Saturday the NFL proved once again how fragile a team’s season can be. Super Bowl dreams can vanish in seconds with an injury, and the league saw several of its best players go down with serious ailments. Both Marcus Mariota and Derek Carr broke their legs and will require surgery and at least a few months of rehab. The Seahawks’ Tyler Lockett also broke his leg and will miss Seattle’s playoff run.
But if you look at a team like the Oakland Raiders, who were widely considered one of the AFC’s top three teams, you can see how quickly everything can fall apart. With Carr’s injury, Oakland is expected to trot out Matt McGloin for the rest of the year. Carr was having an MVP type of year, and now the Raiders find themselves without him. At this point, you have to expect the Raiders see an early exit in the playoffs.
The Dallas Cowboys have already clinched everything they can for the postseason. They already have the one-seed, they already have home field advantage throughout the playoffs. There is nothing to play for in their final two games. So this begs the question:
If you were coaching the Dallas Cowboys, would you rest your starters against the Lions?
My answer: Yes. There’s something to be said about keeping your players warm and on their toes for the playoffs. If Dallas were to rest their starters starting on Monday and continue to do so through the final week of the season, the Cowboys first-stringers would essentially have a three week break before playing in the divisional round of the playoffs. That could leave the players a little rusty and could cost Dallas dearly in the postseason.
But shaking off a bit of rust is 100 percent more preferable than risking the loss of one of your best players because of an injury in a game that doesn’t matter. The Cowboys have a few MVP candidates of their own, and if one of them were to suffer an injury in a meaningless game, the Cowboys would rightfully never live it down. Even the folks at Blogging The Boys believe the starters should sit for at least the second half on Monday, and it’s hard to disagree.