NEWARK, N.J. Tom Coughlin sidestepped questions about whether the New York Giants will go all out to try to spoil the New England Patriots' bid for perfection.
"I am not ready to even talk about that stuff today," Coughlin said Monday during a conference call.
With New York's playoff picture set heading into the final week of the regular season, the logical approach would be for Coughlin to rest his walking wounded. No matter what the Giants (10-5) do against the unbeaten Patriots on Saturday night, they'll face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-6) on the road in an NFC wild-card game the following weekend.
Receiver Plaxico Burress has been bothered by a sprained ankle all season and halfback Brandon Jacobs (ankle), linebacker Antonio Pierce (ankle, hamstring) and safety Gibril Wilson (knee) have played hurt in recent weeks.
Coughlin also might want to rest some of his regulars.
Being one of the NFL's more traditional coaches, Coughlin is torn while preparing for Tom Brady and the Patriots, who are bidding to become the first team to win all 16 regular-season games. Winning is everything for the 61-year-old Coughlin, and it's the way he has coached throughout his career.
That's why Saturday's finale is so tough for him. He wants to win, and it would be the ultimate confidence-builder for a club that has not gotten out of the first round of the playoffs the past two years. The risk, of course, is someone might get hurt in what is essentially a meaningless game.
"We want to win every game, and we want our players to be as sharp as they can, but that having been said, I am aware of the fact that all the things you talk about are true," Coughlin said. "We cannot improve our lot, etc. I won't be really painted into the corner on any of those things. I wish I had a more definitive answer."
Coughlin said there's a chance he may not tip his hand on his approach all week. His decision on resting the injured will be made after consulting with his medical staff.
"I will have some thoughts on what I want to do, but I want our team to be prepared to go," he said. "I want us to focus and I want our team ready to go."
After returning from Buffalo on Sunday night after a 38-21 playoff-clinching win over the Bills, Coughlin returned to work Monday morning and watched videotape cutups of the game. He then turned his attention toward the Patriots, who beat Miami 28-7 on Sunday for their 15th straight win.
Upsetting the Patriots would be a postseason boost.
"I think that certainly would be a great thing and a wonderful thing," Coughlin said. "Of course you play every game to win, and so all of our thoughts are on that. All of our thoughts are on trying to figure out how we can be in a position to defeat a team that is 15-0 and a very, very good team."