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3 things to watch for Monday Night when the Giants face the Bengals

Can New York continue it's momentum under the lights in prime time?
Can the Giants figure out their run game?Getty Images

The chance will be there for the New York Giants on Monday night to not only win a fourth straight game but potentially move to 6-3 on the year, a far cry from early October when the team was a dumpster fire and appeared headed in the wrong direction.

Now, despite injuries to the secondary and some woeful play from the offensive line, the Giants have somehow churned out three straight wins. Against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night, they host a struggling team that has three losses and a tie in their last four games.

Three Things to Watch from the Giants in Week 10:

It’s a rush


After struggling to get to the quarterback let alone get sacks in the first month of the NFL season, the Giants defensive line finally seems to be coming around. What was supposed to be the centerpiece of the defense is getting traction and the Giants recent three-game winning streak is in part due to their front four’s success.

Their pass rush has been coming along nicely the past few weeks.

“These guys have a lot of pride. They would like to be doing a lot better in any game. Every individual position group wants to be the reason why we play great defense and win games and I think they feel the same way,” defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said. “I like the way they are functioning together, chemistry is important, I think that is there right now, I think sometimes that comes with winning, we have been able to do that. But look, there is a fine line, one or two plays in there could have been the other way, we understand that when we win and we certainly see that when we lose.”

Olivier Vernon got one of his two sacks this season in the Week 9 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Even if the Giants still aren’t getting gaudy sack numbers their pressure is leaps and bounds improved since September.

Ground to a halt

Through the first nine weeks of the season, the Giants are dead-last in the league in rushing, averaging an uncharacteristic 68.2 yards per game on the ground. A major issue is the play of the offensive line, which has been putrid this year in opening holes for the backfield.

Last week against the Eagles, the Giants had just 54 yards rushing the ball. But there’s a glimmer of hope as rookie Paul Perkins gets more reps and is showing some flashes of potential.

“I think if you look at just from the second half particularly and we were in that end of game, four-minute mode, if you will. We were able to have some success running when they had a pretty good feeling we were going to run. We had a big run getting the ball on the edge,” offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan said. “So, you see some of those flashes, after having some of the setbacks in the first half. We looked at some various combinations, whether it's having a big offensive lineman at the tight end position, whether it was doing some things formationally.”

Get this one then…

OK, the Bengals won’t be an easy out. Despite their struggles this year they still have playoff-caliber talent on both sides of the ball and one of the game’s better quarterbacks in Andy Dalton. But they are vulnerable and this game is the Giants for the taking if they show up and perform like they have the last few weeks.

Consider their schedule over the next few weeks and suddenly, this team could be on a roll if they get this Monday night win.

Of their next three opponents before they play the NFC East leading Dallas Cowboys, only the 4-4 Pittsburgh Steelers at 4-4 don’t have a losing record. Beat the Bengals and the Giants could be primed for a little run.

If they are at nine or even eight wins come that December game against the Cowboys, the Giants might just be playing for a divisional title.

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