The New York Giants hit the road this week to face the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday (1 p.m. ET, FOX). Entering the game, the Giants would appear to be in a foul mood.
The Giants (6-3) had a four game winning streak snapped Sunday in a 24-20 loss at home to the Pittsburgh Steelers. In the aftermath of the loss there has been a fair amount of honest assessment by the Giants of their poor play.
Head coach Tom Coughlin called his defense, which allowed third-string running back Isaac Redman to rush for 147 yards, "soft." He said the special teams, which surrendered three returns of 50 yards or more, "awful."
Quarterback Eli Manning said there was "no hiding" the fact that he did not play well in a 10-for-24 performance that was his worst game in several seasons.
All of that said the Giants -- partially because of the incompetence of the teams chasing them -- are in firm control of the NFC East. At 6-3, the giants are the only team above .500 in the division. The Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys are 3-5, and the Washington Redskins are 3-6.
The Giants, though, know they need to play better than they did Sunday against Pittsburgh to avoid the possibility of a second half of the season collapse. The Giants are 13-19 during November in Coughlin's nine seasons as coach.
"We understand what our history has been in November. It's not a good one, and we definitely do not want to repeat it. Simple fact is we've got to play better," said defensive end Justin Tuck.
The Bengals (3-5) have lost four straight after a promising 3-1 start. The Giants are 4.5-point favorites.