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Gameday Preview: Saints vs. Bears

New Orleans hosts Chicago in their home opener Sunday at noon.


The New Orleans Saints (0-1) host the Chicago Bears (1-0) this Sunday at noon in their 2011 home opener.

The Saints are coming off a dramatic 42-34 loss to the Green Bay Packers in the NFL regular season opener last Thursday in Lambeau Field, where they were one yard and a two-point conversion from sending the defending champions to overtime in a shootout between the Super Bowl XLIV and XLV winners.

‎"We know the Bears are a big challenge for us," said Head Coach Sean Payton. "This is a team that's easy to forget that played in the NFC Championship game a year ago in Chicago. The last two-thirds of the season they played really good football, complementary football both offensively and defensively and in the kicking game."

QB Drew Brees finished completing 32-of-49 passes for 419 yards with three TDs and a 118.6 passer rating. The signal-caller connected with TE Jimmy Graham and WRs Devery Henderson and Robert Meachem on scoring strikes. RB Darren Sproles had an electrifying Saints debut as he collected 250 all-purpose yards on 13 touches (19.2 avg.),including a 72yard punt return for a touchdown. Henderson led Saints receivers with six receptions for 100 yards.

Sunday's game marks the 25th regular season meeting between the Saints and the Bears, and it's Chicago's first appearance in the Louisiana Superdome since October 12, 2003. The all-time series between the two squads stands at 13-11 in Chicago's favor, with the Bears having won the last meeting between the two teams in a December 11, 2008 thriller at Soldier Field where the Bears claimed a 27-24 overtime victory.

The Saints will be the second straight NFC South opponent for the Bears as they defeated the Atlanta Falcons 30-12 last Sunday at Soldier Field.
QB Jay Cutler led the Bears by completing 22-of32 passes for 312 yards and two scores. Tulane alum and Slidell native RB Matt Forte led Chicago in both rushing and receiving with 68 yards on 16 carries and five catches for 90 yards and a TD. LB Brian Urlacher had an interception and returned a fumble for a TD.

DATE: Sunday, Sept. 18    
TIME: 12:00 (CT)
SITE: Louisiana Superdome
*The Bears lead the all-time regular season series 13-11.
*The Saints have a 42 record in contests played at the Louisiana Superdome.
*RB Darren Sproles' 250 all-purpose yards at Green Bay on Sept. 8 were the most by a Saint since Reggie Bush had 269 vs. Minnesota on Oct. 6, 2008.

*Sunday's contest will be televised on FOX (WVUE-8 in the New Orleans area) with Joe Buck handling play-by-play, Troy Aikman serving as color analyst and Pam Oliver 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 national radio broadcast will be available on the Sports USA Network with Bob Fitzgerald handling play-by-play, Doug Plank as color analyst and Tony Graziani as sideline reporter.
*A Spanish language broadcast is available on WFNO 830 AM with Emilio Peralta handling play-by-play duties and Marco Garcia serving as the color analyst.

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