NEW YORK (WFAN) – Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks has missed three games this season due to injury, so Victor Cruz has become quarterback Eli Manning’s go-to playmaker.

Just like that, the 25-year-old has taken on the role of a seasoned veteran, and he’s embracing the new leadership role.

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“It’s crazy, it’s kind of a weird dynamic that we have going on right now,” Cruz told WFAN’s Mike Francesa during his weekly spot on Tuesday. “But it feels good to be somebody that the younger guys can kind of look up to and come to for advice whenever they need it. It just so happens that in my third year I have to already switch hats and be the wise veteran to some of the younger guys.”

LISTEN: Victor Cruz talks football with Mike Francesa 

Cruz certainly led by example on the field in the Giants’ 41-27 win over the Browns on Sunday. He didn’t exactly put up a career day in terms of receptions and yardage, but he made the big plays when they counted. The New Jersey native caught five passes for just 50 yards, but found the end zone three times.

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“(Sunday) felt like the Jets game in my rookie season a little bit,” Cruz said. “Just the kind of zone that I was in, and I was just able to catch everything that came my way. (I was) trying to catch everything in the end zone. I was finding the end zone rather easily, and it just felt good to catch the football and do a couple salsa dances in the end zone while I was at it. I was home looking at the highlights and I was like, ‘Man, I really got into the end zone three times!'”

As for the highly-anticipated matchup against the 49ers on Sunday at Candlestick Park?

“(The key is) going out there and being able to match them, because their intensity level is going to be up and the crowd is going to be fired up,” the UMass alum said. “It’s going to be a rematch of the NFC Championship Game, so we just need to survive that first wave because they’re going to be amped up. And then once we settle into the game it’s going to be (about) just being able to flow and execute.”

The G-Men lost to San Francisco by a touchdown in last year’s regular season, but defeated the 49ers in an overtime thriller in the NFC Championship Game to advance to the Super Bowl.

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The legend of Victor Cruz just continues to grow with every game. Sound off with your thoughts and comments below…