There are no easy games in the NFL, but this is probably the closest the Giants will get to one all year.
The Cincinnati Bengals are all-but locked in as the worst team on the Giants' 2020 schedule. It's an opponent made even less appealing due to the season-ending ACL injury suffered by rookie quarterback Joe Burrow.
To put it plainly, the Giants have no excuses this week. Nothing less than a win--and a convincing one at that--will vindicate this team's credibility as a contender for the NFC East title.
The most significant position group to watch for the Giants will be the offensive line as it has been all year. The offensive line came into the season as the group most in need of improvement and have literally been a revolving door throughout the season.
That's not to say the unit hasn't played better as of late, but a rotational lineup strategy combined with the recent firing of former offensive line coach Marc Colombo has raised some questions about consistency.
How the group performs coming off its bye week and under new offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo will set the tone for how it finishes the season.
Join in on the discussion below with your fellow Giants fans as led by Giants Country writer Jackson Thompson (@Jacksonbht), who will update you throughout the game.
And don't forget to keep it right here for our complete postgame coverage.
What To Watch For:
- Giants aim for a third consecutive win and 700th regular-season win in franchise history.
- Giants aim for a sixth consecutive game rushing for at least 100 yards.
- Giants look to improve to 72-66-2 vs. the AFC North all-time.
- Quarterback Daniel Jones aims for a fifth consecutive game with at least 20 completions and a third consecutive game with a passer rating of at least 90.0.
- Running back Wayne Gallman Jr. aims for 5th consecutive game with a rushing touchdown. The last time a Giants running back scored a touchdown in 5 straight games in a single season was Andre Brown in 2012.
- Receiver Sterling Shepard aims for 5th consecutive game with at least six receptions.
More from Giants Country
Rookie safety Xavier McKinney is officially active and will make his NFL debut. McKinney, the team's second-round pick this year, was the consensus best safety in the draft and was projected to be a key contributor the Giants' secondary as a starter this year.
A foot injury sustained in training camp has kept McKinney off the field for the first three months, but his return comes at just the right time as he will have the chance to help the Giants make a playoff push.
The combination of McKinney, Jabrill Peppers and Julian Love gives the Giants a three-headed monster in the back end of their secondary and could prove to be a huge boost toward patching up the Giants' pass defense which has struggled at times this season.
Fellow rookie, linebacker Tae Crowder will also make his return. Crowder, this year's Mr. Irrlevant in the draft as the 255th selection, was anything but irrelevant for the Giants when he was on the field earlier in the year.
Crowder proved to be an impact player on defense, racking up 18 tackles and even scoring a game-winning touchdown on a fumble return back in Week 6 against the Washington Football Team to help the Giants clinch their first victory.
Now, six weeks later Crowder returns to the field to help push the Giants on a run he helped ignite.
On the Giants' opening drive, quarterback Daniel Jones hit tight end Evan Engram for a 55-yard reception, Engram's longest of the season and sets up a goal-to-go situation. It takes all four downs, but the Giants' rushing attack is able to punch it in for an opening drive touchdown as running back Wayne Gallman leaps over the line of scrimmage on 4th-and-goal from the one.
Giants lead 7-0.
It is Gallman's fifth touchdown of the season.
The Bengals are able to answer without even getting on the field on offense as defensive back Brandon Wilson takes the kick off return 103 yards for a special teams touchdown.
The game is tied at 7.
It is the first special teams touchdown the Giants have given up all year.
The Giants' offense shows a lack of discipline on the ensuing drive, as a false start penalty on guard Kevin Zeitler on third down backs up the Giants. Jones isn't able to do anything but scramble for a few on the next play, and a holding penalty is called offensive tackle Cameron Fleming.
The Giants are forced to punt the ball away and Bengals backup quarterback Brandon Allen comes onto the field with a chance to lead a go-ahead drive.
A sack by Giants defensive tackle Leonard Williams, his sixth of the season, and good tackle by Safety Jabrill Peppers stalls the Bengals' drive at midfield and outside of field goal range.
