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Eye On the Bengals: Breaking down the matchup


*'s Michael Eisen scouts the team's Week 10 opponent: *

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants hope history will repeat itself when they host the Cincinnati Bengals Monday night in MetLife Stadium. This will be the teams' 10th meeting since the series began in 1972. The home team has won each of the previous nine, including three by the Giants. They last met on Nov. 11, 2012, a 31-13 Bengals victory in Paul Brown Stadium. The Giants' most recent triumph was the only overtime game in the series, 26-23, on Sept. 21, 2008 in Giants Stadium. The Giants currently have a 3-game winning streak and a 5-3 record. The Bengals are 3-4-1 after their tie with the Washington Redskins in London two weeks ago.

An offense with multiple weapons that has the ability to quickly score a lot points. Cincinnati has a creative scheme that has many different types of threats. The Bengals have gained an average of 395.4 yards a game, the NFL's sixth-highest figure. They can move the ball on the ground (120.3 yards per game, seventh in the league) and through the air (275.1 average, fourth in the NFL). Quarterback Andy Dalton's average of 8.2 yards per attempt is the league's third-highest. He is also a threat to run. Running back Jeremy Hill is averaging 5.0 yards a carry and has scored five touchdowns. Wide receiver A.J. Green leads the NFL with 59 receptions and is second with 896 yards. Tyler Eifert, who missed the first six games with foot and back injuries, is in any conversation of the league's best receiving tight ends. The Bengals' attack is a handful for any defense.

Which player is key to the Bengals' offense?

It has to be Green, who might be the NFL's best receiver. His 59 catches are almost twice as many as any other Bengal (running back Giovanni Bernard has 31) and are 31 more than any other wideout (Brandon LaFell has 28). Green has an unusual ability to be effective at all levels. He can burn a defense deep, catch short passes and turn them into long gains, and run effective intermediate routes. Green has speed, strength, smarts, and strong hands. He's scary good.

A look at the expected starters for the Giants' Week 10 opponent

What is the strength of the Bengals' defense?

The pressure they put on opposing quarterbacks. Cincinnati's defensive line, which features Pro Bowlers in tackle Geno Atkins and end Carlos Dunlap, has accounted for 14 of the team's 16 sacks. The team has been credited with 52 hits on opposing quarterbacks. The linemen have batted down 12 passes at the line of scrimmage, including seven by Dunlap. Only Denver, with 13, has more. That's no surprise, considering the Bengals have four defensive ends who are 6-6 or taller. Seven of the 11 defensive starters have at least eight years of experience, and Atkins and Dunlap are in their seventh seasons. This is a veteran unit that knows how to produce.

Which player is key to the Bengals' defense?

Dunlap is not just the Bengals' finest defender, he is one of the NFL's premier defensive players. The Cincinnati coaches move him around in an attempt to create favorable matchups. Dunlap has 5.0 sacks in his last six games after compiling 13.5 last season, the league's fourth-highest total.

Which player is key to the Bengals' special teams?

The team has shown a lot of faith in rookie wide receiver Alex Erickson, who is the primary punt and kickoff returner. Brandon Tate, who held those jobs last season, was released at the end of training camp. Erickson had a 65-yard return vs. Washington in the Bengals' last game and is averaging 28.0 yards on six runbacks. If he continues to improve, Cincinnati's return game could become an unexpected strength.

Based on the scouting report, the Giants must do this one thing to win:

They must find a way to slow down Cincinnati's explosive, big-play offense. If the Giants can't limit the production of Green, Eifert, Hill and, especially, Dalton, it will be tough to win the game.

Statistics you should know:

  1. Before defeating the Jets here in the season opener, the Bengals had not won a game in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area since a victory over the Jets in Shea Stadium in 1981. They had lost their previous 12 games in this region, nine to the Jets (including one postseason game) and three to the Giants.
  1. Dalton's 24 road wins from 2011-15 were the most ever by a quarterback in his first five seasons. He added No. 25 vs. the Jets, but his current three-game road losing streak is his longest as a pro.
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