Saints fans have had this game circled on their NFL schedule since April. The Chicago Bears come to the Superdome Sunday, September 18th. Nevermind that it's the Saints home opener.
The Saints have played the Chicago Bears three times over Sean Payton's five full seasons in New Orleans, all of which have been on their turf at Soldier Field. Chicago beat up on the Black and Gold in each of those meetings in the Windy City. Now it's time for them to get a little taste of how the home field advantage for the Saints can swing the game in their favor. Intensity will be high as the Saints open the 2011 home schedule in the Superdome this Sunday. It won't be easy to knock off a Bears team coming off their week 1 win over Atlanta 30-12.
Despite dropping their season opener to the Green Bay Packers, the Saints still have plenty of swagger. "I liked they way we fought back in that game, our team has a ton of resolve, and if we fix the mistakes, I think we're going to win a lot of games this season," safety Malcolm Jenkins told me. The defense has to improve; then again you won't face that kind of offense each and every week in the NFL. Second year cornerback Patrick Robinson will be picked on until he proves he's no whipping boy. On offense the Saints look as explosive as they've been in the Payton era. Darren Sproles had more total yards in three quarters of the Green Bay game than Reggie Bush had in 8 games last season. He gives this offense a dimension that it hasn't had in years past.
With every team in the NFC south losing in the opening weekend, it makes the Saints loss to the Packers even less painful. Atlanta could find themselves in a real hole in week 2, as they host the Philadelphia Eagles and quarterback Mike Vick makes his return to Atlanta. If the Saints can get past the Bears and Houston in the coming weeks, the schedule set's up nicely to go on a strong run. In October and into November the Saints have games against Jacksonville, Carolina, Tampa, Indianapolis, St. Louis and Tampa Bay. Saints quarterback Drew Brees has beaten every team in the NFL over the course of his career except two; the Chicago Bears and Baltimore Ravens. He gets another shot at the Bears Sunday.