The New York Giants Need To Forget Balance vs. The Cincinnati Bengals

The New York Giants are on a three-game winning streak and currently sit second in the NFC East. During those three wins, the Giants are averaging just 42.7 yards on the ground. Against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football, the G-Men need to forget balance and just air it out if they want to get the W.

Nov 6, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (91) tackles New York Giants running back Rashad Jennings (23) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants running game this season has been underwhelming to say the least; they rank last in overall yards and second-to-last in yards per attempt. Point the finger at whatever you’d like for that failure: injuries to Rashad Jennings and Shane Vereen, offensive line ineptitude, personnel. However, without an effective ground game, the Giants have still managed to grind out a little winning streak.

While the lack of a running game is troubling, Monday night against the Bengals  is no time to try and force a jump start. According to ESPN’s Matthew Berry, “only one team is allowing more passing yards per play over the last four weeks than the Cincinnati Bengals… The Bengals and the Giants defenses are similar, I feel – they both are tough against the run, they both struggle against pass defense.”

The formula for defeating the Bengals is pretty clear: light them up through the air. Luckily, Eli Manning has been pretty effective at home. Despite an uneven season, Manning is averaging over 344 passing yards in four games at MetLife. If those numbers don’t convince you, here’s something that should:

The Bengals are 0-3-1 when an opponent passes for 250 yards or more.

Ignoring the running game isn’t an effective long-term solution if the Giants hope to get to the playoffs. But for one game, Ben McAdoo shouldn’t call running plays just for the sake of balance. If there’s a matchup to exploit, so be it. But there’s no sense in starting each series with a second or third-and-long.

Manning may need to air it out considering the Bengals’ offensive weapons. If the Giants aren’t careful, AJ Green may eclipse the 100-yard mark on Monday; he has 896 yards receiving on the season. Plus, a healthy Tyler Eifert is bound to run roughshod over a defense that has struggled covering tight ends.

So, for one game, the Giants should adopt a pass-first mentality… and do it early. If they go down early, like they have nearly every game this season, they might not get back up.

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