Giants – Bengals Preview: Diary of a Giants Fan
After an ugly loss to the Steelers last week, the Giants head on the road to take on the Bengals.
Tale as old as time. Song as old as rhyme. Beauty and the Beast.
I'm not sure I should be admitting that this Disney-classic-tune was running through my head last Sunday, but there I was, humming along and finding it's lyrics such an oddly appropriate parallel to the Giants.
The beauty? Our squad in September and October. The Beast? November. And with one ugly loss to the Steelers, the ghosts of collapses past rose up and embedded themselves in the very forefront of our mind. The only question remains how long we fans will be forced to play the Cogsworth to the Giants' cursed Prince.
Last season, we were well into December before the spell was broken and the beast was banished. If luck is on our side, we'll have to wait no longer than this Sunday to be released.
Playing the role of our ever-eager foe will be the Cincinnati Bengals, most notably the tandem of Andy Dalton and A.J. Green whom have lit up secondaries far better than ours since they came together last year. Surely their advantage will be the one the Bengals look to exploit. Green has already commented to the press that they see holes in the Giant defense, prompting Giants safety Antrel Rolle to puff out his chest and the rest of the football watching world to say, "Well...Yeah." With no one to match Green's impressive combination of size, strength, and speed, the Giant's defensive game plan will likely need to be what it's needed to be for years. Stop the run. Rush the passer. Hang on.
Offensively, the Giants have struggled the past few weeks; last week likely representing the worst game Eli Manning has played in a while. Kevin Gilbride didn't have a great game in his own right, questionable play calls helping to stall drives throughout the afternoon. But really, who did have a good game for the Giant offense last week?
The bottom line is the Giant offense has played poorly for weeks, but wins over the Redskins and Cowboys have covered up the problems. With the loss to the Steelers, however, those issues have been called into specific relief - shone the light of day and given the opportunity to be fixed. And as has been my mantra throughout the season, I believe in Eli Manning. He'll turn it around. They won't make the same mistakes. They'll take advantage of a statistically middle-of-the-road Bengal defense.
They have to. This game is too big not to.
With the bye week on the horizon, this team cannot afford a second November loss - one that would officially resurrect the form of the beast and hang it over the team for two weeks in which they could do nothing to fight it. Already questions have begun to swirl. Is another collapse looming? Does this team have the mental makeup to play with a lead?
For this week, I'll say yes. A stay of execution perhaps, with the Packers waiting in the wings for a week 12 battle, but a stay none the less. The Giants go into Cincinatti and play like they play on the road. 24-20 Giants.
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