We can do some lamenting if you want, Giants fans. We can go back over last week's 41-9 home loss to the Panthers, we can retread some questionable Tom Coughlin and Bill Sheridan calls — any of that.

But maybe there's a better way to spend our time. There's been a week to accept that Big Blue (8-7) won't be in the playoffs for the first time since 2004. You already know no matter what kind of flogging the Giants may or may not give to the Vikings (11-4) in a 1 p.m. game today at the Metrodome, the Giants season is over afterward.

What we don't know is the potential that lurks on the bench, whether there's a diamond there who, with a little polishing, could be next season's difference-maker. Ramses Barden and Ahmad Bradshaw are dressed today. Barden replaces Mario Manningham, and Bradshaw — who's still hurt — could get some looks with Brandon Jacobs shut down for the season.

It's the guilty pleasure of disappointing seasons: a sneak peek at the future.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Oh, one other guilty pleasure (well, maybe not-so-guilty): did you hate Brett Favre's media dance around retirement? He's in the midst of a classic December-January swoon after a 10-1 start. The Vikings, who have already clinched a playoff spot, need to win today and need outside help if they want a first-round bye: Philly has to lose to in Dallas (4:15 p.m. start).

But a Giants win before that game prevents any rest for Favre and the Vikings, and that could end up breaking their postseason run.

Evan Drellich here to take you through the game, and any final ruminations you have on this season — or preliminary ones on next.