There's been a disconnect between Jones and wide receiver Darius Slayton dating back to Week 8 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Jones-to-Slayton connection, which has been the most lethal offensive connection dating back to last year, has been out of sync as of late.
The Giants get their first 4th-down conversion of the game, courtesy of a Daniel Jones sneak. Jones hasn't done his usual damage on the ground today, but he gets a big short-yardage play to keep the Giants' drive alive.
The drive comes to an end however after Engram has a pass knocked out of his hands and it's recovered by Bengals safety Vonn Bell.
The Bengals are able to capitalize on the turnover, as Allen leads a drive into Giants territory and kicker Randy Bullock connects from 44 yards out, giving Cincinnati its first lead of the game.
Bengals lead 10-7.
Jones is able to lead the Giants into Bengals' territory before the half, but pressure from the Bengals' front forces an incomplete pass to Dion Lewis and the Giants have to settle for a 49-yard Graham Gano field goal.
The game is tied at 10.
The Giants certainly haven't looked like NFC East champions in the first half of this game, as they sit in a stalemate with the lowly Bengals.
A number of mistakes by the Giants offense, including penalties by the offensive line and drops by the skill position players have been the biggest killers since the Giants' opening drive touchdown.
The Giants' wounds have been self-inflicted so far, and the Bengals certainly aren't an overpowering opponent that they can't distance themself from in the second half, but it will take some slid cleanup by the coaching staff in the locker room.
Defensively, the Giants have done as was expected against a backup quarterback, but it hasn't made the big plays to swing the tide of the game and establish itself as a top-tier unit in the league.
The Giants are -1 in turnover differential and the defense should will need to make some plays if the offense isn't doing its job, not just in the case of this game, but against future opponents that won't leave the Giants with as much cushion as the Bengals have today.
Quarterback Daniel Jones is on the ground with an apparent hamstring injury and the Giants training staff is on the field tending to him. Jones was limping slightly. Veteran backup Colt McCoy is on the field for the Giants for the first time this year inside the Bengals' red zone.
McCoy's first appearance results in negative yardage and a near interception, but a drop by Bengals linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaither gives the Giants' life and allows Gano to connect from 40 yards out to give the Giants back the lead.
Giants lead 13-10.
Jones tries to come back onto the field, but continues to have hamstring pain and limps back to the sideline. McCoy is back in and has his first completion of the game.
The Jones injury doesn't appear to be too critical as Jones is still able to stay upright and walk around. However, the priority for the Giants should be Jones' long-term wellbeing and they should be in no rush to trot their franchise quarterback onto the field if he is bothered by hamstring issues.
The Giants have confirmed that Jones tweaked his hamstring and is questionable to return.
Defensive end Niko Lalo, who was just elevated from the practice squad today for this game, gets underneath a tipped pass to create the first Giants' turnover of the game. Lalos, an undrafted rookie out of Dartmouth and the Ivy League's sack leader in 2019, comes up with the biggest play of the game for the Giants' defense in their quest for the NFC East lead.
The Giants capitalize somewhat but leave some meat on the bone after the turnover, as they settle for another Gano field goal from 39 yards out to push the lead to six.
Giants lead 16-10.
A forced fumble by Giants' veteran defensive back Logan Ryan helps to all-but clinch a win for the Giants. McCoy once again does just enough to prevent a bad mistake, getting the offense in field goal range. Gano connects from 32 yards out to officially extend the Giants' lead to double digits.
Giants lead 19-10.
The Giants can't bring out the first place NFC East hats and t-shirts yet, as Allen leads the Bengals offense on its first touchdown drive of the game with just about two and a half minutes left.
Giants lead 19-17.
The Giants broke their habit of not finishing games in their recent wins against Washington and the Eagles, and now they will have to do enough to protect a two-point lead without their young franchise quarterback on the field.
The offensive line and Gallman will have a bright spotlight on them over these last few minutes. Otherwise it will all come down to the defense with a very slim margin for error.
Another killer penalty by the offensive line and a special teams breakdown looked like the undoing of the Giants in the final minute, but the defense comes up with a game-winning play on a strip sack of Allen to get the ball back for the Giants.
Giants win 19-17.