With training camp and four preseason contests in the books, the New Orleans Saints will open the NFL season under the NFL's brightest spotlight. The Super Bowl XLIV Champions New Orleans Saints will travel to Lambeau Field to face the Green Bay Packers, who captured Super Bowl XLV. The contest will be nationally televised on NBC with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.
"To open the season in a primetime game against last year's Super Bowl winner, and it happens to be in Lambeau Field, there are a lot of things that gets your competitive juices flowing," said Head Coach Sean Payton. "It will be a tough environment. It'll be a really good challenge and you have to take into account you're playing a team that won the Super Bowl last year. All of those are things that we'll feel and we'll see and recognize as being a big challenge."
The Saints will be kicking off the NFL season for the third time in the last five seasons. It marks the first time since 2007, when they opened the league's season at Indianapolis that they will start the season away from the Louisiana Superdome.
The Saints have been able to get off to fast starts in their season openers under head coach Sean Payton, posting a 4-1 mark, while not losing to open a season since 2007. The Saints have won three consecutive season openers for the first time in club history.
Thursday night's matchup will mark a meeting between the two most successful franchises in the NFC since the 2006 season. In addition to the Saints and Packers being the last two Super Bowl champions, Saints head coach Sean Payton and Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy, both call plays for the only two clubs to finish in the top 10 offensively each of the last five seasons. Since both coaches have been hired in 2006, Payton has posted a 53-33 overall record, while McCarthy, who coordinated the New Orleans offense from 2000-04, has a 53-34 mark.
Both clubs have also featured aggressive attacking defenses since the hiring of Gregg Williams and Dom Capers as coordinators in 2009. New Orleans finished the 2010 season ranked fourth overall defensively, while the Packers were just one spot behind the Saints at fifth.
GAMEDAY AT A GLANCE
DATE: Thursday, Sept. 8
TIME: 7:30 (CT)
SITE: Lambeau Field
*Thursday evening's matchup will be the first time since 2007 that the Saints have opened the season on the road, when they played in the NFL's kickoff contest at the Indianapolis Colts.
*The Saints have won a club-best three consecutive openers.
*The Packers lead the all-time series 14-7.
*The Saints have a 1-2 record at Lambeau Field.
*New Orleans has also played seven contests against the Packers at Milwaukee's County Stadium.
*Thursday night's contest will be nationally televised on NBC (WDSU-6 in the New Orleans area) with Al Michaels handling play-byplay, Cris Collinsworth serving as color analyst and Michele Tafoya as the sideline reporter.
*The game can be heard throughout the Gulf Coast on the New Orleans Saints Radio Network (870 AM or 105.3 FM serve as the flagship stations locally in the New Orleans area) with Jim Henderson handling play-by-play duties, former Saints fullback Hokie Gajan serving as color analyst and Kristian Garic providing reports from the Saints sidelines.
*A Spanish language broadcast is available on WFNO 830 AM with Victor Quinones handling play-by-play duties and Marco Garcia serving as the color analyst.