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Preview: Giants at Bengals
The New York Giants hit the halfway point of the season riding a four-game winning streak and looking every bit capable of defending their Super Bowl crown. Any aura of invincibility, however, was shattered when the Pittsburgh Steelers came to town and erased a 10-point fourth-quarter lead en route to a 24-20 win over New York last week. One loss may not be cause for alarm, even in media-frenzy Gotham, but consecutive listless offensive performances are a legitimate concern for the Giants as they visit the stumbling Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. The Bengals have major problems of their own after blowing a fourth-quarter lead to Denver last week for their fourth consecutive defeat - and third in a row at home.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Giants -4, O/U 48.5
ABOUT THE GIANTS (6-3): Eli Manning saw his streak of 25 consecutive 200-yard passing games end at Dallas on Oct. 28 and he followed that up by throwing for a season-low 125 yards against the Steelers. Manning also has not thrown a touchdown pass in the past two games, something that hasn't happened since the first four weeks of the 2010 season. Hakeem Nicks, who had one catch for 10 yards against Pittsburgh, experienced swelling in his knee Wednesday but insisted he will be ready to play Sunday. New York's running game has also seen a huge dip in production, averaging 78.3 yards in the last three games - just more than half of the team's total through the first five weeks. RB Ahmad Bradshaw has failed to reach 50 yards in two of his last three.
ABOUT THE BENGALS (3-5): Cincinnati has not won since beating league-worst Jacksonville on Sept. 30. One reason is an increasingly one-dimensional offense due to the failures of the running game. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, a free-agent signee in the offseason, has yet to rush for 100 yards and has topped out at 69 yards during the four-game losing streak. Andy Dalton has been airing it out with more regularity, which has resulted in seven interceptions during the skid. Second-year wide receiver A.J. Green has caught a touchdown pass in seven consecutive games and is tied for the league lead with eight. He supplied some bulletin-board material Thursday when he said the Giants have "a lot of holes in their defense."
1. Manning needs two touchdown passes to tie Phil Simms for the franchise record with 199.
2. Dalton has thrown at least 42 passes in three of the last four games. Cincinnati is 0-6 over the past two seasons when he has attempted at least 40 passes.
3. The home team has won all eight meetings in the series.
PREDICTION: Giants 24, Bengals 16
Key Players to Watch
- HamstringOut indefinitely | I-R
Calitro will be on the injured reserve for an extended period due to a hamstring injury.
- ConcussionQues Sun | questionable
Wilson is experiencing concussion-like symptoms, and it is undetermined if he will be active against the Jaguars on Sunday.
- ShoulderQues Sun | questionable
Atkins has sat out the past three games due to a shoulder injury, and it is unclear if he will make his season debut Sunday versus the Jaguars.
- RibsQues Sun | questionable
Alexander is bothered by a rib injury, and it is unknown if he will be available for Sunday's clash with the Jaguars.
- GroinDoub Sun | doubtful
Daniels was held out of the previous game with a groin injury, and it is unlikely that he will suit up Sunday versus the Eagles.
- PersonalProb Sun | probable
Sims has been absent from the lineup during the last two games due to a personal matter, but he is likely to take the field against the Eagles on Sunday.
- CalfQues Sun | questionable
Williams has missed the last two games with a calf injury, and it is unclear if he will be available Sunday against the Eagles.
- AchillesI-R | I-R
Uzomah has hit the injured reserve list a torn right Achilles.
New York Giants
- GroinOut indefinitely | I-R
Williams is on the injured reserve list with a groin injury, and it is unclear when he will return to the fold.
- QuadricepQues Sun | questionable
Colbert has been absent from the previous two games due to an injured quad, and it is uncertain if he will take the field Sunday against the Rams.
- AnkleQues Sun | questionable
Peppers exited the previous game with a low-ankle sprain, and it is unknown if he will play against the Rams on Sunday.
- ToeOut indefinitely | I-R
Shepard has been shifted to the injured reserve list with turf toe, and he is without a definitive timetable for recovery.
- HamstringProb Sun | probable
Coughlin missed the last game due to a hamstring injury, but he is likely to available against the 49ers on Sunday.
- KneeI-R | I-R
Barkley has been moved to the injured reserve list with a torn ACL in his right knee.
- HamstringProb Sun | probable
Tate missed the last game due to a hamstring injury, but he is likely to play Sunday versus the Bears.