2015 DRAFT GUIDE
Hakeem Nicks is the key to the Giants' offense

By TOM CANAVAN - AP Sports Writer
    2012-11-22 11:39

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - While everyone may be looking for Eli Manning to get back on track and right the New York Giants' offense, the solution might be a little farther away from center.

The key may be wide receiver Hakeem Nicks and what he does for the Giants (6-4) against the Green Bay Packers (7-3) on Sunday night.

Nicks has been one of the major big-play components of the offense for the past three seasons, whether it's catching the long ball or turning a short pass into a lot more. Over the past two seasons, he has caught 155 passes for 2,244 yards and 18 touchdowns. The former first-round draft pick added four more TDs in the Super Bowl run.

This year, however, has been frustrating. Nicks broke his foot in minicamp in May and then banged up his knee in a 10-catch, 199-yard-performance against Tampa Bay in the second game of the season. He missed three games and struggled until the Giants' 31-13 loss to Cincinnati in the final game before last week's bye.

Nicks started to show signs he was emerging against the Bengals, catching nine passes for 75 yards- four fewer receptions than he had in the previous four games combined. With an extra week to heal, the fourth-year wideout is close to being 100 percent.

Nicks smiled when asked if the offense would take off when he did.

``We're going to see,'' Nicks said. ``I think I didn't elevate my game, but I think that is going to come.''

Nicks said the injuries prevented him from running past defenders and left him wary about planting and cutting during his routes. The result can be seen in his statistics - 36 catches for 465 yards, a 12.9-yard average, and one touchdown in seven games.

``If he is right, it would help tremendously,'' fullback Henry Hynoski said. ``Hakeem is a dynamic player and everyone knows that. Having to make defenses key on him makes a big difference.''

Many of his teammates said Nicks probably played when other guys would have taken time off.

A healthy Nicks puts defenses in a tough spot. Victor Cruz has drawn more of the double coverages with Nicks hurt, and opposing teams have even loaded the box to stop the run knowing they didn't have to worry about two big-play threats.

``All you have to do is look at what he did last year,'' backup quarterback David Carr said. ``You have Victor, and he is drawing a lot of double teams, but if you have another guy, like Hakeem, that draws the same type of double team, it's kind of hard to stop the run and the other guys that we have. It makes it difficult for defenses.''

The Packers should know something about that. In the NFC semifinal in January, Nicks had seven catches for 165 yards and two of Manning's three touchdowns. His biggest play was a 66-yard TD catch in the first quarter, but he also hauled in a 37-yard Hail Mary surrounded by defenders at the end of the first half in New York's 37-20 win.

``It actually was a great weekend for me. It was a birthday weekend for me, too,'' Nicks said.

Nicks said the pass at the end of half was the first time he had ever caught a heave into the end zone like that.

``It's something we practice, end of half or end of game play,'' Nicks said. ``You know, you run to the landmarks and Eli throws it up and the jump man goes up and makes a catch. I just came down with it.''

That catch would put the Giants ahead by 10 points, and it seemed to deflate the Packers, who enter this week riding a five-game winning streak and tied with Chicago for the NFC North lead.

New York, meanwhile, has lost two straight and holds a tenuous lead over Dallas in the NFC East. But the Giants have had a habit of stepping up when needed.

``I think it just lit the fire that we have within us,'' Nicks said. ``We know it's (the playoffs) close enough within reach and we want to try our best to get that W, and we depend on each other to get it done.''

Coming off a bye, the Giants will have another advantage. They have spent a week self-scouting the offense, and there are bound to be tweaks that might surprise the Packers.

``We seem to play a lot of teams coming back from a bye,'' Green Bay cornerback Tramon Williams said. ``We don't think it'll change that much, but we definitely expect to see unscouted looks.''

---

AP National Writer Nancy Armour in Green Bay, Wis. contributed to this story.

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

LeSean McCoySep 2 01:43p

Updating an earlier report, Buffalo Bills RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring) may not be in great 'football shape' once Week 1 rolls around, according to a source. He's not at [ More ]

LeSean McCoySep 2 12:43p

Buffalo Bills RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring) seems to be in some danger of missing the season opener Sept. 13. 'Well we certainly expect him to be ready to go, [ More ]

EJ ManuelSep 2 11:33a

Buffalo Bills QB EJ Manuel is expected to remain on the team as the backup quarterback. There is growing expectations that QB Matt Cassel will be cut.

