Giants vs. Bengals: A first look at Monday night’s matchup

November 8, 2016

Bengals (3-4-1) vs. Giants (5-3) At MetLife Stadium Monday, 8:30 p.m. TV: ESPN, WPIX Early line:Giants by 2.5

The Giants have not won four in a row since the 2013 season. They’ve picked up some momentum with a last stand by the defense each of the past three games. Keeping pace with the NFC East-leading Cowboys (7-1) is a must, but the Giants are also in strong position right now to challenge for a wild card. A win would keep the Bengals in the AFC North race coming out of their bye, while a loss would seriously threaten their run at a sixth straight playoff appearance.

In the spotlight Bengals WR A.J. Green: One of the premier wide receivers in the game, Green is second in yards (896) behind Atlanta’s Julio Jones, first in catches (59) and first in yards per game (112). He has excellent body control and big play ability that will challenge the Giants and top cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Game plan The Giants are playing defense at a high level in crunch time, but they allowed far too many big plays over the top through the air against the Eagles. Getting pressure on Bengals QB Andy Dalton will be paramount to limiting Green downfield. The Giants’ offensive line without LG Justin Pugh (MCL knee sprain) will be challenged on the edge by Carlos Dunlap and the interior by Geno Atkins. Watch for rookie RB Paul Perkins to earn more chances after he took another step forward in the fourth quarter against the Eagles. WR Odell Beckham Jr. has five touchdowns in the past four games.