The New York Giants look to continue their win streak Monday night as they face off against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals come off of their bye week looking to eradicate their tie to the Washington Redskins two weeks ago. Do the Giants have what it takes to take down the cats at MetLife Stadium? Our insiders, Scott Thompson and Justin Witmondt, debate on the hot topics heading into the matchup and who will come out victorious.
Question 1: Do the Giants figure out their run game against the Bengals this week?
JW: The New York Giants have not had a 50-yard rusher since week 3. Jay Ajayi has rushed for 523 yards over the past three weeks whereas the entire Giants roster has rushed for 541 yards over the entire season. No, the Giants will not see anything change against the Bengals, as far as rushing the ball goes. They will have to continue to rely on the defense and passing game. The Bengals rank 23rd in the NFL in stopping the run, so the Giants aren’t looking at too tough of a challenge. However, until the offensive line improves the run blocking and the running backs show some form of potential, the Giants aren’t likely to receive anything on the ground.
ST: The Giants ground game as been the definition of atrocious sitting last in the NFL in that category. Head coach Ben McAdoo continues to try new options and new schemes, but it doesn’t help that the offensive line is bad at run blocking. However, last week against the Eagles, fans saw rookie RB Paul Perkins getting a few more touches than normal. On 11 carries, he rushed for 32 yards. Though, this is no eye popper off the stat sheet, Perkins showed off his craftiness to get around tacklers and make them miss. Coach McAdoo realizes the playmaking ability of this young rookie, which is why I see the running game being efficient this week with Perkins getting some more touches than last week.
Question 2: Can the Giants’ defense keep up their level of play they have had all season?
JW: It isn’t a secret that the Giants defense is among one of the best defenses in the NFL. Yet, it is such an overshadowed unit due to the misconception that the Giants just aren’t a good team defensively. This misconception stems from the laughable matter that the Giants’ 2015 defense was a historically bad unit. However, after making some key additions in the offseason, this talent that the defense has is beginning to show. It should be expected for the secondary to continue its extremely high level of play. Janoris Jenkins is up for the task of covering AJ Green while Landon Collins will continue to play a huge presence in the backfield, reading the eyes of Andy Dalton and hopefully coming away with more interceptions. The defensive line has been improving week by week. This trend should continue with the Bengals offensive line ranking 29th in the NFL in sacks allowed. All in all, the Bengals’ offense is 21st in the league in points scored, making this a favorable matchup for the Giants defense.
ST: The Giants defense has mightily improved from last season, and they continue to show it week by week. They truly are playing as a unit from the defensive line front all the way back to safety play. The secondary has been tremendous with Landon Collins having an even better sophomore campaign than his rookie year last season. He has been coming up with big plays in the last two weeks and should be on the prowl for more. CB Janoris Jenkins has been the silent assassin as he doesn’t make the big plays because he is rarely thrown to. When he is, he continues to tip passes and disrupt the play of the best receiver on the other side of the ball. All the cogs are in place for defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, and with the Bengals being 29th in sacks allowed this year, be ready for his blitz packages that have been working out well in the recent weeks.
Question 3: Who takes this Monday night matchup at MetLife?
JW: With the Bengals offering both mediocre offensive and defensive units, this is a game that the Giants should win.The Bengals have averaged 0.8 more points per game than the Giants this season. On the other hand, the Giants have allowed 3.1 less points per game than the Bengals have. This game won’t be decided until the very end, but I expect the Giants to come out on top. I may be going out on a limb here by going this far into my prediction, but I see the Giants driving down the field at the end of the game and Robby Gould kicking the game winning field goal right through the uprights. Score: Giants 27 Bengals 25
ST: The Bengals have not been playing up to their usual caliber all season, and with the Giants in front of their home fans, they should take advantage of that. The Bengals secondary has allowed 16 TD passes this season, which ranks them 22nd in the league. Giants QB Eli Manning has been improving week by week and it definitely showed last week against the Eagles where he had four TDs. The Giants should continue showing off their stellar passing game, and should take advantage early. The Giants have been on a roll of late, and as they get better game-by-game, the Bengals should be worried on the road Score: Giants 31 Bengals 21