Hakeem Nicks’ resurgence sparks Giants offense

For weeks, Hakeem Nicks was a face on a milk carton — nowhere to be found.

Giants Nation was overly impressed with how fast Nicks recovered from his off-season foot injury, then raised an eyebrow when after Week 2 he aggravated it and added a knee injury to the mix.

Nicks had been playing consistently since Oct. 14 vs. San Francisco, but prior to Sunday’s victory over Green Bay, surpassed 5 catches and 75 yards just once.

On Sunday, Nicks scored his second touchdown of the season, his first since the Giants’ Week 2 win vs. Tampa Bay. More importantly, however, he gave Eli Manning another option in the stuttering game when defenses game-planned to shadow Victor Cruz.

“From an energy standpoint, you can just feel when he’s out there. There’s a different energy”,” Cruz said. “When he’s talking to us, you know he’s out there on the field and it’s good to have him back…These last couple weeks have been positive even though they weren’t wins.”

The Washington Redskins defense has been stellar against the run, but is ranked 31st of 32 NFL teams. The ‘Skins allow opponents more than 301 yards through the air per game.

Despite the triumphant victory on Thanksgiving against Dallas, what went unnoticed was that Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo still mustered 441 yards and three touchdowns.

Opposing teams attempt to throw the ball 67 percent of the time vs. Washington’s defense, largely because the secondary is susceptible to allowing the big play. The unit has allowed nine plays of 40 or more yards, which is tied for third-most in the league.

Manning, however, is more focused on the 14 turnovers the defense has forced. He suggested ball control would be critical Monday night.

“We need to protect the football,” he said. “They do a good job on defense at getting turnovers. They do a good job at getting pressure so we have to protect the ball offensively and be patient. Hopefully we’ll have the right calls at the right times and hit some big plays.”

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