When you start to analyze the problems the New York Giants have had offensively the past several weeks, most people would look at the quarterback position first. The quarterback is the leader of the offense, and the offense usually goes as the quarterback.
So it’s safe to say the Giants offense has struggled because QB Eli Manning is struggling. Manning seems to be holding onto the ball a little bit longer, resulting in sacks and forced throws that are being intercepted. The Giants are also getting into third down situations way too many times.
The reason Manning is holding onto the ball longer than usual is because the wide receivers have not been able to separate themselves from press coverage. Before their game against the Cincinnati Bengals, WR Hakeem Nicks has pretty much been a non-factor.
Nicks has suffered foot and leg injuries this season and it seems it is affecting his ability to get off jams from physical corners. Nicks is somewhat of a physical wide receiver himself, so getting off of jams and catching passes in traffic is something he is good at.
Meanwhile, WR Victor Cruz is a finesse receiver. Cruz works the slot very well. However, when matched up against physical corners, Cruz has not been effective. In the past three games, the Giants were faced with physical corners good at press coverage.
Their upcoming opponent, the Green Bay Packers, isn’t really that kind of team. CB Charles Woodson, who converted to safety, used to be that guy. He is injured as is no longer in that position anyway. The Packers will rely on rookie CB Casey Hayward and CB Tramon Williams.
The Packers, as they have done in years past, attempt to make the big plays and create turnovers. This is what the Giants will need to avoid. It remains to be seen whether WR Domenik Hixon will play. He injured his ankle in the loss to the Bengals.
Hixon isn’t really a physical wide receiver either, but he has good hands and makes solid catches with defenders around him. If the Giants wide receivers can’t create separation, they’ll have to catch accurate passes from Manning in traffic.