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Welker ready for "playoff-type" game


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -** Typically, difficult tasks become less daunting with time.

On Sunday, Wes Welker will return to* *Foxborough for the second time to face his former team, the Patriots, in his former home stadium.

"[I'm] probably a little more comfortable with it, probably," Welker said about playing in Gillette Stadium this year compared to last season. "Just so excited about the opportunity and a big game like this."

But Welker, an 11-year veteran, said he has been part of the game long enough to know the importance of execution and focusing on the task at hand rather than the outside distractions.

See Peyton Manning break down the huddle and Kansas teammates Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib prepare for the Patriots.

Sunday's goal: move to 7-1.

As someone who has been on both sides of the Broncos-Patriots rivalry, he knows the effect this game can have on home field advantage in the playoffs. Although, the past two seasons, the Broncos have lost to the Patriots in the regular season on the road, but earned home field advantage despite the loss.

Though Welker considers it to still be early in the season, he said it's important to treat this game as a "playoff-type" game. He said players get more excited for this game because of the rivalry between these two AFC teams.

"I think everybody understands what's at stake and what we need to do to go out there and do our jobs and play well," Welker said. "If you don't against a team like this and they're playing at home, it's going to be tough."

The Patriots have come out on top of the AFC East the past five seasons and 11 of the past 13 seasons. The Broncos are seeking their fourth consecutive AFC West title. Both teams are riding league-high four game winning streaks.

Like most seasons, the two are top AFC contenders and they both currently sit on top of their respective divisions.

The Patriots are currently riding the longest home game winning streak in the NFL and Welker said there are many factors that contribute to why the Patriots are so dominant at home.

"They do a great job of coaching the weather, how to play in it, what works, what doesn't work, how you play that team that's coming in and elements like that," Welker said. "There's a lot of stuff that goes into it and obviously their crowd is very into it, a very hostile environment and everything else and it's definitely a tough place to play and a place that you have to play your best to win."

Both his current and former quarterback sang his praises during to the media on Wednesday.

"First off, on the field, I like the way Wes Welker works at football," Peyton Manning said. "He loves it. [He's] another football junkie, gym rat, whatever you want to call it that loves football, loves to work. You can't tell him, 'Hey, that's enough, we're going to stop.' He wants to do one more, one more, one more. And then I really enjoyed his friendship. I've known Wes from just playing against him and playing in a couple [Pro Bowl] games with him but he keeps things loose in the cafeteria and in the meal room."

Though there's always attention on players returning to their old teams, Welker said he doesn't want that to be a factor in how Manning and the offense try to attack the Patriots defense.

"I just want him to go play his game and whoever's open is open and whenever we need to score touchdowns, that's the way I want it to be," Welker said. "I'm not going to put any pressure on him or anything else, [saying], 'Hey I really need the ball because I'm playing my old team' or anything like that. I just want to go out there and whatever we need to do to win the game, that's first and foremost for me.

"Hopefully I make some plays along the way but however that happens is how it happens."

"Nobody's done it better than Wes over the years," Tom Brady said. "He's—really playing with [him] the first time in 2007, he's an incredible talent, his work ethic. Football is so important to him. He's got more mental and physical toughness than almost anybody I have ever been around. He's everything you look for and—it's always hard to see one of your best friends on one of your rivals but that's just the way it goes in the NFL. He's done a great job with that game plan obviously they figured out a way to use him."

While Brady and Welker remain friends and text frequently to check in on each other's families, this week was an exception.

"This isn't really a friend week, this week," Welker said when asked if he and his former teammate communicated this week.

"So I don't think so."

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