Umenyiora injured his ankle -- the team has not said which one -- in a loss in New Orleans on Nov. 28 and has missed the past four games.
"It's my birthday," Pierre-Paul cited as his rationale to start.
Pierre-Paul, who will turn 23 on New Year's Day, did not say he should be the full-time starter if Umenyiora was healthy. But he did say -- with a smile -- he should be "for this game."
Pierre-Paul did acknowledge the added depth would keep him fresher throughout the game.
"That rest will help me a lot and it will get me going," said Pierre-Paul, who was selected the NFC defensive player of the week on Wednesday for the second time in three weeks. "I was playing like 80 snaps a game and that is a lot. You don't really think about it, you just have to go."
As expected, running back Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) also sat out practice Wednesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report