Cruz injured his neck against the Philadelphia Eagles two weeks ago when he was body-slammed to the ground. He’s made progressions this week, taking the necessary precautions. Cruz was held out of practice on Wednesday, was limited on Thursday, and finally went through a full practice on Friday.
It will be a major hit for the Giants if Cruz is not 100 percent. In a receiving corps full of wild cards this season, Cruz has been New York’s rock. The four-year wide receiver leads the Giants in receptions with 47 and receiving with 677 yards. He’s also tied for the team lead in touchdown catches with four.
Rueben Randle and Hakeem Nicks have been inconsistent throughout the first half of the year. Randle has shown glimpses of his big-play potential, catching four touchdown passes. However, him and Eli Manning are not on the same page way too often. Meanwhile, Nicks has eclipsed the 100-yard mark in just two games this season and is yet to find the end zone.
There are plenty of reasons the offense has struggled this season, and flaky wide receiver play is one of them. Sure, the offensive line and the running game have been abysmal, but Nicks and Randle must strive to be more consistent. Nicks is simply not getting the separation he used to, and is no longer a safety valve for Manning.
Without a healthy Cruz, the offense will struggle to move the ball down the field. New York settled for five field goals two weeks ago, and just barely pulled out a victory over a battered Eagles team. Luckily for the Giants, Oakland has their own mountain of problems. New York should not have to play their best to beat the Raiders, but they will have to play well.