Does the 1st round Playoff Bye help or hurt a team?

The first time that I can clearly remember this debate was the final NYG regular season game in 2008 when the undefeated New England Patriots came to East Rutherford, NJ. The Patriots had set numerous records that year and already had the #1 seed in the AFC locked up. Yet they were going full strength and not resting starters in the hope of the legendary 16-0 regular season record. Likewise the Giants knew who their first round opponent was but Coach Tom Coughlin refused to rest the starters. Even though Giants lost a close game, a fire was lit and the Giants eventually won the Super Bowl.

Just yesterday, Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews said that the Giants did not beat the Packers. That the Packers in fact had defeated themselves. The Packers were 15-1 and had the best record in the NFC, but they also had a bye the week before and did not play excellent football towards the end of the regular season. Maybe the Packers were rusty because of their bye week?

The last 2 Super Bowl Champions (Packers and Giants) got hot at the end of the regular season and rode it to a Super Bowl victory. So would you rather have your team get hot at the end of the regular season and potentially play playoff games on the road? Or have one of the better records in your Conference, rest players and have a bye first round?

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