The Cincinnati Bengals have reached the playoffs in five consecutive years, but their streak is in danger of coming to an end in the 2016 NFL season. If the team wants to get back to the postseason, they’ll likely have to defeat the New York Giants in Week 10 on “Monday Night Football.”
Coming off a bye, the Bengals have not gotten off to the start that they hoped for this season. Cincinnati played the Washington Redskins to a tie in Week 8, putting them at 3-4-1 and in third place in the AFC North. The Bengals will visit a Giants team that moved to 5-3 with a victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 9.
Despite the records of the two teams, the gambling public appears to be on the side of the visiting Bengals. Cincinnati was once a two-point underdog at Las Vegas and online sportsbooks, via OddsShark, but the betting line has since moved to a pick’em. The over/under is 47.
New York is somewhat fortunate to be two games above .500, and their luck could run out on Monday.
The Giants are in the playoff race in large part because of their defense. The organization spent more money on that side of the ball this offseason than any other NFL team, and it seems to be paying off. New York is tied for 10th in scoring defense, though they are vulnerable against a team with as much offensive talent as Cincinnati. The Giants rank 23rd in yards allowed per game.
The Bengals are sixth in total offense, led by the wide receiver that’s arguably been the NFL’s best in 2016. A.J. Green is first in the league with 112 receiving yards per game, and the Giants might not have an answer for the five-time Pro Bowl player. Only seven teams have surrendered fewer passing yards than New York.
New York’s offense has underperformed all season, and they might be hard-pressed to keep up with Cincinnati if the Bengals are able to move the ball. Ranking 19th among starting quarterbacks with an 88.4 passer rating, Eli Manning is having his worst season since 2013. Despite putting up big numbers in Week 9, Manning was bailed out by the team’s defense when he threw a late interception against the Eagles.He threw for fewer than 200 yards and no scores in the team’s previous game.
With the NFL’s worst-ranked rushing defense, the Giants will be relying almost exclusively on Manning and the team’s passing game to score. New York hasn’t had a running back surpass 50 yards since Week 4, and they won’t keep winning if they can’t move the ball on the ground.
Cincinnati’s only losses have come against teams that are in first place or have at least six wins, and they could be right back in their divisional race with a road victory at MetLife Stadium.
Prediction: Cincinnati over New York, 24-20