The Bears and Saints own identical 7-6 records, both needing a win to keep their playoff hopes alive. While the Bears were hoping for snow and frigid temperatures to welcome the New Orleans Saints. It was the Bayou that saw snow today, with Chicago's lakefront blowing in 20 degree temperatures at Soldier Field. Eleven mile per hour winds out of the West-Northwest, are expected to gust up to 25 miles per hour and could affect the Saints passing game.
The Saints have allowed only 10 sacks of Brees this season, but will be without starting Left Tackle Jammal Brown who is inactive and replaced by Zach Strief. Also out of the Saints offense is Deuce McAllister.
The "other" Purdue quarterback, Kyle Orton will be without one target on offense, and one blocker. Wide Receiver Marty Booker is inactive, along with fullback Jason McKie. Special Teams will miss Garrett Wolfe also out after pulling a hamstring in Sunday's opening kickoff against Jacksonville.
Special Teams may be the key tonight as former Illini Pierre Thomas broke off an 88 yard return in Sunday's Saints win over the Falcons. While the Bears kickoff return man Danieal Manning is third in the NFL averaging 28 yards on returns. But all of the NFL Network's prime time eyes will be on number 23. Devin Hester last broke off a return for a touchdown in last year's regular season finale against these Saints. Hester's 64 yard punt return was his 6Th return for a touchdown last season, breaking his own NFL record. He performs well under the lights -- remember Dennis Green's famous "the Bears are who we thought they were" in Arizona? Well Green is calling this game for Westwood One Radio. And, Hester's mentor, Deion Sanders is on the sidelines for NFL Network, too. And the NFL Network is making this game big. 28 cameras is more than used for a Super Bowl! Sounds like it's prime time for "Anytime".