Patriots-Giants matchup of the day: Friday

Posted Nov. 04, 2011 @ 4:42 p.m.
Posted By Kevin Fishbain

Here's a key matchup to watch in the Week Nine game between the Patriots and Giants:

Giants CB Corey Webster vs. Patriots WRs Wes Welker and Deion Branch

Webster is not only the Giants' top corner, but he has emerged as one of the top cover men in the league. He has already fared well against Larry Fitzgerald, Brandon Marshall, Stevie Johnson and Sidney Rice this season.

Webster is strong and his physicality at corner is the exact ingredient to get the Patriots' receivers out of their rhythm with jams at the line. The Steelers' corners did an outstanding job against Welker and Branch, as well as TE Aaron Hernandez. TE Rob Gronkowski was the only receiver that Tom Brady could consistently find.

Webster has nine passes defensed and three picks this season. It's unlikely he would spend all game on Welker, as Webster admitted this week that he has trouble with the "jitterbug" receivers — a small, quick receiver like Welker.

Welker had been on a record pace until being bottled up the past two games. If Webster takes Welker out, Brady will try to target Branch often and attack other members of the Giants' secondary. The Patriots' spread offense is at its best when Brady gets the ball to his receivers in space, but the Steelers' corners kept that from happening. Webster is good enough to take a receiver out of an offensive game plan, so look for Brady to put Welker in motion at times to try and set up favorable matchups.

And if Webster drifts over to cover Branch, you can be sure Brady will then target Welker, who likely will be covered by Aaron Ross in those situations.