New England Patriots: former players they will face in 2015

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Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Aqib Talib

In mid-2012, the Patriots were in desperate need of a big, physical cover man. They solved that problem by trading for Talib, sending a fourth-rounder to the Buccaneers in return for the 6-foot-2 cornerback and a seventh-rounder.

The Talib era in New England started with a bang when the former Buccaneer picked off an Andrew Luck pass and returned it 59 yards for a touchdown in his Patriots debut. His value in the Patriots’ secondary was evident when he got injured in the AFC Championship Game that year.

In 2013, Talib had a great season, picking off four passes and racking up 13 passes defended. Again, it was his absence in the AFC Championship Game against the Broncos that showed just how important his role was in the New England secondary.

When Talib exited that game, he ended up leaving the Patriots for good, signing with the Broncos in free agency. Talib has continued to play like a top-10 cornerback, totaling four picks and 18 passes defended for the orange horses last season.

Without a doubt, the Patriots will have to tread with caution when they throw the ball Talib’s way in their Week 12 visit to the Mile High City.

Next: Week 14: Hoyer, Mallet, Wilfork