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Pats' Wes Welker plays vs. Giants

New England Patriots receiver Wes Welker, who suffered a neck injury last week, played in Sunday's 24-20 loss against the New York Giants.

Welker twisted his neck in last week's 25-17 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Welker appeared to suffer the injury on his last catch of Sunday's loss in Pittsburgh. He was grabbed by Steelers safety Troy Polamalu around the shoulders and in the neck area and taken down with about six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Welker was slow to get up, but remained in the game.

For the Giants, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul was cleared by team doctors to play Sunday.

However, rookie cornerback Prince Amukamara has to wait to make his pro debut, as the team's first-round pick was inactive.

Welker is Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's most reliable target. He leads New England in receptions (57), yards (824) and touchdowns (six). Welker's 57 receptions also lead the NFL.

After his hot start, Welker has noticed defenses approaching him and the Patriots' attack differently in recent weeks. He was held to six receptions for 39 yards Sunday, with Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor often lining up across from him.

"There has been a lot more man coverage, guys getting in your face and grabbing and doing whatever they need to do," he said. "At the same time, you have to understand that and do business as business is being done, and be physical and get open. That's what it comes down to."

Also inactive for the Patriots, in a bit of a surprise move, is running back Kevin Faulk.

James Walker covers the AFC East for ESPN.com. You can follow him on Twitter at espn_afceast. Information from ESPNBoston.com's Mike Rodak and Mike Reiss, and ESPNNewYork.com's Ohm Youngmisuk was used in this report.