The Bengals and Giants are going into battle on Monday Night Football. The stakes are high for both teams. Playoff berths could be on the line.
It’s game day and the scene is set. When the Cincinnati Bengals take the field against the Giants, the stakes will be high. The Monday Night Football matchup will be like an old west poker game. Playoff implications abound for both teams. The primetime showdown serves as the debut of each squad’s second half. Going forward, there’s no room for mistakes. The stretch run is about to begin.
The Giants are flying high. New York is riding a three-game winning streak that ended with a win over the up and coming Philadelphia Eagles. Beating their division rival set up a race for position behind the Dallas Cowboys (8-1). To stay in the postseason hunt, beating the Bengals would be another statement win. Cincinnati is getting healthy on the offensive side and shoring up a stout defense. The Bengals are a common NFC East opponent and that would look good on paper.
Unfortunately, the task of walking over Cincinnati won’t be so easy. The Giants are in the cupcake part of their schedule. After the Bengals, they play two winnable games with the Bears and Browns. Looking past Cincinnati and claiming a 3-0 start to the second half could be a huge mistake. So far, Monday night’s battle is looking like the perfect trap game.
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Monday Night Fever
Cincinnati’s primetime woes are well documented. But, playing the Giants could be what Cincinnati needs. Paul Guenther and Marvin Lewis are spouting different things about the underachieving Bengals’ defense. What’s the common thread? They have to turn things around. There’s no longer a margin for error on the Bengals’ schedule. Winning under the bright lights is a must.
If the Bengals need another incentive to win in primetime, they should look no farther than their schedule. Unlike the Giants, Marvin Lewis and Co. have a wicked lineup. After tangling with the Giants, the Bengals continue their Big Apple Hoedown with the Buffalo Bills. Home cooking hasn’t been tasty for Cincinnati this year (2-1-1). Getting past the Bills may be feasible. But, then there are dates with division rival Baltimore and the Eagles. Winning the Giants matchup is a necessary jump-start for the rest of the season.
The season won’t be over for the MNF loser but it sets up interesting playoff implications. Cincinnati is trying to keep pace in a weak AFC North. Winning three straight against the Giants, Bills, and Ravens could put them in control of the North before dueling with Philadelphia.
It’s not too late to think about winning the AFC North. The Steelers look vulnerable and Baltimore hasn’t performed well against Cincinnati in recent years. But, the scenario for a turnaround has to start now.