It could all be posturing, but it seems like a pretty good bet that -- at some point Sunday -- Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis will defend Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker. Earlier this week, we detailed Welker's targets and catches against Revis over the past three seasons. Today, we take a closer look at the matchup with two plays under the microscope -- one favorable result for each side -- from last year's playoff battle at Gillette Stadium:
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With the Patriots facing a 2nd-and-7 situation late in the first quarter, Welker picks up his only catch of the game against Revis. The key? The Patriots go play-action and Welker sells the run while matched up with Revis in the slot.
When Revis stumbles trying to chase Welker as he breaks for the sideline, it gives Brady enough room to deliver a 10-yard completion. That side of the field is clear because Brandon Tate runs a post route that draws attention from his man and the safety (since Revis is going to be left 1-on-1 most times).
Fast-forward to the second quarter and the Patriots are facing 3rd and 5 at their own 25. Welker draws Revis as an outside receiver to the right of Brady. The Jets blitz corner Drew Coleman off the left side, forcing Brady to react quickly.
Welker twice tries to use Jets players as picks to free himself up, but here's where Revis shows his value even on the inside of the field. He stays with Welker despite the linebacker and defensive end in his way, and there's not enough room for Brady to rush a throw. Coleman registered the sack and the Jets took over with good field position which they parlayed into a touchdown and their first lead of the game.
Revis spent much of this contest on Deion Branch on the outside and the Patriots actually made some plays in front of New York's All-Pro corner. It will be interesting to see how a potential Welker vs. Revis plays out if there are increased 1-on-1 matchups this time around.