Walter Pierce

Belichick heaps praise on Black and Gold

by Walter Pierce

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is making sure his team’s upcoming opponent has nothing to post on the cork board, at least not from the coach. In an interview Monday with The Boston Globe, Belichick tells the newspaper, “I don’t think there’s any better team in football than the New Orleans Saints.” The Saints and the Patriots square off Nov. 30 for a highly anticipated Monday Night Football game.

Widely considered a genius among his peers for his masterful game-planning against opposing quarterbacks, Belichick tells The Globe he’s most impressed by the Saints balance: “They have no weaknesses that I can see,” he says.

Aside from fighting to shore up their lock on the AFC East, the Patriots have another reason to play lights out in the Superdome Monday: to knock off one of the league’s two remaining unbeaten teams. They had their first chance Nov. 15 against the 9-0 Indianapolis Colts, falling in a 35-34 heartbreaker that turned on a much-talked-about and criticized (until Les Miles’ clock management Saturday in Oxford, Miss.) Patriots 4th-and-2 call at the end of the game.The Pats are the only team to record a perfect regular season since the NFL went to a 16-game regular season, pulling it off in 2007 (and losing to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl), and they no doubt would like to protect that legacy. The Saints brought NFC South division rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the wood shed on Sunday, administering a 38-7 spanking. The Colts, meanwhile, remained undefeated with a 17-15 nail biter Sunday over the Baltimore Ravens.

Praising the Saints' opportunistic defense, which has a league-best 29 take-aways (nine returned for touchdowns), Belichick served up a characteristic deadpan answer for how to beat the Saints: “Try not to let them score when we have the ball.” (emphasis ours)