With the Bengals coming off a week of rest after a rough 3-4-1 start to the 2016 NFL season, they are now preparing to take on the New York Giants and, hopefully, start the second half of the season off on a positive note. Surprisingly enough, the Bengals are still in a decent position to make the playoffs with the division rival Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers both currently sitting at 4-4. The path to the playoffs begins with taking down beatable teams like the 5-3 New York Giants.
Historically, things have gone well for the Bengals when playing the Giants. The two franchises have played each other in the regular season nine times in their histories and the Bengals have won six of those matchups. That said, the Bengals are going to be playing on the Giants’ turf this time around. The Bengals have only played the Giants’ on the road three times throughout their history, but they have lost all three of those meetings. The Bengals have always beaten the Giants at home but always lose on the road, so that trend does not bode well for the Bengals this week.
The Bengals and Giants first played each other on December 3, 1972. It was a close affair in the relatively new Bengals home of Riverfront Stadium that saw Ken Anderson not playing particularly well (17/34, 217 yards, one touchdown, one interception), but looking far better than the Giants’ Norm Snead and Randy Johnson (12/25, 132 yards, one touchdown, three interceptions).
The Bengals’ lone touchdown on the day came on a three yard pass from Anderson to tight end Bruce Coslet, which put the Bengals up by a score of 13-3 in the third quarter. A late Giants surge in the fourth quarter that resulted in a touchdown would prove to not be enough as the Bengals went on to win 13-10.
Over the next two decades, things continued to go well for the Bengals when playing the Giants. The two teams saw each other three more times between 1972 and 1993, every game taking place in Riverfront Stadium. The Bengals won all of them, mostly by close scores save for the one 30-13 beatdown the Bengals handed the Giants in the 1977 season. Unfortunately for the Bengals, we all know how bad things were for the franchise over the course of the next decade, which saw the Bengals lose to the Giants in both of their matchups from 1994-2003. Both of those games were played at the Meadowlands Sports Complex.
The matchups between the Bengals and Giants have been generally the same since the Marvin Lewis era began in 2003. The Bengals hosted the Giants in the relatively new Paul Brown Stadium in 2004 and while they struggled to maintain a lead, despite jumping out to one multiple times throughout the game, they managed to pull one out at the end with a very late touchdown pass from Jon Kitna to Chad Johnson.
The final score of 23-22 wasn’t exactly convincing, but it did provide the Bengals a much needed Week 16 win in 2004 after dropping to 6-8 on the season the previous week. The Bengals had virtually no chance at the playoffs at that point, but gave the Bengals some momentum to finish off the season strong before a very impressive 11-5 season in 2005 that put the Bengals in the playoffs for the first time in over a decade.
The Bengals recorded a close 26-23 loss with the Giants when they met again in 2008, the last game the Bengals would ever play at The Meadowlands, which was replaced with MetLife Stadium two years later. But, the Bengals demolished the Giants by a score of 31-13 in the first (and currently only) game between the franchises of the Dalton-Green era, in 2012.
As the pattern goes, that win for the Bengals took place on their own home turf, so the fact that the Bengals travel to MetLife Stadium this Sunday isn’t encouraging from a historical perspective. However, every loss to the Giants in Bengals’ history has been a close affair, so there is no reason to think the Bengals can’t break the historical trend this year, especially with the Giants’ running game being so ineffective (ranked No. 32 in the NFL).