By Steve Silverman
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This is the time for calm if you are a Giants fan and you are thinking that your team has a good chance to repeat its celebration with the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Yes, the Giants were beaten yesterday by the Pittsburgh Steelers at MetLife Stadium. Yes, the Steelers were the better team, especially in the fourth quarter. Yes, Eli Manning had a bad game and is in a slump.
But the NFL presents the Giants with a chance to play 16 games. Losing a tough game at home in the first week of November is just one loss, and there is time to get better.
That’s just what the Giants are going to have to do, because the schedule will start to test them after their bye in Week 11.
They should have an opportunity to get well against the Bengals on Sunday, and then Tom Coughlin can go to work to prepare the Giants for the home stretch. A home game against the Packers follows the bye week, and that game will provide a significant test.
There are several issues that have to be addressed besides quarterback, but Manning has got to get a little bit more protection from his offensive line. It seemed that that unit was not up to keeping the Steelers’ rush off of him in the fourth quarter.
The Bengals are not likely to come after him with that kind of pass rush — they didn’t sack big brother Peyton Manning once in their loss to the Broncos — so this should be the perfect game for Eli to come back to form.
The Bengals are not terrible when it comes to defending the pass, but they are not elite, either. They give up an average of 240.4 yards per game through the air, ranking 18th in the league. That means that Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks should find a lot more room than they did going up against the Pittsburgh secondary.
The running game was not effective against the Steelers, and that’s to be expected. The Steelers are tough, nasty and consistent up front, and they take it personally when an opponent tries to gash them on the ground.
The Bengals don’t usually put up that kind of resistance. While they defend the interior run very well with Geno Atkins and Domata Peko in the middle of the line, the perimeter is another story. They are not as fast as they need to be. That’s good news for Ahmad Bradshaw and speedy David Wilson.
So this is the kind of game that could allow the Giants to put good offensive numbers on the board. But that will not mean that everything is good and they will be ready to make another run.
That will be determined by the work they do during the bye week, and their test will come against Green Bay in Week 12.
After that game, Giants fans should have a pretty good idea if back-to-back championships are a possibility or just an out-of-reach dream.
After two consecutive shaky performances, what is your level of concern, Giants fans? Sound off with your thoughts and comments below…