Wes Welker is on pace for 160 catches, 2,464 yards, and 20 touchdowns. Frequently guys get off to ridiculous early starts. New England's offense is really good, but Welker is unlikely to keep up that torrid pace. It should give you an indication of how hot he is entering this game, though.
Welker is getting over one third of Tom Brady's passing attempts. He got under a quarter of them last year. It is not like Brady is forcing him the ball too much as he arguably did at times with Randy Moss. He is a 71% passer in Welker's direction against 66% overall.
Kyle Wilson has been fantastic in the early going in the slot. He has allowed completions, but none has really done damage. Think about third down receptions where there is a tackle short of the sticks. This week is a different challenge, though. Usually the slot receiver he meets is the third best receiver on the team. There are few teams like the Pats where the slot guy is such an integral part of the passing attack.
Wilson's work with Darrelle Revis over the summer seems to have paid off. He has really been a lockdown defender. He will probably see a bunch of action against Welker as the Jets gave their nickel last year, Drew Coleman. I expect Wilson to get a lot of help, though, mixing zone coverages in the middle of the field to provide support. Wilson's emergence this year will give the Jets more chances to stick him outside and move Darrelle Revis inside on Welker in some key spots. I think a healthy mix of Wilson, Revis and loaded zones to try and throw Brady off help equip the Jets with about as good of a chance as a team can have to slow down the incredibly productive receiver. Just mixing looks forces Brady to take an extra second or two to identify what is happening and can make a big difference.
A guy as good at running option routes close to the line is going to get his catches. It is about reducing his numbers and limiting the damage when he gets his grabs as much as anything.
For some reason, Rich Cimini seems to think Donald Strickland is the best on Welker with the only rationale seemingly being Strickland is older than Wilson. I disagree. Wilson has been great (better than Strickland), and changing things constantly is what has worked for the Jets against New England. When they have been successful recently, they have not given away tendencies to give Brady a head start going into a play. They have also avoided setting up big mismatches like putting the fourth best corner on the other team's best receiver. Needless to say, I am anxious to hear Fake Rich Cimini's opinion on the matter.