SERIES HISTORY: 10th regular-season meeting. Bengals lead series, 6-3. Cincinnati won the last meeting 31-13 in 2012. The nine previous meetings are the fewest for the Bengals against any long-established NFL opponent. The only team with fewer games against the Bengals is the Carolina Panthers who faced them five times since the franchise's inception in 1995.
KEYS TO THE GAME:
The Bengals desperately need a victory and visiting a hot Giants team is no easy task. Cincinnati's defense must take advantage of New York injuries on the offensive line and get its pass rush going. The Bengals also need to control the running game and keep Giants QB Eli Manning in less than desirable third-down situations.
The Bengals offense should be firing on all cylinders with tight end Tyler Eifert fully healthy and an improving running game. On the road in a tight game, kicker Mike Nugent needs to move past his recent struggles and help put crucial points on the board.
The Giants Offense will try get its running game going in the right direction, with potentially more runs outside of the tackles. Head coach Ben McAdoo said that despite the low numbers last week (54 yards on 24 carries), he saw signs that the running game was headed in the right direction after the team decided to give rookie Paul Perkins some more carries.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
--Bengals TE Tyler Eifert vs. Giants S Landon Collins and Bengals WR AJ Green vs. Giants CB Janoris Jenkins. Collins' three interceptions are tied for most among NFL safeties. Eifert is fully healthy and coming off a 100-yard effort. Jenkins has been quietly playing lights out as a cover corner, with teams thinking twice about attacking his side of the field much. This week, he'll probably draw the assignment of trying to bottle up Green, who leads the NFL with 59 receptions and whose 896 receiving yards are second behind Julio Jones of the Falcons.
--Bengals DT Geno Atkins vs. Giants LG Brett Jones. Jones is filling in for Justin Pugh, who's out with an MCL sprain. The Bengals' pass rush, which has struggled to get going this season, could take advantage of that matchup.
Bengals DE Wallace Gilberry. He is back in Cincinnati after beginning the season with Detroit, then going on IR before being released last month. He was signed Tuesday to help bolster a struggling defense. During his four seasons in Cincinnati (2012-2015), Gilberry recorded 17.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries (one for a TD).
Bengals RB Jeremy Hill is looking to extend his streak of games with a rushing TD to three. Hill has 244 rushing yards and two TDs in last two games after a slow start to the season for the Bengals' rushing attack.
WR A.J. Green needs 104 yards to join Randy Moss as the only players in NFL history to begin their careers with six straight 1,000-yard seasons. Green leads the NFL with 59 receptions and his 112 yards per game are the most in the league.
The Bengals rank 21st in the league in sacks, a telling statistic for one of the NFL's most feared pass rushing teams the past two seasons.
Giants QB Eli Manning passed for 257 yards and four TDs in Week 9 and his 46,428 career yards passing leapfrogged Vinny Testaverde (46,233) for ninth all-time. He is averaging 336 passing yards and two TDs in his past five home games.
Cincinnati -- Out: LB Rey Maualuga (fibula). Questionable: DE Michael Johnson (calf), WR James Wright (hamstring).
New York -- Out: LG Justin Pugh (knee). Questionable: SS Andrew Adams (shoulder), LB Jonathan Casillas (calf), DE Kerry Wynn (concussion). WR Vcitor Cruz (ankle)
According to NFL Network, Cruz will not be active for the Giants' home game at MetLife Stadium.
The 30-year-old Cruz, who was listed as questionable on the injury report, is dealing with a sprained ankle that kept him out of practice Thursday and Friday. He has 25 receptions for 377 yards and a touchdown in eight games this season.
Cruz had been a game-time decision.
"We'll take it day by day," Giants coach Ben McAdoo said Friday of Cruz.
Undrafted rookie wide receiver Roger Lewis likely will see an increased role if Cruz is unable to play.
Giants LB Keenan Robinson. Robinson has quietly become the Giants' best cover linebacker and is one of the reasons opposing tight ends haven't had as much success scoring as they have in the past. This week, Robinson will have his hands full trying to keep Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert under wraps.
This is a matchup between two teams that confound predictions by failing to consistently play up to their potential. The Giants are coming off a decent win and the Bengals were on a bye after a tie vs. Washington in London.
OUR PICK: Giants, 28-21.