Despite the Jets' sluggish start to the season, coming off two straight losses, Wes Welker knows this is a supremely important game, and one the Jets will be ready for.
"Well, I think they're probably going to regroup and come together and understand that this is a huge game for them," the Patriots receiver said on WQAM in Miami, when asked about the Jets' recent struggles headed into this week. "We've got to make sure we bring our A-game, and bring everything we've got as if it was a playoff game."
At 2-2, many have pegged this a must-win for the Jets. This is their first division game, and to fall not just to 2-3, but 0-1 in the AFC East would be a big hurdle to overcome early.
"If they lose three in a row, that's definitely a tough one," said Welker. "So we're going to see their best stuff and they're definitely going to bring it, and we've got to bring that same mentality of understanding that we've got a great opportunity to get a big jump on these guys in the division."
Nonetheless, this is a game that the Patriots can't lose, either. The Patriots would fall to 1-2 in the division, and in the process, could pave the way for the Bills to take the division lead for the second time this season.
Welker has been option Nos. 1, 2 and 3 for Tom Brady, logging 40 receptions, 616 yards and five touchdowns through four games. He's on pace to break every receiving record in the book.
Shutting Welker down should be priority No. 1 for the Jets, because if Welker brings his A-game, he'll be pretty tough to stop. Jets safety Jim Leonhard knows this.
"The guy never stops working and it looks like street ball sometimes the way he just starts running around," Leonhard said on WFAN in New York. "Obviously [Welker and Brady] have a ton of chemistry together and you gotta throw a lot of different looks at him to try to provide some challenges and Darrelle Revis might be one answer for us. You have to do whatever you can to take away a team's best option and right now it's obviously Welker."
If there's one guy that can break his pace, it's Revis. Quarterbacks have just a 3.6 passer rating when throwing at him, according to Pro Football Focus. That being said, the Welker and Brady hook up is just the type that might be able to change those numbers.
As always, it will all depend on which one brings their A-game on Sunday.