The Birds open the season in New England on Sunday afternoon against Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots. Darth can cut the sleeves off his sweatshirts until he’s blue in the face, but Belichick is nothing without Tom Brady and he knows it.

Nick Sirianni, however? Showing football deference.

“Obviously just honored to be able to coach against him on Sunday,” the Birds head coach said on Tuesday. “Just have the utmost respect for him and everything that he’s done for this game and in this game. I’ve always been fascinated about Coach Belichick and his style of coaching and why he’s been so successful. I think about Brian Daboll and the elevation that my coaching career took after being around him (in Kansas City). I know Coach Daboll always talked about where he learned it was from Coach Belichick. Just have so much respect for him and always fascinated by everything that he does. A ton of success year after year after year. And so, of course, I’ve studied him and different things with his success.”

Yeah that’s nice and all, but the Pats won eight games last season and have Mac Jones under center. New England is throwing a Tom Brady ceremony to open the season, but unless Jones osmotically absorbs some of Tom’s DNA on site, you’re likely going to see a continuation of the guy who finished with an 84.8 QB rating in 2022.

Plus, the Eagles have the SECRET WEAPON in Matt Patricia.

“You try to turn over every stone you possibly can looking for answers and different things,” Sirianni explained. “Like I said, anybody that’s been around Coach Belichick, you’re always asking questions about, whether it’s scheme or whether it’s coaching philosophies. I’ve always been fascinated by him and his coaching tree. So, again, like I said, Brian Daboll, big mentor to me. And then just how big of a help Coach Patricia has been to me as well, just with general coaching philosophies and also scheme-wise. Of course, you’re going to look for every advantage you can get, and that’s what we’re doing this week.”

The Birds are currently a four point road favorite this weekend, sitting at -195 on the moneyline. It’s a spread that opened at -3.5 and moved a half point in the Eagles’ favor.

Knowing Belichick, he’ll have spent all summer concocting some game plan to slow down Jalen Hurts, which means we’re probably in for a first-quarter slugfest. Should be ugly, yeah? But the Birds will pull through with superior talent once they get settled and situated.

“I’m always fascinated by people who are consistent, and that’s what his career has been is this unbelievable consistency of success,” said Sirianni of Belichick.” And so that’s what I’m always fascinated about. And so what you ask questions about is the process, daily operations, all those different things. Look, every time you watch his defense play, you see the fundamentals on display. You see the smart situations on display, the situational football intelligence on display. I guess a lot of those things have inspired me to say, ‘hey, what’s important to winning football games?’ Well, football IQ and fundamentals. I think one thing is, like, hey, the core values are a direct reflection of great coaches and teams I’ve studied in the past, and he’s obviously at the top of that list.”

Here’s exclusive video of Belichick getting his team ready for the Eagles: