Hakeem Nicks: Giants Receivers Sure to Have a Big Day in Star's Absence

Mike Moraitis@@michaelmoraitisAnalyst IOctober 6, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 05:  wide receiver Domenik Hixon #87 of the New York Giants reacts after a catch in the third quarter against the Dallas Cowboys during the 2012 NFL season opener at MetLife Stadium on September 5, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

Hakeem Nicks will miss his third game in a row for the New York Giants in Week 5, but that will open the door for some of the team's other receivers to have a huge game.

The Giants will be facing the 0-4 Cleveland Browns on Sunday in a game that has domination written all over it. Eli Manning should have a relatively easy time moving the ball through the air even without his best receiver.

Cleveland has been horrid defensively, especially against the pass. The Browns rank No. 28 in the NFL against the pass, allowing 286 yards per game.

Let's take a look at the Giants' receivers who are sure to have a big game with Nicks riding the pine.


Victor Cruz

Cruz will be the No. 1 target for Manning on Sunday, but the 25-year-old didn't need Nicks to be out of the lineup to have a huge game.

With Nicks on the field in Week 2 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cruz had 11 catches for 179 yards and one touchdown, while Nicks caught 10 passes for 199 yards and a score.

Clearly, Cruz is capable of having a career day even with Nicks out there, so it's likely that No. 80 will produce major yardage against the Browns with Nicks on the sideline.


Domenik Hixon

Hixon was thought to be a major player for the Giants after Nicks originally went down to injury, but it didn't happen quite like that.

Instead, it was Ramses Barden who scored big in Week 3 against the Panthers. The fourth-year receiver had a career day, making nine catches for 138 yards.

But now that both Nicks and Barden are out this week, that should open the door for Hixon to have a stellar game.

Hixon had been the forgotten man in the passing game, but that ended last week against the Philadelphia Eagles when the 27-year-old caught six passes for 114 yards.

With the Browns focusing on stopping Cruz, Hixon will have room to operate and figures to be Manning's secondary option this week.


Martellus Bennett

Bennett is having a resurgence this season, demonstrating all the talent scouts thought he had upon entering the NFL. The Giants tight end is already approaching career highs in receptions, yards and touchdowns and we are only in Week 5.

With Nicks and Cruz lining up next to him, the chances for Bennett to get a lot of throws are slim. But thanks to Nicks' absence in this game, that will change.

Bennett has yet to break the 100-yard mark this season. The most catches he's had in a single game is six.

But Manning and Bennett have developed great chemistry, so Bennett should be a major player against the Browns.


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