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Giants vs. Bengals 2016, Week 10: When Cincinnati has the ball

Can the Giants keep their defensive momentum rolling?

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants might have given up an unseemly 443 total yards to the Philadelphia Eagles, but make no mistake, that was a defensive victory. It was the Giants’ second straight win powered by their defense, after holding the Los Angeles Rams to just 10 points and intercepting Case Keenum four times.

Let’s look at how the Giants’ defense matches up with the Cincinnati offense.

Stats At A Glance

Bengals’ Offense

Rushing Yards - 120.2 (7th)

Passing Yards - 275.1 (4th)

Total Yards - 395.4 (6th)

Points - 20.9 (21st)

Giants’ Defense

Rushing Yards - 93.9 (9th)

Passing Yards - 277.4 (25th)

Total Yards - 371.2 (23rd)

Points - 20.5 (10th)

Sack Andy Dalton

The Giants’ pass rush has struggled to put quarterbacks on the ground most of the year. Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul have generated pressure, but they have largely failed to convert said pressure into sacks.

In fact, it is safety Landon Collins who leads the Giants’ defense in sacks with just three.

However, the pass rush has woken up slightly the last few weeks, notching multiple sacks in each of their last three wins. It’s a trend that the Giants dearly hope will continue, and continue to improve (regardless of what Spags says).

The Bengals have talented players on offense, but part of their apparent offensive struggles come from their inability to keep Andy Dalton upright.

The Bengals’ pass protection has been very not-good this year. Having given up 25 sacks through their first eight games, the Bengals rank 31st in the league for sacks per game (3.1).

The Giants will need to respect the Bengals’ prolific passing game more than that of the Eagles, but attacking Andy Dalton still needs to be on the menu Monday night.

Contain The Three-Headed Monster

The Bengals are talented on offense, and unfortunately for the Giants, they’re talented in ways that they struggle to defend.

A.J. Green is the obvious threat on Cincinnati’s offense. He’s long, fast, has terrific body control, and outstanding hands. The Giants will need to respect Green’s abilities and not dare him to beat them, because he can.

However, it might be tight end Tyler Eifert and running back Gio Bernard who should really worry the Giants.

Eifert has not played well to start the season, but he has been getting healthier and the Bengals are coming off a bye week. Defending athletic tight ends has been the Achilles Heel of the Giants’ defense for years. Keenan Robinson has certainly helped in that regard, but as Zach Ertz showed, they can still struggle against tight ends.

Behind Ertz is running back Gio Bernard. While Bernard has averaged 3.9 yards per carry this season, his ability as a receiver are what really make him dangerous. He is their second leading receiver behind Green (59) with 31 receptions and a touchdown. The Giants’ improved linebacker play, and the play of Landon Collins has definitely helped their defense of running backs out of the backfield. However, having to contend with Green and Eifert as well as Bernard could put a dangerous amount of stress on the defense.

They will need to do their jobs in the film room this week and stay disciplined Monday night.

Don’t Let Them Score Touchdowns

(Yeah, I thought you could use a chuckle)

While the Cincinnati Bengals offense can certainly move the ball down the field (sixth in yards per game), their 21st ranked scoring offense, shows that they have struggled to punch the ball into the endzone.

This actually plays to one of the Giants’ greatest strengths: Their red zone defense. It was on display against the Eagles at the end of their Week 9 match-p, with the defense standing tall despite being put in a horrible position. Per Pat Traina, the Giants’ defense is only allowing opposing offenses to score touchdowns on 39.3 percent of red zone trips. That happens to be the best rate of any defense in the NFL.

With the Giants’ offense struggling to gain traction, the defense will need to force the Bengals to settle for field goals whenever they get in scoring range.

In the immortal words of John Madden (probably) “The team that scores the most points is probably going to win the game!”