Brandon Jacobs: Play Him or Sit Him Sunday?

Jared KarlebachContributor IDecember 18, 2008

At this point in the season it is a reality that the New York Giants will need to re-sign Brandon Jacobs.  He is the fire, the passion, and the tone setter for a hard-nosed physical, run-it-down-your-throat football team. 

There's no better example of how he can set a tone for a game than the first Giants' offensive play from scrimmage last year in the playoffs against Green Bay when he nearly took Charles Woodson out of the game.

He is important enough to give him the big money even if you know you will get only 12 to 15 games out of him per year.  However, with the position the Giants are in, I don't deem it necessary to make him play this Sunday against Carolina and risk further injury.  He is more valuable for the Giants in the playoffs healthy than he is of value hurt, but with a No. 1 seed.  History tells us that you don't have to be the top seed to win.

As for the 0-2 slump, I would not chalk that up to his injury. While he makes winning easier, this team is good enough, talent-wise, to win anyway.  The real question is, do the Giants have the right coach in place to devise a winning game plan?

That question falls on the shoulders of Kevin Gilbride.  The last two weeks, Giants fans have seen some very poor play calls, most of which revolve around the absence of short quick passes and screens.

Against Philadelphia and Dallas, Gilbride was out-coached.  Two very important games considering the Giants would prefer not to see either of them in playoffs and could have dashed the hopes of both in two consecutive weeks. 

Both opponents made mid-game adjustments to put the necessary points on the board. The Giants, however, failed to make any adjustments.  It has gotten to the point that players on other teams feel the play calling has become predictable and the only challenge is stopping what they seem to know is coming.

Brandon Jacobs is the life blood of this Giants squad; he is the voice.  Not to take anything away from the silent leadership Manning has displayed, but Jacobs is the energy. 

Either way, the Giants have proven they can win on the road and at home and so home field advantage means little to this team as compared to teams who can only win at home.  Rest Jacobs and make sure he is ready to set the tone in the playoffs.

I hate to pick against the G-men, but if Gilbride continues his play calling, he will not only cost the Giants this win on Sunday, but also a win in the playoffs.

Prediction: Panthers over Giants 21-17