Sep 16, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (88) takes off down the sideline after reception against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half at MetLife Stadium. New York Giants defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 41-34. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

Morning Headlines: Giants - Panthers Injury News, and Matt Forte Returning Sooner than Expected?

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Giants Pro Bowl receiver Hakeem Nicks (foot) has been downgraded to out for tonight’s game against the Panthers. Starting RB Ahmad Bradshaw (neck) has also been ruled out.

 

Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart (toe, ankle) is listed as questionable and is a game-time decision tonight.

 

Bears Head Coach Lovie Smith said that reports that RB Matt Forte’s injury was a high ankle sprain were incorrect, and the Pro-Bowl back is progressing very well.

 

Giants QB Eli Manning is on track to throw for and NFL-record 5,784 yards, as he already has 723 yards passing in two weeks.

 

The Lions are expected to give RB Mikel Leshoure a heavy workload in his NFL regular-season debut this week. He missed all of 2011 with injury, and was suspened to start this year for an offseason arrest.

 

Despite an 0-2 start to their season, the Browns are tied for second in the NFL with eight sacks, lead by MLB D’Qwell Jackson’s three sacks.

 

Texans DE J.J. Watt is the AFC defensive player of the week after he had 1.5 sacks, three quarterback pressures, a fumble recovery, and two deflected passes against the Jaguars this past week.

 

The Ravens are on the wrong end of sack numbers, as they’ve allowed QB Joe Flacco to be sacked five times in their first two games.

 

49ers QB Alex Smith was threatened with a $15,000 fine from the NFL if he continues to wear a San Francisco Giants cap to postgame interviews.

 

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