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10 things to watch for against the Bengals



  1. You again?**

> 5 players to watch vs. Bengals
> Beckham Jr. reunites with Jeremy Hill
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> Know Your Opponent: Bengals
> Sights and Sounds: Cincy practices

The Giants and Bengals usually see each other only once every four years, but the two teams with tenured head coaches met in Cincinnati this week for two joint practices leading up to their preseason opener on Friday night at Paul Brown Stadium. Expect to see some familiarity between the two sides after an intense week of work.

"We did some good things and didn't do some other things very well," said Giants coach Tom Coughlin, who held his first joint practice in a decade. "It's lots of people, lots of work, lots of situations to be in. It's been two good days and it gives us a lot of speed work, in addition to the first preseason game, so that's a good thing."

2. Who's playing? Who's not?

While linebacker Jameel McClain, offensive linemen Geoff Schwartz and Will Beatty and defensive backs Nat Berhe and Chykie Brown all did not make the trip to Cincinnati due to injuries, wide receiver Victor Cruz did travel, but he will not play in the first preseason game. Rather, Cruz's return will have to wait even though he was able to take some reps in team periods against the Bengals on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, cornerback Prince Amukamara is working his way through groin issues while wide receiver Rueben Randle deals with knee tendinitis.

3. Eli, starters to play one or two series.

Working their way up to the dress rehearsal in the third preseason game, starters typically last only a few series in the opener, Coughlin confirmed this week. Quarterback Eli Manning's arm has looked as strong as ever in his 12th season, and we'll see how it translates to live action, albeit preseason.

4. The depth chart.

On Monday, the Giants released their first depth chart of the season, and while it is always subject to change, there were a few items of note, including Bennett Jackson and rookie Landon Collins as the top safeties, Daniel Fells as the starting tight end and Robert Ayers Jr. and Kerry Wynn as right and left defensive ends, respectively.

Depending on how Friday goes, there could be changes.

5. The new-look offensive line.

For most of the spring and summer, the Giants have rolled out an offensive line that consists of rookie Ereck Flowers at left tackle, Justin Pugh at left guard, Weston Richburg at center, Geoff Schwartz at right guard and Marshall Newhouse at right tackle.

However, with Schwartz sidelined, expect to see John Jerry in his place as the unit tries to establish consistency.

6. Him again.

For the first time since the 2008 season, Steve Spagnuolo will be back as the Giants' defensive coordinator. The architect of the unit that held the undefeated Patriots to 14 points in a Super Bowl XLII victory for the Giants began his second stint with the team this winter. Seven months later, the defense takes its first live test.

7. The safety dance.

The "wide open" safety competition will hopefully be defined when the Giants kick off the regular season in one month. Leading up to that moment, coaches have been rotating players in and out, tinkering with pretty much every possible combination.

As mentioned before, Collins and Jackson are listed as the starters, but we've seen plenty of Jeromy Miles, Cooper Taylor and Mykkele Thompson back there. Additionally, Jackson also played some nickel corner during the week in Cincinnati.

8. Reunited.

After missing last summer and the first quarter of his storied rookie season, wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is set to make his preseason debut against two of his former LSU teammates and good friends: Bengals running back Jeremy Hill and wide receiver James Wright, who suffered a season-ending knee injury.

"Anytime you get a chance to be on that field—I think the biggest thing I'm looking forward to is hearing that National Anthem and getting on the field again," said Beckham, who admitted he didn't even know what to wear to preseason games. "There's just something about it, it broke me down the first time I got on the field. I don't know what it's going to do this time, but I am looking forward to being able to line up and see 32 [Hill] across the other way, and hopefully get to see him do a little something, and just keep it moving from there."

9. Ladies and gentlemen, the 2015 draft class.

The New York Giants' six-member draft class will take a professional football field for the first time on Friday, trying to become the next group of productive rookies. Be on the lookout for Flowers (No. 76), Collins (21), defensive end Owa Odighizuwa (58), safety Mykkele Thompson (33), wide receiver Geremy Davis (9) and offensive lineman Bobby Hart (68).

10. Started from the bottom.

From Cruz to fellow wide receiver Corey Washington last year, there is always at least one preseason star who seemingly comes out of nowhere to put up big numbers. Who will it be this time? Tune in Friday night to find out.

Players on the Cincinnati Bengals

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