There’s no right or wrong in how Mike McCarthy decides to approach the final game of the regular season.

If you shut down key players in the Cowboys’ finale to avoid injury, you do nothing to work on the offensive malaise that grips this team. If you ride with your starters against Philadelphia and one or two go down to injury, you’ve compromised your team’s postseason fortunes.

This scenario resonates even louder at the moment since an MRI confirmed that receiver Michael Gallup suffered a torn ACL and will be lost for the playoff run.

Choose whatever side you want in this debate. But don’t let your intransigence blind you.

There’s no universal truth on how to proceed when a game has little to no bearing on the playoff picture. One size does not fit all. McCarthy has discussed the options with his staff and ownership and come to a conclusion.

“We’re going to play to win the game,” McCarthy said. “That’s our approach. Obviously, with everything in front of us we understand the scenarios and so forth.

“We’re going to Philadelphia and we’re going to line up to do what we need to do to win the game.”

Play to win sounds good.

Play to improve is arguably more important.

The Cowboys offense remains out of sorts. Dismiss that 56-point explosion against Washington for the outlier it is, and the offense hasn’t scored more than two touchdowns in the first three quarters of a game since the team beat Atlanta on Nov. 14.

Dallas had only one touchdown entering the fourth quarter of Sunday’s loss to Arizona.

A team that proclaimed the importance of making a statement heading into the game with the Cardinals came out carping about the officiating the way losing teams often do.

Sit Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard against the Eagles on Saturday night? Why, because you feel good about the 25 yards they combined to rush for against Arizona?

Place Dak Prescott in bubble wrap ahead of the wild-card round? Sure, because he’s so sharp at the moment. Do you really need Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb to combine for more than six receptions for 69 yards the way they did in the loss to the Cardinals?

That rapport Prescott and Cooper share? The veteran receiver caught only three of the seven balls thrown in his direction for 18 yards on Sunday.

It may be time for Cooper to publicly complain again about his role in the offense.

The Cowboys don’t need rest. They need repetition and refinement. They need to recapture the confidence, efficiency and explosion that characterized this offense to open the season.

The defense needs to respond to one of its few poor performances in this stretch run. Greg Zuerlein needs to stop missing 43-yard field goal attempts wide left.

The nucleus of this team needs to play Saturday night.

“I think just like anything, this is the best thing for us,” McCarthy said. “This is the best thing for our football team.

“There are slight odds to potentially move up so we want to make sure we take care of business on our end and finish off and make sure we’re playing with momentum.”

Slight, the way Urban Meyer has a slight chance to win coach of the year. Yes, Dallas could finish as the second or third seed in the NFC if it wins and enough other teams lose, but the Cowboys are essentially boxed into the No. 4 seed.

This game isn’t about seeding.

“Our full intention as we started the game plan today was to play our guys, to build a game plan to win the game,” McCarthy said Monday afternoon. “The thing that people need to recognize, you only have 48 players to play the game. Going up there and then you start pulling players, you’re really putting stress on other players that haven’t played, that maybe haven’t had reps at that many positions.

“You have to be cognizant of that.”

McCarthy has approached a season finale like this one from both directions. He had a young team in 2009 with Green Bay and played everyone. His team was the No. 1 seed two seasons later and he thought it was more important to rest some key starters.

“You can evaluate those things,” McCarthy said. “You can over-evaluate them.

“But I think at the end of the day you have look at what’s best for your current team, and that’s what we’re doing. We feel strongly that we need to go, we need to stay in a rhythm.”

The best approach for this team really isn’t in doubt.

“This is our first time in the playoffs together,” McCarthy said. “So we want to go in there as strong as possible from a play-style, momentum standpoint.”

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