Week 10 presents an intriguing matchup between the New York Giants and Cincinnati Bengals, as one team will attempt to continue its march towards the postseason, while the other will try to save what once looked like a promising year for the franchise.
The Bengals, who stormed out of the gates to a 3-1 record, have struggled mightily as of late, dropping their last four games, and head into today's game at Paul Brown Stadium in dire need of a win to turn their season around.
At the other end of the field, the Giants have built themselves a comfortable lead in the NFC East standings, as the G-men, at 6-3, are the only team in the division above .500 heading into Week 10.
Going into today's game, here are the keys to victory for both teams.
Cincinnati: More Consistent Production On the Ground
Thus far, the Bengals squandered their impressive 3-1 start by failing to get sufficient contributions from their playmakers on offense.
The team's defense hasn't helped, but the Bengals' running attack, which sits 26th in the league heading into Week 10, has forced Andy Dalton to throw the ball more often.
In fact, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, the Bengals' top option in the backfield, has failed to reach 100 yards rushing in a game all season and hasn't even come close since registering 91 yards in the team's season opener against Baltimore.
Looking ahead, if Cincinnati has any chance of keeping up with the Giants' vaunted offense, Green-Ellis has to give the Bengals more, by forcing New York to respect the run game, because otherwise, the Giants' secondary will make things very difficult for Dalton and A.J. Green.
New York: A Bounce-Back Performance from Eli Manning
Last week, Eli Manning wasn't his usual self, as the two-time Super Bowl MVP threw for just 125 yards on 10-of-24 passing.
That wasn't good enough for the G-men, as Tom Coughlin's squad gave up 14 unanswered fourth-quarter points en route to a 24-20 loss.
Now, with the Giants taking on the Bengals and their 19th-ranked pass defense, Manning has to be better, because as we saw last week, Cincinnati struggled against Eli's big brother, Peyton Manning, and the Broncos' big-yardage passes.
Manning is more than good enough to pick apart the Bengals' secondary, but he has to be much more poised in the pocket in order to lead the Giants to a bounce-back win over Cincinnati on Sunday.