The Giants are suddenly looking vulnerable as they head to Cincinnati to face a talented Bengals squad. Eli Manning has struggled in two straight games and the team was flat outmuscled by the Steelers in a loss last week at home.
The Bengals are the last game before the bye, and head coach Tom Coughlin said this week he is just thinking about the team being 7-3 after the first 10 games.
Three things to watch for ...
1. Can Manning get back on track?
Manning has been in a bit of a statistical slump, despite the Giants winning four of their last five games. But since Manning showcased a 101 quarterback rating against the lowly Browns last month, his rating has dropped in each game, culminating in his 41.1 rating against the Steelers. How quickly Manning rebounds from his funk will determine if the Giants can avoid a two-game slide.
2. Dalton also slumping
Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, like Manning, is one of the best passers in the league but has also fallen into a slight slump. Dalton ranks fifth in the AFC and 12th in the league in passer rating (88.7), but has only thrown for one touchdown in each of his last two games and has averaged just 202 yards passing, including a 105-yard performance against the Steelers two weeks ago. Perhaps the Giants’ suspect secondary can be Dalton’s elixir, as they’re ranked 26th in the league and allow 264.4 yards per game.
3. Giants’ rush defense vs. Bengals’ rushing attack
Neither unit has been great this year, especially Big Blue’s run defense, as they’ve allowed 191, 84, 80, 248, 119 and 158 yards in the last six games. The tipping point was when Steelers’ backup running back Isaac Redman torched Big Blue for 147 yards on 26 carries last week. The Bengals hope BenJarvus Green-Ellis can have that same type of success, but if this season is any indication that might not happen. Green-Ellis, a prized free agent from New England this past offseason, has disappointed his new team. He’s only tallied 487 yards and three touchdowns, with a paltry 3.4 yards per carry. Something has to give.
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.