The New York Giants have won three straight games. They would be in the playoffs if they started this week. Their victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, with a nail-biting last-minute defensive stand, was the kind that can catapult a team.
Can the 5-3 Giants build on all of that over the second half of their schedule and reach the playoffs for the first time since 2011? We begin to find out Monday night when the Giants host the Cincinnati Bengals at MetLife Stadium.
The Giants opened a 2-point favorites in the betting line.
Here are a few things to know as we begin looking toward the Monday Night Football matchup:
- The Bengals are 3-4-1, but they have made the playoffs in five straight seasons. Granted, they haven’t won a playoff game in any of those five appearances but they won’t be a pushover for the Giants.
- The Giants have not won four straight games since 2013, when the defeated the Minnesota Vikings, Eagles, Oakland Raiders and Green Bay Packers after getting off to an 0-6 start.
- The Giants are 6-3 all-time against Cincinnati. The two teams have not played since 2012, a game won by the Bengals, 31-13, in Cincinnati.
- Wide receiver Victor Cruz said Tuesday he is “optimistic” about playing Monday after leaving Sunday’s game against the Eagles with an ankle injury.
- Giants’ cornerback Leon Hall spent the first nine seasons of his career with the Bengals. Offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse played for Cincinnati in 2014, and reserve quarterback Josh Johnson was with the Bengals last season.
- Jackrabbit vs. A.J.? Cincinnati wide receiver A.J. Green has a league-leading 59 receptions and is second in receiving yards with 896. Will Janoris Jenkins draw the assignment of following Green on Monday night?
- The Giants will induct Tom Coughlin, Ernie Accorsi and Justin Tuck into their Ring of Honor during a halftime ceremony on Monday. (Conference calls: Coughlin | Tuck Accorsi)