For the Colts, the decision need to be made now because they have already clinched home field advantage throughout the playoffs and therefore have nothing more to gain. That being said, you want to be careful that you don't go into the playoffs either beat up or too rusty. You have to find a balance. Here is what they need to do. This next week, sit your starters and vets. Peyton will want to start because he has a streak of consecutive games played, so let him play a series or two and then let him rest. Limit their reps in practice and let them take a few days off to get away from football. After that, things go business as usual. This is perfect because you give them a little rest, but at the same time, they have two weeks to get back in sync if they got sloppy. In addition, if they still are a little hurting, they have the bye week in the first week of the playoffs. If this results in a perfect season, so be it, but he primary goal is the Superbowl.
The Saints situation is very different for three reasons. First, the decision won't even come for another week because Minnesota is on pace to go 14-2 and therefore, the Saints haven't clinched the number one seed yet. Second, Drew Brees has publicly stated that he wants the record. Brees is very emotional and passionate and if he wants something, he isn't going to let anyone sit him down to prevent it. Lastly, and by far the most important, the players on this team are SIGNIFICANTLY inexperienced when it comes to the playoffs. Unlike the Colts-who are perennial Superbowl contenders and know what it is like to not only go deep in the season, but know how they will perform coming off of a bye- the Saints don't have any knowledge of that with the exception of the trip to the NFC Championship game a few years back that a couple members of the team were on. Here is what you do...you go for it. Your defense still has many kinks to work out (I don't care what people say, this is a mediocre defense. The one thing that makes them effective to some extent is that they are exceptional at forcing turnovers. In regards to yardage given up or defending against big plays, the Saints are not good) and your offense needs to stay in rhythm. If the offense was run based, it is one thing, but the Saints offense has become a remarkable threat because Brees has an almost unfathomable report with his receivers. If they take time off and that communication diminishes even a little, that offense might struggle against good defenses.
In my scenario, I think the Saints would finish the season perfect and the Colts at 15-1 . Because people don't understand how awesome I am and won't listen to me, here is what will actually happen...
The Colts will limit the snaps of their more experienced players in all three remaining games and hope it won't create rust. They will finish 16-0 and head into the playoffs hoping that they did not screw themselves.
The Saints will go strive for perfection for the most part, but I imagine they wil rest a few key people like key veterans on defense, like Will Smith and Darren Sharper, and possibly even injury prone players on offense like Marques Colston. That last one will be the teams downfall if it happens. If Colston sits, I predict that the chemistry between him and Brees and they lose in the first playoff game they play in.
For these teams' sake I hope that my predictions aren't true. Not only for their sake, but mine too because I REALLY want a team to go 19-0. not only do I love records like this (just like I was a fan of a team going 0-16 and I wanted the Nets to go 0-19), but Mercury Morris is a pretentious prick and I seriously wish he would stop proclaiming how the '72 Dolphins will forever be the only perfect team. So far though, he's been right. Maybe this year will change that.