The most exciting matchup of the week isn’t exactly a matchup between two teams, or even two players who will be on the field a the same time. Instead it’s a matchup between two of the most explosive wide receivers in the NFL. These two wide receivers rank in the top 3 in yards, yards per game, and touchdowns, they each have a 95yd+ touchdown catch on the year, and on Sunday their two first-place teams go head-to-head in what should be an epic battle and the game of the week.
In 7 games, Mike Wallace has 36 catches for 730 yards and 5 touchdowns. Wes Welker has reeled in 51 catches for 785 yds and 6 touchdowns in just 6 games.
Mike Wallace is known around the league as one of the fastest men in the NFL. A vertical threat like him hasn’t been seen since the likes of Randy Moss. Not to say he’s on the same level of Randy Moss, but he does pose the same type of threat.
Wes Welker is the crafty veteran who does most of his damage in the slot weaving inside and out of opposing defenses. He’s certainly one of the most elusive players in the NFL. It also doesn’t hurt that he has Tom Brady as his quarterback and Bill Belichick for a coach.
So what’s ahead for Mike Wallace this week? How about the passing defense ranked dead-last in the league. Wallace will line up against a young and unproven secondary who will certainly have problems containing his speed. I expect Belichick to counter with deep safety play, which should help open up the run game for the Steelers, which should in turn open the play-action fake for Wallace. I’ll be surprised if Ben Roethlisberger doesn’t connect with Mike Wallace with at least one 40+ yd connection.
Wes Welker has more of a challenge waiting for him in the Pittsburgh defense. The Steelers have the 2nd-ranked pass defense and the 3rd-ranked defense overall. Also, the game is at the blistering, swirling domicile of the Steelers that is situated between three rivers. Welker and the Patriots certainly seem to have the deck stacked against them, BUT the Patriots are who we think they are (sorry Denny Green) and they have just OWNED the Steelers recently. Welker is such a dynamic receiver, Brady such a resourceful quarterback, and Belichick such a smart coach, they will find a way to do damage to the vaunted Steelers D, as you would expect the NFL‘s number one passing offense to do.
Sunday’s game very well could be decided on which of these two playmakers has the biggest day. Expect Wallace to get big yardage on a few big catches and Welker to get big yards in chunks off of quick slants and outs. This matchup should be packed with big plays and a lot of points.