FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Wes Welker’s mouth landed him in hot water prior to the New England Patriots’ divisional playoff game against the New York Jets last season.

Whether plotted or improvised, planned or impromptu, the wide receiver’s verbal jabs seemingly directed at Jets Coach Rex Ryan and his reported foot fetish left him sidelined for the Patriots’ first offensive series.

The Jets had the last laugh, though, silencing Welker and the Patriots with a stunning 28-21 victory at Gillette Stadium.

Entering the AFC East rivals’ first meeting of the season Sunday, Welker’s hands are now doing all the talking he needs.

Welker is off to a record-setting pace, leading the league in catches (40) and receiving yards (616) while swiftly blossoming into quarterback Tom Brady’s prized target.

“I think just working together for the past five years now and offseason training of getting together and running routes and knowing each other’s thinking against each and every coverage and different things like that,” Welker said of his sizzling start with Brady, a pairing that has New England atop the league in total offense and passing yards per game.

“At the end of the day, it’s just getting open and him making his reads and putting it where it needs to be. So far it’s worked out pretty well.”

Yet Welker still insists his approach is no different than in the past.

“That’s what the offseason’s for,” he said. “Every time I go out there and train, it was to make sure I’m ready to go on Sundays and make sure I’m ready to outlast my opponent and outwork them and outrun them and do everything I need to do to get open and do well on the football field.”

Teammate Deion Branch sees the same crafty, diligent player he witnessed up close last year and from afar before that.

“This guy works hard in practice, he knows exactly what he’s doing on the field, (Brady) trusts him,” Branch said. “All the things that he’s been doing the years he caught those 100 balls, it’s nothing different.”