At 6-3 and with their bye week approaching, the New York Giants go into a big game with the Cincinnati Bengals this weekend that will ultimately decide whether they will be in firm control of the NFC East coming out of the bye, or whether they will move closer to the pack in the NFC and be forced to fight for a playoff spot with one of the toughest November-December schedules in football.
A 7-3 record would put the Giants not only in position to essentially close out the NFC East within a couple of weeks after their bye, but also keep them within striking distance of the Bears for a bye in the first round of the playoffs.
The Bengals have lost four straight games and are desperate for a win here at home. They know this might be their last shot to stay competitive in the AFC playoff race.
Go to the quick passing game early with slants, crossing patterns, and screens
The Giants really need to get their passing game going again, and one way to do it is by creating a rhythm for Manning and the receivers early in the football game. The Giants should look to some higher percentage throws to get the ball into the hands of the playmakers on the outside and get some momentum going in this aspect. When the Giants are at their best they are led by their passing attack, and this unit for whatever reason has gotten a little flat the past two to three weeks. It's vital they get back on track in this game.
Provide consistent safety help on A.J Green throughout the football game
At no point in this game should A.J. Green see a one on one matchup over the top. He's too big, too athletic, too fast, and his ball skills are too good and he will make a defense pay near every time in that situation. Green is the one huge threat on this Bengals offense and all it takes is one single coverage matchup with Andy Dalton protected for Green to put his team sixty yards downfield in one play.
Be patient offensively, don't force the action downfield
The Giants have gotten into a bit of a stretch where they have been attempting to force the football downfield and over the top in the passing game, and they can not afford to turn the football over and give the Bengals opportunities to take control of momentum at home early in the game. That is one way the Giants can find themselves in some trouble Sunday afternoon. The Bengals are a very inconsistent defense that give up a lot of third down conversions and don't do a good job keeping teams out of the end zone. New York has got to stay patient and take care of the football, knowing that this Bengals defense has trouble sustaining stout play and will be looking for takeaways to bail themselves out of trouble.
A.J Green vs Giants secondary
Hands down the biggest matchup in this game. A.J. Green is the man that makes this Bengals offense go, and the Giants secondary has struggled to contain big-play receivers all season. If New York can find a way to slow Green down, the Bengals are going to have a tough time scoring enough points to beat them.
BIG GAME ALERT
QB Eli Manning
Eli has struggled a bit the past two weeks and he's well aware of it. I expect him to really look to get going early in this game and put an emphasis on taking better care of the football. There are plays to be made against this Bengals defense and I expect Manning to come out and have one of his best games of the season.
The Giants can't be happy about the one they let slip at home last week and you know their November struggles are on their mind. Tom Coughlin will have them very ready and very focused for this football game. That being said, Cincinnati is a desperate team with some talent on both sides of the ball – and those teams are often dangerous. At the end of the day, the Giants should be able to move the ball up and down the field in this game and look more like the Giants offense we saw early in the season. I like their chances to go into the bye with a 7-3 record.
GIANTS 30, BENGALS 21
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