Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White is dealing with a knee injury while the team approaches a massive showdown with the New York Giants, so the coaching staff must decide whether or not it is worth it to let White play.
The smart play for Atlanta would be not allowing White to play against the Giants.
It was first discovered Wednesday that White had undergone an MRI for a previously unknown knee issue. After undergoing the examination, White is now listed as a game-time decision for Sunday's game against the Giants (h/t RN-T).
The minor issues clearly haven't alarmed anyone within the Falcons organization, but it should. A knee issue, no matter how severe, is nothing to take a gamble on this late in the season—especially if the Falcons are serious about making a run in the postseason.
A knee injury will not only hamper White on the field and slow down the offense, but it will put him at risk of making the issue worse. White isn't going to be at 100 percent speed, which could have a negative impact on the timing of the offense as a whole.
Atlanta is already 11-2 and has the NFC South clinched, so a victory over the Giants isn't imperative at this point.
To further make resting White appealing, the Falcons don't need him at all to beat New York.
Sure, White is Ryan's favorite target. He's caught 77 passes for 1,140 yards and five touchdowns. Fortunately for the Falcons, the Giants have the No. 27 ranked pass defense, as the unit gives up a ridiculous 253 yards per game through the air.
White isn't needed for Atlanta to win. Other targets such as Julio Jones, Harry Douglas and Tony Gonzalez should be able to take advantage of a horrendous secondary without the assistance of White.
New York is currently 8-5 and slowly losing its grip on the NFC East lead, so it couldn't afford to rest any key players. The same cannot be said for Atlanta. The Falcons are in a great position and can afford to play it safe with White.
Things don't get much more difficult for the Falcons in the final two weeks of the season after facing the Giants. Week 16 sees them traveling to Detroit to take on the lowly Lions, and in Week 17, they welcome the the Buccaneers and the NFL's worst pass defense to town.
Not only should the Falcons rest White against the Giants, the option to rest him for the remainder of the season is there as well, should he need it.
The final three games, including the impending showdown with New York, aren't all that difficult or important for Atlanta. Seeding and home-field advantage could be on the line, which would be more concerning if the schedule was tougher.
Atlanta has to err on the side of caution concerning White this week. The last thing the Falcons need is to be without their No. 1 offensive target for the entirety of the postseason because he was allowed to play with a minor injury in a late-season game.
The Falcons are in a great situation and can afford to rest White. The coaching staff in Atlanta would be foolish to play him on Sunday.