With Sunday just two days away, let’s take a look at the game that has the ability to make or break the rest of the season for the Cincinnati Bengals. The Giants are traveling to Paul Brown Stadium for week 10 action that pits them against Cincinnati. Both teams have struggled, as of late, and are hoping to be victorious. New York is taking the field with a record of 6-3 and leading their division. On the other end of the spectrum, Cincinnati is entering the game 3-5 and third place in the AFC North.
The Giants struggles have come on the heels of an Eli Manning slump. While, Manning has never been consistent as a quarterback, he started the season strong after winning a Super Bowl at the end of last year. However, he seems to be faltering lately. Manning started the season leading the league in plays of 20+ yards, but has only been able to produce four of those plays in the last four games. The team only managed 182 total yards of offense last week against the Steelers and Manning has only thrown one touchdown in his last three games, but has thrown four interceptions.
The Giants have also been sluggish in their run game at the midway point of the season. They are averaging just 78.3 rushing yards in the last three games. This is compared to an average of 150 rushing yards in their first five games.
On the other hand the Bengals are also struggling. Unlike the Giants, their struggles have been a team effort. Cincinnati has lost their last four games after starting the season 3-1 and has not won at home since their opener against the Browns. In the last four games, the team has managed to blow fourth quarter leads or ties in three of those games.
The Bengals quarterback has been struggling with turnovers all season and will be looking to put that to rest on Sunday. He has also been struggling with staying upright. Dalton was sacked five times last week against the Broncos and the Giants are coming in to the game tied for third in the NFL in the sack department with 25 sacks.
Andy Dalton isn’t the only person to blame for the Bengals struggles either. The defense has yet to be dominant on the field this season. The defensive unit of the Bengals is allowing an average of 357 yards per game; 240 passing and 117 rushing. They are currently ranked 19th against the pass and 17th against the run.
Both teams will need to step up this week in order to get the win for their respective cities. If Eli Manning digs himself out of the hole that he is in, the Bengals could be in trouble. Cincinnati’s backfield has had issues keeping up and making plays to stop receivers. However, if Dalton can keep the ball in his team’s hands, the Giants will leave Cincinnati with back to back losses. The offense has kept up with their opponents in their four losing efforts. A turn-over free game from the quarterback could turn things around for the stripes. If not, Cincinnati can all but kiss their back to back playoff hopes goodbye.
An interesting note to share; Cincinnati has faced off against the Giants eight times in the history of the franchises. Of those eight games, Cincinnati leads the regular season series 5-3, with the home team always taking the win. The last time these two faced off was 2008 and Cincinnati won 23-22.