It may be preseason, but this is still a Cruz and Nicks game

Hakeem Nicks of the New York Giants celebrates

Hakeem Nicks of the New York Giants celebrates after making a 37-yard touchdown catch with time running out in the second quarter against the Green Bay Packers. (Jan. 15, 2012) (Credit: Getty Images)

Bill Belichick famously exhorted his defense late in Super Bowl XLVI with the words: “This is still a Cruz and Nicks game!”

Those words will be just as accurate tonight, even if not for long.

Hakeem Nicks will see his first preseason action against the Patriots, playing with the majority of the starting offense that will take the field for the early stages of the game. That group will include Eli Manning and Victor Cruz, marking the first time all three will be on the field at the same time against an opponent since February.

The list of the inactives for the Giants is as follows, and it includes very few surprises:

20 CB Prince Amukamara (ankle), 24 CB Terrell Thomas (knee), 25 CB Bruce Johnson (shoulder), 36 CB Jayron Hosley (toe), 39 S Tyler Sash (ankle), 44 RB Ahmad Bradshaw (hand), 59 LB Michael Boley (hamstring), 65 OT Will Beatty (back), 72 DE Osi Umenyiora (knee), 73 OT James Brewer (back), 73 DT Shaun Rogers (leg), 76 G Chris Snee (leg), 90 DE Jason Pierre-Paul (back), 91 DE Justin Tuck (shoulder), 94 LB Mathias Kiwanuka (groin), 96 DT Marvin Austin (back), 98 DE Adrian Tracy (hamstring).

Here are your replacement starters:

On offense, David Wilson starts at running back, Sean Locklear starts at left tackle (as he has all preseason) and Mitch Petrus will start at RG for Snee.

On defense, Craig Marshall and Matt Broha get the start at defensive end with Tuck, JPP and Osi sidelined. Jacquian Williams and Keith Rivers start as outside linebackers in place of Kiwi and Boley. And Michael Coe will start at corner for Prince.

A note on a few of the inactives: Tyler Sash won’t play again until October now as he serves his four-game suspension … Bruce Johnson might have been fighting for a roster spot at the thin cornerback position but is out with a shoulder injury … DE Adrian Tracy would have been starting at DE but he’s out with a hamstring injury.

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