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The Giants look for their fourth straight win against the Bengals

Photo Credit: Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

 

The Giants head into their Monday night matchup in primetime against the Cincinnati Bengals riding a three game winning streak.  They currently hold sole position of second place in the NFC east division but need to continue to win to keep pace with the division leading Cowboys who have won seven straight games heading into their matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers.   Below are two keys to the Giants continuing their winning ways and grabbing another victory.

 

Try to contain AJ Green:

Note the word try was used as containing Green is a lot easier said than done.  He currently leads the NFL in receptions (59) and receiving yards per game (112).  Andy Dalton has targeted Green an average of 11 times per game and is the reason that the Bengals offense is having an above average season.  The drop off from Green to the Bengals receiver with the second most catches is notable as Brandon LaFell has just 28 receptions on the season.  Green is very difficult to cover as he’s capable of running a variety of routes and can be found making catches all over the field.  His ability to get behind the secondary on deep balls and make contested catches because of his size and athletic ability make him a weapon that is all the more challenging to defend against.  The Giants will need to pay close attention to him throughout the game and prevent him from making big plays that allow the Bengals offense to put points on the board quickly.

 

Consistency from the offensive line:

The Giants rushing attack has been non-existent throughout the season, averaging just 68 yards per game.  An argument could be made that part of the reason for the complete lack of effectiveness is the team continuing to utilize a running back by committee approach which prevents the running backs from getting into a rhythm over the course of the game.  Another argument could be made that the Giants offensive line has simply been ineffective in the run blocking capacity.  From game to game the offensive line has had issues allowing for the running game to develop into anything that resembles a threat.  In last weeks game left guard Justin Pugh was injured and will now miss potentially 2 to 4 weeks with a knee injury.  It is being reported that former CFL player Brett Jones will step in and start at left guard.  This will be Jones’ first NFL start and he will be tasked with protecting Eli Manning from the Bengal’s All-Pro defensive tackle Geno Atkins.  He is among the league leaders in tackles for a loss with eight.   Atkins would be a tough assignment for any offensive lineman to handle and he will certainly push Jones to step up and play beyond anyone’s expectations.  Pugh is widely considered to be the Giants best offensive lineman so his loss will certainly be felt for as long as he’s unable to suit up.   The Giants passing attack has been what their offense has had to rely upon in the absence of an efficient running game.  They currently rank 6th in the league, averaging just over 271 passing yards a game however they’re scoring just 20 points per game.  The offensive line will need to find a way to give Eli time to go through his progressions and find his receivers.  If Manning is able to maintain a level of comfort in the pocket then the Giants passing attack should continue to be successful and in turn they’ll have a good chance at picking up another win.

 

Prediction:  Giants win 24-20

 

Dan Evans is a Contributing Writer for PureSportsNY    You can find him on Twitter @DanEvansPSNY

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