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Thursday Night Kickoff: New Orleans Saints at Green Bay Packers Open Thread

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls of all ages, the NFL is back, and kickoff is at 8:30et/7:30ct. Six short months ago, I wasn't convinced I'd be able to say those words this month, but some in-depth, hard-fought negotiations ,and the most mixed-up off-season transaction period ever have all led us to tonight.

The New Orleans Saints travel to our most hated rivals, the Green Bay Packers. After the jump are some thoughts, and your open thread.

The 2011 NFL Season is begun. Rejoice, and be merry.

The Saints look to start strong after a shocking upset by the Seattle Seahawks in the last postseason. Some of it was attributed to their win of the Super Bowl the year before--the rest can largely be attributed to some chinks in the armor. They've beefed up the interior of their defensive line, though, and they could make some noise up front. Their offense looks to stick with it's standard form, which is generally pretty fantastic. This is a strong team, but they've got some competition in their division. A big start over a big conference opponent is a good way to start it off.

The know about them. You may have heard they won the Super Bowl last season. You may have heard they beat the Bears in the NFCCG. You may have heard there was some fervor about the quarterback situation in that game.

Regardless of that--they're scary good. The best we can hope for is a combination of over-confidence and post Super Bowl hangover. They didn't make a lot of off-season moves. They did, however, get healthy. They're returned a number of skill players, including ones who actually have skill. If they get clicking early, it could be a very long season.

The best the Bears can do is take care of their own business, and we'll get to see what two of their early season opponents look like tonight. Next week the Bears go to New Orleans. The week after is the Packers. Tonight is a glimpse of the future. Put your scout caps on, because we have some learning to do.