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Thursday, October 18, 2018

Dave Wannstedt: Bill Belichick will ‘take the air out of the football’ in Super Bowl

Former NFL head coach Dave Wannstedt thinks he has an idea of how Bill Belichick might try to beat the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, but he may want to fine-tune the way he describes that game plan.

“I think Belichick is going to take the air out of the football,” Wannstedt told reporters on Thursday, via Bob Glauber of Newsday.

Wannstedt immediately realized that he had just unintentionally cracked a well-timed joke, and he clarified that he was not implying the Patriots plan to take actual air out of the footballs.

“I mean in football terms, he’s going to take the air out of the football, and by that I mean he’s going to try to shorten the game and keep Atlanta off the field as much as possible,” Wannstedt added.

Deflategate jokes aside, I tend to agree. Super Bowl LI is widely expected to be a shootout and has the highest posted Las Vegas total (59.5 as of writing this post) in Super Bowl history. The Falcons have the best offense in the NFL, and the Patriots aren’t far behind. However, Belichick is a defensive-minded coach who is more comfortable controlling the pace of an important game than he is trying to keep up with touchdowns.

Tom Brady is obviously New England’s best asset, but the Falcons are probably more suited for playing fast. Slowing the game down would likely favor the Patriots, so don’t be surprised if this is a big LeGarrette Blount game. As for how Atlanta will approach things, one reporter had the chance to give us all the answers this week, but he ultimately did the right thing.

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