Covering the Broncos Receivers: Wes Welker Edition

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This weekend is one of the biggest games of the season for the Patriots. Their defense will be facing their toughest test remaining on their schedule when the Denver Broncos roll into town with their high powered offense led by Peyton Manning.

This week, Patriots Life will be breaking down how to stop the Broncos top targets, or at least slow them down enough to give the offense a chance to out up more points then the Broncos. Today's topic: Wes Welker. Now, for the most part, the Patriots should be familiar with Welker's style of play, since he spent 6 years with the Patriots. As Bill Belichick well knows, Welker does most of his damage in the middle of the field, which I'm sure Belichick is planning for.<br />

PLAN A: Force Welker outside - The first thing the Pats should try to do is force Welker outside. Normally, Welker runs the short routes over the middle and gets a lot of his yards after the catch, so the idea is to take away that option for Welker and only give him the sidelines to work with. That way, even if he's getting a lot of separation, you force him out right away and limit his yards after the catch.

Wes Welker is one of the best at getting separation from his man, so if you can't force him outside, someone needs to help whoever the Patriots have covering Welker. If Welker does manage to get separation from his defender, than someone will have to help and tackle him right away so the Patriots minimize his impact on the game.

Ideally, the Patriots would want to play man against Welker and have help for him over the middle because you know he'll want to find space in the middle of the field. I would put Devin McCourty or Alfonzo Dennard on him and make sure you have a safety cheating a little towards Welker's side of the field, so you have help if Welker gets separation over the middle. Normally, I would say put Aqib Talib on Welker, but you can't multiply Talib to cover all the Broncos offensive weapons.

Check back for a full break down of Denver's other top targets. We'll be doing more of these in the build up to Sunday's match up.

Twitter - @ConorJF1016