Anaylsis: Coming off their first loss in five weeks, you would think those surrounding the New York Giants would be very confident and satisfied where they are at sitting at 6-3 and 2.5 games up in the NFC East. Well, that's the great thing about New York, one loss and the Giants are the same team of recent years that has struggled in November and has had to rely on heroics and heartbreak in December to determine their season.
This team is different. This team has balance and leadership at every position on both sides of the ball. The Giants have not played the way they are used to for three straight weeks now and they are 2-1 in that time with a loss against the Steelers in a game which they lead 20-10 in the 4th quarter. I bet most NFL fans would take that from their team. Not in New York, not when you are the reigning Super Bowl Champions and have all the ingredients to make another postseason run.
I am not one of those who are counting out the Bengals just yet. They are 3-5 in a weak AFC where nine teams are either 5-3, 4-4 or 3-5. They are reeling however and have lost four straight and have not been good at home this season. A win over the Giants gets them right back into the Wild Card discussion in the AFC. Andy Dalton has not been his rookie self, but has he been that bad of a sophomore? I don't think Dalton has played too terrible this year considering the expections the team had coming into the season. He and AJ Green have taken the reigns from Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson as the most exciting young QB to WR duo in the league. Green has terrorized defenses this year and has already called out the Giants defense, saying they have holes he is going to exploit.
Although they do have holes, they also have walls. The Giants have improved on the defensive side of the ball each week, and their line is no where near where it can be. Will Hill is back from a suspension and Stevie Brown is playing like an All Pro in the secondary. Corey Webster has the biggest task of the day trying to slow down Green, but look for the Giants to get a ton of pressure on Dalton with a less than par offensive line of the Bengals.
Prediction: Eli Manning will be just fine. He hasn't been himself since the Redskins game, and was off at times during Washington as well. He is finally getting a healthy Hakeem Nicks in stride and Victor Cruz is as good as any receiver in the league at making big plays. The key to the Giants offense has been their ability to run the ball. This year, when they have had Ahmad Bradshaw running wild, they have won big. When he struggles, they struggle. Look for more short passes to Cruz and more work from Andre Brown and David Wilson in the backfield this week as the Giants look to switch things up on offense. The Bengals will struggle slowing down a revamped Giants offense, one that is not satisfied with the way they have been playing. Andy Dalton will play well and get the ball into AJ Green's hands, but he will also get knocked down a bunch and rattled by games end.
Giants 31 Bengals 20