Patriots-Jets matchup of the day: Thursday

Posted Dec. 02, 2010 @ 8:57 p.m.
Posted By Kevin Fishbain

Here's a matchup to watch in the Week 13 game between the Patriots and Jets:

Patriots WRs Wes Welker and Deion Branch vs. Jets CBs Antonio Cromartie and Darrelle Revis

During the Patriots' current three-game winning streak that has featured a prolific offense, Welker and Branch have combined for 38 catches for 491 yards and five touchdowns. Who needs Randy Moss?

Last time these two teams met, it was Moss whom Tom Brady relied upon and it cost him as Cromartie came away with an interception. Now the offense is back to the short, quick hitters that allow receivers to run for yards after the catch.

Welker and Branch will face two of the top corners in the league. Revis injured his hamstring while covering Moss in Week Two but is healthy again. His injury allowed Cromartie to emerge as one of the league's top corners with three picks and 15 passes defensed.

The Patriots' offense struggled when their receivers were jammed at the line and stopped immediately after the catch. Cromartie and Revis are good enough cover corners to give Welker and Branch fits, and that will force Brady to look elsewhere or for the Patriots to focus more on the run game, which won't be easy against the Jets' fourth-ranked rushing defense.

Both veteran receivers have hit their stride with Brady of late, with great timing on their routes, but the Jets' corners will present a big challenge on Monday night.