Wes Welker missed his first practice of the regular season on Wednesday, but the Patriots weren't the only team missing one of their key wide receivers from practice.
Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks (hamstring) missed practice for the Giants, according to the team's official website, with what head coach Tom Coughlin referred to as a "day-to-day" injury.
"He tells me he's better and says all the right things," Coughlin said to the New York media. "But he's not going to work today."
According to NFL.com, Nicks intends to play after an MRI on his hamstring came back negative. If the soreness persists, though, his effectiveness could be limited. That would be a welcome break for New England's league-worst pass defense, as Nicks leads the team in receptions (38) and receiving yards (575) while averaging 15.1 yards per reception.
Nicks wasn't the only dynamic playmaker that missed practice on Wednesday, as defensive end Osi Umenyiora (knee/shoulder) also sat out. His absence, however, is much less cause for concern than Nicks'.
"He's not working today, but that's normal," said Coughlin to the New York media. "He normally has Wednesday [off]." The Giants' leader in sacks for the past two years currently ranks second on the team with six.
His presence will be vital for the Giants to slow down the Patriots' offense, which the Jets, Cowboys and Steelers have all been able to do with a heavy pass rush over the past three games, sacking Brady a combined 11 times in that span. His position title may be defensive end, but his job description is to simply rush the passer, regardless of where he is on the field. He is as good up the middle as he is off the edge.
That has caused problems for the Patriots in the past, and could again on Sunday if Umenyiora suits up as expected.
Other Giants who missed practice are offensive tackle Stacy Andrews (back), center David Baas (Knee), running back Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) and wide receiver Mario Manningham (undisclosed illness).
Cornerback Prince Amukamara (foot), fullback Henry Hynoski (neck) and defensive end Justin Tuck (groin/neck) were limited.