for themselves except of course, the historical obligation of trying to knock the Patriots out and prevent them from completing a perfect 16-0 regular season record. Of course you know what happened - Giants played all out against the Patriots, lost two players to injury in the game: Shaun O'Hara and Kawika Mitchell. Both missed time in the playoffs, but Eli played his best game of the season against the Patriots, the team gained confidence and went on their magical playoff run.
This year, the situation is somewhat different. Giants are not lacking for confidence, they have the top seed locked up and have nothing to play for this weekend against the Vikings. But - the Vikings and Bears are battling for a playoff spot and the Bears need to win themselves and need the Giants to beat the Vikings in order to make the playoffs. From a league and ethical perspective, Giants should play hard this week. It is not fair to lay down, let the Vikings win and prevent the Bears from making the playoffs. Furthermore, I think the Vikings are a much bigger threat than the Bears in the playoffs. They have a great RB in Peterson, a qb in Tavaris Jackson who is inexperienced but has a strong throwing arm and is a great runner. He's not a great, pure, accurate passer, but he has been playing much better since he began starting again the last few games. They have a great OL, with a LT in Bryant McKinnie that I salivate over and would love to have play for the Giants. He is huge and athletic. They have a LG playing next to him, Hutchinson who makes the pro bowl every year and is a very good player. They are dangerous in the playoffs and Giants might do well to try to beat them this week and not let them get into the playoffs at all. A qb who can run presents a dimension that can move the offense even in bad weather of the Meadowlands.