In case you haven't heard, the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints are undefeated heading into Week 15, and the talk of the NFL right now is focused almost exclusively on how each of those teams should handle their charges for the rest of the season. Should they keep playing their starters to chase perfection? Or is it more important to rest key players so they are fresh for the games that really matter?
But what if there are other options? I would argue that there are, so let's flesh out the pros and cons of the two scenarios you've heard about the most and two others that I would consider, going from the most likely to the least likely option.
That's why I am not a big fan of a team, any team, continuing to play its veteran starters and stars once home-field advantage has been clinched. Especially for the entire game. The only way a team really looks stupid, in my opinion, is if a guy like
I have heard all of the dialogue recently about how important it is to play your regulars for them to stay on a roll and maintain continuity. Maybe, maybe not. Some of the Colts have bought into that, including middle linebacker
But to me, that thinking is flawed. There is no way of knowing how much impact the resting or not resting of players has on future games. Maybe the Patriots would have won their fourth Super Bowl of the decade if
The only thing I know for sure is that I would 100 percent prefer feeling healthy and rested heading into a game as opposed to being beat up in any way. The NFL is tough enough as it is, so sign me up for the rest if I were a Colts lineman. Besides, it is not like these teams are going to give these players off for a month so that they can head to Cancun. They will still be practicing, watching film and doing all of the other things they normally do. They just won't be exposed to risk on game day.
The other way to do it would be to rotate games. Using the Colts as an example, maybe center
With that being the case, maybe the best option is to let the players choose. Individually. There is no doubt there would be some peer pressure involved, especially among certain position groups. But at least this scenario allows the players, who know their own bodies and preferences better than anyone else, to make their own decision. The guys who prefer to stay in the groove of playing every week can continue to do that while the others that really feel like rest is the most important ingredient for postseason success can do that.
The point is there are myriad possibilities for teams like the Saints and Colts as they head towards perfection. The only way we will know if their strategy has been successful is by the end result.