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Jeff Faine #52 of the New Orleans Saints centers the ball at the line of scrimmage against Tommie Harris #91 the Chicago Bears along with the rest of the Bears defense at Soldier Field on December 30, 2007 in Chicago. The Bears won 33-25.
Even before the tragic news broke that Brian Urlacher's mother had passed away, the Bears' visit to New Orleans was already filled with emotional heft, with the team facing longtime-Bear, current Saint Olin Kreutz.
Now, the Bears will not only be playing against Olin, but they'll also be playing for Brian.
And that dynamic is something New Orleans is well aware of. New Orleans QB Drew Brees said the team is preparing as if Urlacher is going to play. Last Sunday, he had an interception, a fumble recovery and six solo tackles. That performance already would be tough to top before he heard the news about his mother.
All signs point to Urlacher playing Sunday, so the Saints' preparation is smart. More news and notes to know before Sunday's game:
Blitz-tastic: At practice this week, the Bears used simulated crowd noise to get ready for the noise at the Superdome. Comfort with the noise level will help them be ready for the blitz that New Orleans likes to show, as will Jay Cutler's ability to quickly throw screen passes. If he uses that ability is another story.
Preparing for 'Scooby-Doo:' It's Lance Briggs' job to stop Darren Sproles, a tiny dynamo who Briggs dubbed Scooby-Doo for his "quick, little feet." Last week, Sproles put up 150 all-purpose yards against the Packers, including a 72-yard punt return for a TD.
Coming home: Lance Louis is from New Orleans, Matt Forte went to Tulane and grew up in Slidell, La. Craig Steltz is an alum of LSU, and Charles Tillman graduated from Louisiana-Lafayette.
Injury report: Chris Spencer will start in the place of Lance Louis on the offensive line. Louis was injured in last Sunday's win over the Falcons. Marion Barber is not expected to play for the second week in a row as he heals from a calf injury.
History lesson: Bears hold a slight advantage in the series, 13-11. The most notable win was in the NFC Championship game in 2006, when the Bears beat the Saints in Chicago to get to the Super Bowl.
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