Excerpt: "There were plenty of things that went wrong in the New York Giants' title defense in 2012.

This week we are taking a look at five issues that kept the Giants from making it back to the playoffs one season after winning it all. We’ve already looked at the pass rush, Corey Webster’s struggles and the Giants’ missing intangibles. Today we explore the impact of Hakeem Nicks' injuries.

The numbers: Nicks finished third on the Giants with 53 receptions, notching 692 yards and three touchdowns. It was the first time in three seasons that Nicks did not have at least 76 receptions, 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns in a season.

The reasons: Nicks’ season got off to a painful start when he fractured the fifth metatarsal in his right foot during the team’s second OTA in late May.

He had surgery and was brought along slowly during training camp. But he missed valuable offseason and training camp reps with Eli Manning.

Nicks didn’t look like himself from the start as he played with pain in his foot and acknowledged it would take awhile for him to regain his old form.

In Week 2, Nicks exploded for 10 receptions for 199 yards and one touchdown, but landed hard on his knee late in the fourth quarter. The Giants opted to rest Nicks with a Thursday night game at Carolina. But despite the week off, Nicks’ knee experienced swelling before the Giants’ Week 4 game at Philadelphia.

Nicks ended up sitting out three straight games –- he said he was initially told he may have needed up to eight weeks of rest -- before returning to action.

Nicks attempted to play through the pain but wasn’t able to practice most of the time, and Manning admitted that negatively affected the offense’s timing.

On top of that, a hobbled Nicks wasn’t able to explode and release the way he normally can." Read more...