Eli Manning Didn't Flinch After Picks
"If things don't go perfectly, you just have to stay confident, keep fighting through it, stay sound, don't try to press things," Manning said he told Nicks on the sideline.
Nicks, who had scored one of New York's first-half touchdowns, added two more after halftime as the Giants rallied to win 31-18.
"I definitely want to be that guy that (Eli) can depend on," Nicks said.
That might not be the case with Steve Smith (107 catches in 2009) still on hand, Manning and Nicks could depend on their resurgent defense, which allowed an average of 32 points a week during the 3-8 crash that ruined New York's 2009 season. In the second half, the defense shut out the Panthers, who scored 41 points in the finale at Giants Stadium.
"When you turn the ball over four times you don't expect to win many games," Manning said. "Our defense did a great job, especially down in the red zone getting a couple turnovers (interceptions by third safety Deon Grant and cornerback Terrell Thomas) to keep our lead so we could run out the clock.
"They did a great job all day just keeping us in the game where we didn't get down too much and have to get out of our whole offense and have to go to hurry-up, throwing it all the time. That's when you can get in a bind and defenses have an advantage with the pass rush. So, I thought they really helped us out getting turnovers, holding them to field goals early on (until) the offense got in a rhythm in the second quarter, end of the third quarter and played some good football."