As the New York Giants prepare to play the Bengals at 1 p.m. ET today in Cincinnati, here's one reason for Giants fans to feel good and one reason for concern.
Feeling good: Sure, Eli Manning and the Giants' passing game are in a slump. But did you know that three of their last four opponents -- Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Dallas -- rank first, second and fifth, respectively, in pass defense so far this year? Lots of quarterbacks, even the very good ones, would slump against a schedule like that. The only other team the Giants have played in their last four games is Washington, which has a rotten pass defense but always seems to give Manning trouble. Anyway, the Bengals rank 19th in the league in yards per game allowed via the pass, and Manning and the Giants' receivers ought to be able to get on track in this one.
Cause for concern: The flip side of that is that the Giants' defense ranks 26th against the pass and 19th against the run, so the Bengals can also look at this game as an opportunity to do what they want to do on offense. The Giants' defense is relying lately on its ability to force turnovers. They are tied with the Bears for the league lead in interceptions with 17, and their total number of takeaways (26) is second only to Chicago's 28. Cincinnati has turned the ball over 16 times this year, but if the Giants can't force Andy Dalton interceptions, he could pick them apart with superstar second-year receiver A.J. Green deep and little speedster Andrew Hawkins underneath.