NFL Monday Night Betting Preview: Cincinnati vs. Bengals

giants-jumboWeek 10 offers up an interesting national match up with the Cincinnati Bengals and New York Giants facing of under the shining lights of Monday Night Football.

New York is doing quite well right now, currently seeded second in the NFC East, but they are just ahead of the Philadelphia Eagles who lost last night, and the Washington Redskins, but like almost everyone they are trailing the almost perfect Dallas Cowboys who are 8-1. Right now, the Giants know they just can’t afford to lose more games, and so tough games against teams like the Bengals won’t allow for any excuses, if New York wants to see the light at the end of the tunnel, then they have to win.

Cincinnati could make that win possible for the Giants because they are 3-4-1 on the year, and are also coming off a weird tie against Washington in their last game. Currently, the Bengals are right behind the Pittsburgh Steelers, and also trailing the division-leaders, Baltimore Ravens. That’s still a division, the AFC North that’s still up for grabs and anyone could win.

When you look at the numbers neither team can really afford to lose tonight’s game, and ahead of them they have a really tough schedule, which showcases mostly divisional rivals. So who will win Monday’s game? It’s really a hard bet to make correctly since there is a lot at stake.

When you look at the Giants situation, they have won three in a row, and have worked hard to dig themselves out what could have been a season-ending hole. Luckily they turned that three-game losing streak around. They are trying to keep up with the others in the NFC East, but more importantly they want to build up wins so they can secure a wild-card spot.

The Bengals’ future is not so rosy. The Giants are Vegas’ favorites for tonight, but the desperation that the Bengals should be playing with is a large factor that could swing the odds in their favor. For the last five straight seasons they’ve made the post-season so they know they need wins to stay in contention.

The key matchups are as follows, Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. vs. Bengals CB Adam Jones: Beckham got two touchdown passes in the win over Philly, he’s the first player now since Hall of Famer Bob Hayes, who in 1967 got 30 receiving TDs in the first 35 games of his career. Jones is a pretty emotional player, and with Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict also playing, Cincinnati will want to be more physical than usual and try to throw Beckham off his game.

The Giants:’ defense is gathering momentum during the winning streak with seven sacks and six interceptions in that three-game stretch. Before that, DC Steve Spagnuolo’s unit had only four sacks and two interceptions in the season’s first five games. The Giants are allowing only 3.6 yards per carry and have allowed opponents to get 100 yards in only three games this season. They’ll be trying to shut down Bengals RBs Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard. S Landon Collins is the only player in the NFL right now to lead his team in tackles (69), sacks (3) and INT (3) across the board, so he’ll be a powerhouse tonight. Collins made some game-changing plays in each of past two wins.

In the four games played at home this year, QB Eli Manning has completed 68.9 percent of his passes for 1,378 yards, 8 TD and 6 INT, and so the Giants are 3-1 on home turf. New York will rely on rookie WR Roger Lewis Jr. to help downplay the absence of Victor Cruz, who will not play because of an ankle injury. The availability of LB and defensive captain Jonathan Casillas is also in questions since he was added to the injury report on Saturday with some calf issues. We won’t know til pre-game warm-ups if hell play.

The Bengals QB Andy Dalton does not have a stellar record, and even worse his pocket has been tight, getting sacked a massive 25 times already. Manning, has only been sacked half that rate, at just 12 times. So it’s pretty obvious that protecting Dalton, and trying to disturb Manning is a simple game philosophy they have to apply, it’s the only recipe for success. The Bengals have the ability to make big plays downfield and they have to maximize that, they’ve made 33 passes for 20 yards or more this season. The Giants gave up a season-high five passes of 25 yards or longer against the Eagles. WR A.J. Green and TE Tyler Eifert will work hard to challenge the Giants, and could cause the game to tilt in the Bengals’ favor tonight.

This is game will probably come down to the wire, and it could go either way. But a red-hot Bengals running attack, combined with offensive contributions in their passing game from Green and Eifert should be enough to get them the win and upset the homers, giving them the road team a much needed victory.

Prediction: Bengals over Giants 28-17