Matt CasselSep 2 09:23a

Buffalo Bills QB Matt Cassel could be cut by the team, as they are internally discussing the option.

Joseph RandleSep 2 08:33a

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle could have 10-15 carries per game with RB Darren McFadden slightly below that, in the opinion of beat writer Drew Davison

Travis CoonsSep 1 11:03p

Cleveland Browns PK Travis Coons edged out PK Carey Spear, winning the battle for the placekicking job. 'Yeah, it was close. I thought both guys handled themselves very well, [ More ]

Nick ToonSep 1 07:43p

New Orleans Saints WRs Nick Toon, Lance Lewis and R.J. Harris were released Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Randall CobbSep 1 06:23p

Green Bay Packers WR Randall Cobb (shoulder) thinks his sprained right shoulder will be good to go to play in Week 1 against the Chicago Bears in 12 days. [ More ]

James ButlerSep 1 05:53p

Green Bay Packers WR James Butler and TE Harold Spears were released Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Julius ThomasSep 1 05:23p

Jacksonville Jaguars TE Julius Thomas (finger) will undergo surgery on his injured finger Wednesday, Sept. 2, according to a source. Thomas is expected to miss four to five weeks.

Zac DysertSep 1 05:13p

Free-agent QB Zac Dysert (Broncos) was claimed by the Chicago Bears Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Tom BradySep 1 05:03p

Updating a previous report, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady will know his fate by the end of this week. Judge Richard Berman said he will issue his decision and order by that time.

Matt BlanchardSep 1 04:53p

Green Bay Packers QB Matt Blanchard was released Tuesday, Sept. 1, according to a source.

Juron CrinerSep 1 04:32p

New York Giants RB Akeem Hunt (hamstring) was waived/injured Tuesday, Sept. 1. WRs Juron Criner and Derrick X. Johnson and TE Will Tye were also waived.

Robert HerronSep 1 04:32p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Robert Herron was waived Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Phil TaylorSep 1 04:23p

Cleveland Browns DT Phil Taylor was released Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Junior HemingwaySep 1 04:12p

Kansas City Chiefs WR Junior Hemingway was waived Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Michael HillSep 1 04:12p

Dallas Cowboys RB Michael Hill (undisclosed) was waived/injured Tuesday, Sept. 1. WRs Antwan Goodley and David Porter and TE Brandon Barden were also waived.

Travis KelceSep 1 03:03p

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce (ankle) would be able to play if the Chiefs had a game Tuesday, Sept. 1, according to head coach Andy Reid. Kelce is recovering from an ankle sprain.

Jarrett BoykinSep 1 03:03p

Carolina Panthers WRs Jarrett Boykin and De'Andre Presley were waived Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Jace AmaroSep 1 01:33p

New York Jets TE Jace Amaro (shoulder) will have season-ending shoulder surgery and will be placed on the Reserve/Injured list.

Erik LorigSep 1 12:33p

New Orleans Saints FB Erik Lorig was cut Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Nathan PalmerSep 1 11:53a

Denver Broncos WR Nathan Palmer was waived Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Devonta FreemanSep 1 11:32a

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman was the most active in practice Monday, Aug. 31, that he was been since a hamstring injury Aug. 6. It's unclear whether he'll play [ More ]

Jarrett BoykinSep 1 10:33a

Carolina Panthers WR Jarrett Boykin was released Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Jalen SaundersSep 1 09:13a

New Orleans Saints WR Jalen Saunders is being traded to the New England Patriots Tuesday, Sept. 1, for a conditional draft pick, according to a league source.

Caleb SturgisAug 31 11:32p

Miami Dolphins PK Caleb Sturgis remains the front runner in his competition with PK Andrew Franks. Sturgis said he did not have a good early camp, 'but I've been hitting the ball better lately.'

K. ThompkinsAug 31 07:52p

Oakland Raiders WR Kenbrell Thompkins was released Monday, Aug. 31, according to a source.

Trent RichardsonAug 31 07:22p

Oakland Raiders RB Trent Richardson was released Monday, Aug. 31, according to a source.

Josh BoyceAug 31 06:42p

New England Patriots WR Josh Boyce and TE Jimmay Mundine were released Monday, Aug. 31.

E.J. GainesAug 31 05:52p

St. Louis Rams CB E.J. Gaines (foot) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Monday, Aug. 31. WR Damian Williams was subsequently released.

Travis KelceAug 31 05:32p

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce (leg) left practice early Monday, Aug. 31, because of a right leg injury. Kelce was able to walk off the field but did not return to practice.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group