|Nicks has 14 catches for 237 yards in two games this season but will be sidelined Sunday. (US Presswire)|
On Friday, Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks was listed as doubtful ahead of Sunday night's matchup with the Eagles. A day later, he officially has been ruled out with what appears to be unanticipated swelling to his knee.
Which means quarterback Eli Manning instead must rely on wideouts Victor Cruz, Domenik Hixon, Ramses Barden and Rueben Randle, and tight end Martellus Bennett. It's not reason enough to feel sorry for the Giants. Manning and the offense had little trouble with the Panthers in Week 3 despite a Nicks-less pass-catching corps. Barden led all receivers with nine receptions for 138 yards and Bennett added six catches for 73 yards.
Then there's running back Andre Brown, the former fourth-round pick whose outta-nowhere performance (20 rushes, 113 yards, 2 TDs) eclipsed that of Barden's. It's not clear if Barden will reprise his role as starter against the Eagles -- coach Tom Coughlin was evasive Friday about the status of the depth chart -- but whether he's on the field for the first snap or comes off the bench, Barden will have a chance to contribute.
The Eagles' defense has been solid through three weeks; the team's biggest concern is the state of the offense. Their 12 turnovers lead the league, and quarterback Michael Vick is just as likely to throw four interceptions as he is three touchdowns.
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