New York Giants: Predicting Victor Cruz's 2012 Season Statistics
After leading the Giants in receiving last season and helping New York achieve their second Super Bowl in five seasons, one is only left to wonder the possibilities of what the 2012 season brings for Cruz.
He's had a productive 11 months, setting Giants' receiving records, winning Super Bowl XLVI and even releasing his own biography.
After such a meteoric 2011 campaign, the expectations for Cruz have only risen.
Will he rise to the occasion, or fall victim to the sophomore slump?
It wasn't too long ago that I released my predictions on how the Giants' rookies would fare this season, and now I'm delving into Cruz.
Last season, Cruz finished with an incredible 82 receptions, 1,536 yards and nine touchdowns, and what's most impressive is that Cruz played in all 16 games for the G-Men, putting his durability on display during the grueling 2011 season.
New York's offense will look a little different in 2012, with the departures of Brandon Jacobs, Jake Ballard and Mario Manningham, but those losses don't take away the skill that Cruz possesses, nor does it take away Hakeem Nicks, who will be lining up with Cruz again this season.
Assuming Nicks' injury doesn't force him to miss any of the regular season, the Giants will again sport one of the most dangerous receiving corps, with just Nicks and Cruz alone.
Cruz proved to be an excellent slot receiver, leaving the outsides to Nicks and Manningham, who very well may be replaced by rookie Rueben Randle this season.
Regardless, there are not many opposing defenses in the NFL who have the type of skill and depth necessary to stick both Nicks and Cruz for an entire four quarters, let alone the Giants' other wideouts and tight ends—just ask Rex Ryan and the New York Jets.
Going off what he did last season, it'd be a lot to ask for Cruz to match his numbers from 2011.
Even with a healthy Nicks and another solid wideout—whether it be Randle, Ramses Barden or Domenik Hixon—you have to think his numbers will deflate some.
Defensive coordinators across the NFL have an entire season's worth of tape to dissect his game and plan accordingly.
With that being said, there's also no reason to think that Cruz won't eclipse the 1,000-yard mark again and put up high reception and touchdown totals.
Regardless, one thing's for sure: Cruz doesn't need any motivation heading into the 2012 season, as reported by ESPN New York's Ohm Youngmisuk.
"I don't need a contract to stay motivated. Just the thrill of winning with my team, at home in New York, a place I grew up, that's all the motivation I need to play football. I don't think a contract is something that's gonna motivate me."
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