There's enough inside info in Sunday's Bengals game against the Super Bowl champions to stamp it Top Secret at 1 p.m. at Paul Brown Stadium:
» Bengals cornerback Terence Newman played Giants quarterback Eli Manning twice a year for the past eight seasons while he was in Dallas and intercepted him four times.
» Manning spent part of his day off Tuesday talking to brother Peyton, 48 hours after Peyton carved up the Bengals on 14 fourth-quarter points for his NFL-record 48th comeback victory.
» Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer has faced Eli Manning in seven games for three different teams and in their last meeting in 2008 Manning had to go into OT for his ninth of 23 career fourth-quarter or overtime comebacks.
» The newest Bengal, practice squad center
"This is the first day (of preparation), so we’ll have a chance to talk throughout the week," Newman said before Wednesday's practice. "I’ll just tell what my perception is of the receivers and of Eli and the whole scheme. Throughout the course of the week, a little bit of what I know will be able to help a little bit. And obviously Zim knows him pretty well, too."
Zimmer has had his moments against Manning. While with the Cowboys in 2005 he forced Manning into a 27.9 passer rating and the Giants still won. The next year Manning zipped out a 107.4 rating against Zimmer and got beat. Overall, Manning is 5-2 against Zimmer's defenses with a 121.2 rating on 11 TDs and seven interceptions, but he's completed just 57.5 percent of his passes and averaged less than seven yards per throw.
"Their offense hasn’t changed much. The players have changed, but their offense hasn’t changed much. The guy calling the plays is still the same," Zimmer said of offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride. "That’s what they’re saying about me, too.
"(Eli) is much more of a veteran presence. He knows all of the protections and he handles the offense, he handles the two-minute (drill). When he was young, he was just trying to figure out what plays were what. He’s won two Super Bowls now, too ... their offense is completely different (than Denver's). Peyton had shots, too, but these guys are more throw it vertically."
With his two interceptions against Peyton last Sunday, Newman and Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall are tied for the NFL lead with a combined six interceptions against the Mannings. But Newman thinks whatever the Giants showed last week, the Bengals won't see it.
"How you go out and practice is key," Newman said. "If you have a good week of practice, you get confidence. I think that’s the overall factor. The fact that you understand schemes and concepts and what not, that’s huge as well. But having knowledge against a team, having faced them prior, I don’t think that really matters. Because obviously teams do different things week in and week out and study what you do and try to attack your weaknesses. So I don’t think it’s a big deal."
The Mannings are five years apart, but the youngest at 31, Eli, Newman says, isn't that different.
"They’re a lot the same. Obviously Peyton is going to do more directing at the line of scrimmage," Newman said. "But Eli’s got a lot of the same qualities as far as reading coverages, getting the balls in the same places. Complete different schemes, though. Denver will use more of a timing, quick pattern, whereas these guys will take shots down the field more."
Newman is going to be a big help talking to his fellow corners as they discuss Giants receivers Victor Cruz, a big powerful guy who has become a beast in the slot in his second season with seven touchdowns, and Hakeem Nicks, averaging 14.4 yards per catch.
"(Manning) is a guy that’s going to give his receivers a chance, so sometimes you’re in the right place at the right time," Newman said. "(Cruz) is a very shifty, quick guy. Knows how to use his quickness and set guys up and get separation. So he’s going to be a definite challenge for us. (Nicks) is kind of like A.J. (Green), he can go up and get it no matter where it’s at. That’s a different type of challenge. He’s not a guy that’s just going to run straight past you. He’s a guy who works hard and can go up and get the football."
Newman has been in the middle of those Is-Eli-Elite debates and he doesn't want to hear it.
"He’s like any great quarterback. You’ve got Peyton, you’ve got Tom Brady, you’ve got Drew Brees. Those guys study the game," Newman said. "They know how to get the ball out. They’re not just going to drop back and say ‘Hey, I’m going to go to this guy.’ They know where to put the football, and when to deliver it. He’s got all those qualities.
"I think a lot of elite quarterbacks are chasing Super Bowls, and he has two. So I don’t know if he’s chasing that. Any time you win a Super Bowl you’re doing something right. If I call recall, he’s been Super Bowl MVP twice. That speaks volumes and it speaks for itself."
Manning is going to be wary of Newman even though Newman says he can't remember any of his picks against him but the last one. And that's only because he tore a rib cartilage and his abdomen making it in the first game ever at Jerry World in 2009 when the Giants opened the Cowboys' new stadium.
“We’ve had a lot of battles against each other and faced each other a number of times," Manning said of Newman in Wednesday' s conference call with the Cincinnati media. "He’s a good player, he’s made plays. Obviously he played real well last week and had a couple of interceptions, had some other good pass breakups and defended some plays. Even some of the completions were tight coverage. He’s a guy who prepares and studies, reads concepts and does a good job of being aggressive if he thinks he knows the route.”
Peyton told Eli all about that no doubt because he threw Newman his 33rd and 34th career interceptions last Sunday, and it looked like Newman was the intended receiver on both of them. The Bengals are just one of eight common opponents for the brothers this season.
"You can definitely get some personnel stuff on a lot of corners and stuff, if there's anything you saw in your preparation for a certain guy," Eli said. "It's a little unique because we both play the same division. They're playing the AFC North and NFC South, which we play also. So there's eight games right there. I don't think we've ever had that same combination before. Up to this point, we haven't played a lot of the same teams. Pittsburgh. Sometimes if it's been a few weeks or early in the week, you might have some notes or little things, it might be little tips here or there. But it's still a matter of me doing my own preparation and us going out there and having great execution that's going to make the difference."
Eli says he likes the idea of picking the brain of a fellow QB so fresh from the same opponent.
"Sometimes it's nice to have a quarterback to talk to who just played the game and some of their ideas and some of their tips and preparations," Eli said. "So we have a little bit different styles of offense, but there always might be a tip or two that you might have eventually found but coming in, you can look for certain things. So definitely talked a little bit. And then they're playing Carolina, who we've already played, so I'm trying to give some thoughts from mine as well."
He's not going to divulge any of Peyton's tips and his brother didn't really didn't tell him what he thought of the Bengals but just went right to the scheme.
"What I see is they're very talented up front, they're big up front, they do a good job of controlling the run. And a talented secondary - you've got first-rounders all over the secondary," Eli said. "And they do a good job of getting to the quarterback and getting sacks and causing problems. Always when you get pressure on the quarterback and have quality secondary players that usually leads to a good combination. So we need to make sure we do a good job of blocking things up and the receivers are very sound in their technique."
Wedige arrived just in time Wednesday. He's been on the street since the Giants cut him Sept. 17.
"Hopefully what I do know helps them out with some of the calls they make and all that kind of stuff; just give them a little insight," Wedige said. "They’re just a freakish D-line from (Jason Pierre-Paul), who is long and lanky, to Justin Tuck being extremely quick and extremely strong, and Osi (Umenyiora) is the quickest man ever. They just roll deep. Up front they have some big, strong cats who they’ll stick in there for the run. They’re extremely talented."
The Giants signed Wedige because of injuries and that's why they cut him, too, when they re-signed their sixth-round pick, tackle Matt McCants.
"I hope to show the team that I can stay here for longer than a week and a half," he said. "Every place I’ve been there’s always been injuries at other positions and I’ve been kind of the odd man out. But I hope to show them that I’m meant to be here and hopefully I can make an impact on this team in a couple of weeks."
He could make one this week and not even play.