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Friday, November 9, 2012
W2W4: Giants at Bengals

By Ohm Youngmisuk



One more game until the much-needed bye week.

Will the Giants be able to get their struggling offense going again or will they stumble against an AFC North opponent for the second straight week?

Here are five things to watch for on Sunday:

Get offensive: The Giants’ offensive struggles were on full display in Pittsburgh, where Eli Manning completed just one of five passes for a yard and was sacked twice in the fourth quarter as the Giants went three-and-out in their final three possessions against the Steelers.

Manning has to return to being the two-time Super Bowl MVP that he is. Manning has just one passing touchdown in his last 14 quarters. That has to change in order for the Giants to win on the road.

Cruz control: Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks have to get back to being the playmaking duo that they are. The Giants have to get Cruz going, especially on the shorter intermediate routes which should help with their woeful third-down conversion rate. In the last two games, the Giants are only 5-of-25 on third downs.

“Get the ball underneath and try to make some guys miss and gain some additional yardage after that,” Cruz said of what should help spark the offense. “Which is what I like to do anyway.”

A healthier Nicks will make a big difference. He likely will need the bye week to get closer to full strength.

No Green: The Giants have to find a way to stop Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green.

The 6-foot-4 Green has caught at least one touchdown in seven straight games and has five or more catches in all but one game this season. He said in an interview with WFAN that he feels like the Giants “got a lot of holes in their defense.”

Antrel Rolle responded by saying he will do his talking with his pads and that Green “better duck” when he is around the Giants safety.

Rattle Andy: Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton has been picked off once every 25.9 pass attempts this season, the third-worst rate in the NFL this season according to ESPN Stats and Info.

The Giants defense has intercepted a pass once every 18.4 attempts, the best rate in the NFL. Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora will have to pressure Dalton into making mistakes.

W.I.N. in Cincinnati: The Giants are 0-5 all-time in Cincinnati. According to ESPN Stats and Info, that streak is tied for their 4th-longest road losing streak against any single opponent in the Super Bowl era. The last time the Giants lost six straight on the road to one team? It was 1991 to 1996 when the Giants lost six in a row at Dallas.

Bottom line -- the Giants can really put themselves in great position with a win. As Tuck says, there’s a big difference between going into the bye week at 7-3 than 6-4. At 7-3, the Giants would only need to win three of their remaining six games to reach 10 wins.

Considering that the rest of the NFC East has three wins each entering this Sunday, the Eagles, Cowboys and Redskins will have to win seven more games the rest of the season to reach 10 wins. That might be enough to win the division. After all, the Giants won the division last year with just nine victories.