From the New Orleans Saints
NEW ORLEANS, LA - The New Orleans Saints will open their 46th National Football League season on Sunday, September 9, when they host the Washington Redskins. Kickoff for the contest is at 12:00 p.m. (CDT). FOX will telecast the contest, while Dial Global provides national radio coverage. The Saints are opening the season at home for the third time in four seasons.
Tied as the owners of the NFL's best regular-season record (37-11) since the start of the 2009 season, while being one of only three teams to earn playoff appearances in each of these three seasons, New Orleans enters Sunday's contest having finished 2011 with a 13-3 record and an NFC South division title, while advancing to the second round of the postseason.
New Orleans enters 2012 on an eight-game winning streak carrying over from the 2011 regular season, tied for the longest current winning streak in the NFL. This marks the third time the Saints and Redskins have contested a season-opener.
The clubs have not met since December 6, 2009, a 33-30 Saints overtime win at FedEx Field, their 12th consecutive victory en route to a team best 13-0 start and the Super Bowl XLIV title.
QB Drew Brees will lead an offense that set an NFL record with 7,474 net yards, while scoring a club-record 547 points, the fourth-highest total all-time. Brees set NFL single-season records for passing yardage (5,476), completions (468) and completion percentage (71.2%). In addition to the net yardage mark, the offense set NFL records for net passing yardage (5,347), completions (472), completion percentage (71.3%), first downs (416), third down conversion rate (56.7%) and fewest fumbles (6).
Brees again will work with weapons such as WR Marques Colston, TE Jimmy Graham and RBs Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas. The signal caller works behind a line that returns four-of-five starters after surrendering only 24 sacks in 2011, the NFL's second-lowest total.
Defensively, the Saints welcome defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, as the unit's undergone significant changes in the front seven. CB Jabari Greer and safeties Roman Harper and Malcolm Jenkins again form the backside.
On the line, DE Cameron Jordan has enjoyed steady progress heading into his second season, while free agent addition DT Brodrick Bunkley will provide a run-stopping presence. At linebacker, Curtis Lofton will man the middle while David Hawthorne joins Scott Shanle on the outside.