Sunday Morning Coming Down: A Win Today Would Go a Long Way

John Fennelly , Lead Writer

This week’s game is crucial to the Giants (I know, every game is crucial) because with a win, they can put some distance between themselves and the loser of the Cowboys-Eagles game. They would remain 2 1/2 games in front of the winner and hold a 3 1/2 game lead on the loser with seven games remaining.

Beating the Bengals, however, won’t be easy. It’s certainly doable, but nothing is ever easy in this league and the Giants always seem to make things tough on themselves. Cincinnati is on a 4-game losing streak, but they’ve been competitive. Three of those losses came at home, too, so the 12th man might not have much starch left at this point.

They lost to Miami by 4, led the Browns after three quarters, were tied with Pittsburgh in the fourth quarter and went blow-for-blow with Brother Peyton last week. They will give the Giants a game today, you can bank on that. The effort will be there.

Who are these Bengals?

WR AJ Green has been warned to duck by Giants’ safety Antrel Rolle to “duck” this week after Green commented that the Giants’ defense has “a lot of holes.” Not sure if Rolle has ever seen young Mr. Green up close. He’s 6’4′, 210 with great speed and athleticism. In other words, a young Randy Moss. Rolle and the Giants’ secondary will have their hands full with him.

MLB Rey Maualuga is just starting to  come into his own. The former USC star, who played on teams with Keith Rivers, Terrell Thomas, Brian Cushing  and Clay Matthews has 65 tackles this season in the first eight games.

QB Andy Dalton is a very capable QB with numbers that put him in the top 15 in every category. He has eight completions over 40 yards, but the one stat that troubles you are the 11 INTs. He can get careless at times. He can beat you, too, especially with Green and Jermaine Gresham, who is becoming the weapon they had hoped at TE.

DT Geno Atkins, a 2010 4th-round selection out of Georgia, is turning out to be a solid pro int he middle of the Cincinnati d-line. He has seven sacks so far this season.

What I’ll be watching….

Today is Victor Cruz’ 26th birthday. Perhaps he’ll have a big day. Cincinnati gives up an average of 27 points per game and @TeamVic likes to salsa, as we know. Eli has not thrown a TD in three weeks. Today, that streak should end.

TE Martellus Bennett has get more involved. What’s the problem? They don’t “trust” him. Time to get to past that and start getting him the ball.

The matchup to watch will be the Giants’ RBs vs the Bengals’ run defense, which is allowing 117 yards per game. Two words here: Andre Brown. When are the Giants going to turn him loose? Bradshaw doesn’t have that burst down-in and down-out like he used to. As for David Wilson, he will have to wait. Brown is the guy that the Giants need to give the ball to at this point in time. Do it.

Rookie WR Rueben Randle needs to turn the corner. With Hakeem Nicks playing at 50% capacity, they need Randle to start producing. Eventually, he will, but the Giants need that eventuality to happen soon.

GEICO SportsNite has reaction from Tom Coughlin, Eli Manning and Victor Cruz as the Giants look to fix their offense against the Bengals.