New York Giants: Can G-Men Count on Hakeem Nicks Again in 2012?

Doug RushSenior Analyst IOctober 8, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 16:  Hakeem Nicks #88 of the New York Giants tries to break the tackle of Aqib Talib #25 of 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

On Sunday, the Giants were able to beat the Browns 41-27 at MetLife Stadium.

They were without the services of Hakeem Nicks for the third straight week as Nicks has been battling a nagging knee injury.

The last time Nicks was on the field was back in Week 2 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he had 10 catches for 199 yards and a touchdown in one of the best performances of his career.

Yet the Giants star receiver has missed games against the Panthers, Eagles and Browns.

The Giants next game will be against the San Francisco 49ers, and the availability for Nicks has yet to be determined.

With Nicks out, receivers like Rueben Randle, Domenik Hixon and Ramses Barden have all gotten their chances to step up and have big games in the past three weeks for the Giants.

Some people have wondered whether or not Nicks can be depended on for the Giants going forward, especially in 2012.

Let's now pose that question; can the Giants count on Nicks and depend on him?

Even with the injuries, I say yes.

Why? Because when he is on the field, Nicks is a game-changer for the Giants offense.

He doesn't just make the offense better, but he also makes Victor Cruz that much better of a receiver on the field by not allowing defenses to prepare for either of them.

When you try to double-team Cruz, Nicks can beat any corner one-on-one. And on the flip side, when defenders try to double up on Nicks, Cruz can simple torch defenders with his ability.

During the 2011 playoffs, we all saw just how great Nicks can be with his big-play ability.

And then there was the game in Week 2 against the Buccaneers, where he tore up Tampa's secondary and looked unstoppable on the field.

Nicks has had to deal with injuries in his career, missing two games in 2009, three games in 2010, one in 2011, plus three so far in 2012.

But if the Giants want to have any kind of success, they need Nicks on the field.

Even though his injury has allowed Randle, Hixon and Barden to step up their games, Nicks is still a crucial part of the Giants offense.

Eventually, Nicks' knee should get better and he should get back onto the field. The swelling in his knee has gone down and he rode a stationary bike in practice this past week, which means there's a decent chance that he could be playing against the 49ers.

If Nicks gets back on the field, it truly does show that the Giants can count on him in 2012.