The Falcons opposition: A insider look at Bill Belichick

FLOWERY BRANCH -- Falcons defensive coordinator Dean Pees was on Bill Belichick’s New England staff from 2004-09.

Pees was the linebackers coach from 2004-05 and the defensive coordinator from 2006-09. He was on the staff of the Super Bowl XXXIX team.

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I have a tremendous amount of respect for the man,” Pees said. “I mean, if he’s not the best football coach ever in the NFL, he certainly among the top couple.”

Pees and the Falcons will face Belichick and the Patriots at 8:20 p.m. Thursday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Belichick certainly has won the modern era. He won his sixth Super Bowl with a 13-3 victory over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Belichick can take his place next to George Halas and Curly Lambeau, the only other coaches with six NFL championships.

Vince Lombardi was a five-time winner of NFL championships.

Halas won his six NFL championships in four decades. He won titles with the Chicago Staleys/Bears in 1921, 1933, 1940, 1941, 1946 and 1963. Lambeau won NFL championships in 1929, 1930, 1931, 1936, 1939 and 1944, all with the Packers.

Paul Brown of the Cleveland Browns won seven titles, but four were in the All-American Football Conference.

“The thing that I just told our team, or told the defense at least, is that he can beat you so many different ways. I mean, he can run the ball and he can throw the ball and win a game,” Pees said. “I’ve seen firsthand where we went and they went into games and went empty the whole first quarter and went no huddle.”

With a young quarterback in rookie Mac Jones, Belichick is running the ball this season.

“They have two-back formations that we haven’t seen,” Pees said. “But don’t be surprised because he can come out and throw the ball for the first 10 downs. I’m just telling you, they can change overnight. It’s just been so much continuity there with him, (offensive coordinator) Josh (McDaniels) and (running backs coach) Ivan Fears. They just kind of regroup.”

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Atlanta Falcons schedule and scores

Eagles 32, Falcons 6

Buccaneers 48, Falcons 25

Falcons 17, Giants 14

Washington 34, Falcons 30

Falcons 27, Jets 20

Bye Week

Falcons 30, Dolphins 28

Panthers 19, Falcons 13

Falcons 27, Saints 25

Cowboys 43, Falcons 3

Next four games

Patriots at Falcons, 8:20 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18

Falcons at Jacksonville, 1 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 28

Tampa Bay at Atlanta, 1 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 5

Atlanta at Carolina, 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 12