For the second straight week, the Cincinnati Bengals (3-5) will host a Manning as the New York Giants (6-3) visit Paul Brown Stadium as both teams try to get back on the winning track.
Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos rallied in the fourth quarter to beat the Bengals last week, and it will be even more difficult to try to knock off Eli Manning and the defending Super Bowl champions.
After a hectic week in New York last week, the Giants blew a double-digit lead against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The offense was unable to come alive against the Pittsburgh defense and get another late comeback from Manning.
Andy Dalton has continued to struggle and is a combined 1-11 in his career against teams that finished above .500 in 2011. He was able to beat the bad teams last year but has not been able to get the job done against inferior competition this season.
This is a matchup of two teams trending in opposite directions. The Giants look ready to get back to the playoffs after winning four out of five games. The Bengals got off to a 3-1 start but dropped two winnable games on their way to four straight losses.
Both teams have put up nearly identical passing numbers and have similar defenses. New York has had the more balanced offense and a more consistent defense. The overall numbers may not show it, but the Giants defense has put together some very impressive performances this season.
This is a must-win game for Cincinnati if the team hopes to get back to the postseason. There is not as much on the line for New York, but a win in this game could put the team in great shape to win the division. The Giants currently have a three-game lead on the Philadelphia Eagles with seven games remaining.
Can the Bengals finally pull off a win against a team above .500?
Let's check out a preview for Sunday's game.
When: Sunday, Nov. 11 at 1 p.m. ET
Where: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio
TV: FOX (check local listings)
Live Stream: NFL Sunday Ticket (with subscription)
Radio: WFAN Fan 660 (Giants), 700 WLW (Cincinnati)
Line (via Bovada.com): New York Giants -4.5
The Giants are entering this matchup as the favorite. They have the more talented roster and are not in a long losing streak,
Cincinnati is currently looking for answers but can't find a way to come out on top right now. The Bengals are only 1-3 at home this season, and they now have the difficult task of facing a Giants team coming off a loss.
Expect the Giants to cover the spread. Their defense will limit Cincinnati's offense, and the offense will be able to get a couple big plays to put up some points.
Over/Under (via Bovada): 48.5
New York is one of the highest-scoring offenses in the NFL, and Cincinnati is in the middle of the pack. However, Cincinnati has failed to scored a lot of points against tough defenses. They have benefited from playing the Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars.
In six wins this season, the Giants have scored at least 26 points per game. The team has been held to 20 points or fewer in its three losses.
The Bengals have been held to 17 points or fewer twice in four weeks and has not scored more than 24 points in over a month.
If the Bengals can involve A.J. Green in the offense, they have a chance to put up some points. If the Giants take shut him down, the Bengals will have trouble finding the end zone.
Injury Report (via ESPN.com at 8 p.m. on 11/8/12)
New York Giants
RB Andre Brown: Shoulder (Probable)
RB Ahmad Bradshaw: Foot (Questionable)
WR Hakeem Nicks: Knee (Questionable)
TE Bear Pascoe: Ankle (Questionable)
DT Chris Canty: Groin (Questionable)
LB Chase Blackburn: Hamstring (Questionable)
DB Kenny Phillips: Knee (Questionable)
LB Keith Rivers: Calf (Questionable)
RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis: Illness (Probable)
CB Terence Newman: Hamstring (Probable)
WR Marvin Jones: Knee (Questionable)
WR Andrew Hawkins: Knee (Probable)
RB Brian Leonard: Ribs (Probable)
New York Giants Defense
On paper, the Giants should have a field day with the Bengals. Dalton's previous struggles with good teams can't be ignored, and it will be even tougher for him if the Giants can limit star receiver A.J. Green. The Steelers held Green to only one catch three weeks ago, so it is possible for a team to take him out of the game. The receivers behind him have yet to be consistent game-changers.
The pass rush will be able to get to Dalton and cause him to make mistakes. Cincinnati is one of the worst teams at protecting the quarterback having given up 22 sacks so far, and New York is near the top of the league with 25 sacks on defense.
Cincinnati gave up five sacks to the Broncos in Week 9.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis has not been a consistent running back this season as the Bengals are near the bottom of the league in rushing yards with only 95.8 yards per game.
Look for Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, Linval Joseph and Osi Umenyiora to control the line of scrimmage and get to the quarterback often.
For those who were worried about what Giants team will show up Sunday, ESPN New York's Matt Ehalt has kept track of a war of words between Green and the Giants defense. There will be plenty of motivation for the defense to keep him quiet during the game.
Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals
Through his first 25 NFL games, Dalton has been average at best. He has not had to win the game by throwing the ball 50 times, and he made good decisions early in his career.
The second-year quarterback has taken a step back this season and is only two interceptions away from his career high.
Green has accounted for nearly a third of Dalton's passing yards and over half of his touchdown passes. If Green is contained by the New York secondary, Dalton will struggle to move the ball.
New York's defensive line will constantly pressure the quarterback and cause him to throw the ball quickly. With the running game struggling and Green-Ellis now dealing with an illness, Dalton will need to have his best game of the season in order for the Bengals to stay in the game.
There is no reason to believe Dalton will turn it around against a team like the Giants, so be cautious if he is on your team. Unless your other quarterback is hurt or just bad, sit Dalton this week.
Hakeem Nicks, WR, New York Giants
Before he got injured, Nicks had his best game of the season in Week 2. He hauled in 10 passes for 199 yards and a touchdown. He has failed to equal that production in four games since returning from injury.
The 24-year-old is ready for another breakout game. With the offense coming off of a disappointing effort against Pittsburgh, look for Nicks to see some passes thrown his way.
Nicks can use his size against Cincinnati's corners to make a difference. Leon Hall and Nate Clements are good but have a difficult task this week. Victor Cruz will receive a lot of attention, which could free up some space for Nicks to get one-on-one coverage.
The wide receiver is dealing with a knee injury, which could limit his production. If he manages to stay on the field, Nicks would be a worth a start at wide receiver for a fantasy team.
Giants tight end Martellus Bennett is also a sleeper this week. With Cruz and Nicks both on the field, Bennett will be able to get open. The Bengals have always struggled to contain tight ends, which makes Bennett a dangerous weapon this weekend.
Dalton's inability to beat good teams will come into play on Sunday. He has yet to beat a quality opponent in his career, and the Giants are an experienced bunch.
Cincinnati will again struggle to run the ball, which will make it even tougher on Dalton. The Giants will find a way to contain Green.
New York will be able to hit some big plays in the passing game and wear down the Bengals defense at the end of the game by running the ball.
The Giants will move to 7-3 to close in on a division title, and the loss will all but eliminate the 3-6 Bengals from playoff contention.
Prediction: New York 31, Cincinnati 13
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