Hakeem Nicks: How WR's Absence Will Impact New York Giants

Jeremy FuchsCorrespondent IIISeptember 29, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 16:   Hakeem Nicks #88 of the New York Giants celebrates with  Ramses Barden #13 of the New York Giants against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during a game at MetLife Stadium on September 16, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks is doubtful for Sunday night's game against the Eagles with a swollen left knee. 

While there is a chance he could play, it doesn't seem likely. Victor Cruz all but conceded that fact: [via New York Daily News]

You always want your counterpart in the trenches with you. It’s something that we have to deal with.

You just have to understand we’ve been here before and guys have stepped up.

 Assuming Nicks is out, it's going to cause some big problems for the Giants.

For one, the Eagles cornerbacks will focus all their attention on Victor Cruz. The Panthers were able to do that last week; Cruz had only 42 yards on six catches.

That allowed Ramses Barden to step up and he did just that—he caught nine passes for 138 yards.

But here's the difference—the Eagles defense is much better than the Panthers unit. Barden will be covered by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, one of the better cornerbacks in the league.

The Eagles secondary is simply better than Carolina's. That means that Barden, who has struggled in his career, might not go off like he did last week.

If that's the case, and we think that there's a good chance of that happening, then Nicks' absence will be felt. Nicks is great for a few reasons. One, he's a great player. But perhaps more importantly, he allows other players to shine.

You can't try and shutdown Nicks, because Cruz will go off and have a great game. You can't try and shutdown Cruz, because then Nicks will go off and have a great game. Defenses have to pick their poison and neither option is attractive.

But with Nicks out, and with a good Eagles defense, the Giants don't have that luxury.

The Giants were able to overcome Nicks' absence against Carolina. But it won't fly against the Eagles. It could end up being a long night for the boys in blue.