- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Maybe this time Brett Favre won’t get picked off with victory in his grasp.

In as juicy a season opener as the NFL could provide, Favre marches the Minnesota Vikings into New Orleans on Thursday night for a reprise of January’s NFC championship game.

The Saints and their long trod-upon fans get the opportunity to celebrate the franchise’s first Super Bowl title, then the New Orleans defense tries to batter Favre the way it did in the 31-28 overtime win that sent the former Aints to the Super Bowl.

Favre sort of retired in the offseason before having left ankle surgery in May, then balked again about returning to Minnesota when the recovery was slower than he wanted.

But retirements never really last with the 40-year-old quarterback, and he’s back behind center, making the Vikings one of the conference favorites.

The Saints are 4 1/2-point choices in this one. It should be a lights-out shootout if Favre still has the touch and Minnesota can protect him. The Saints don’t have any such questions about their offense, led by Drew Brees throwing to a deep assortment of wide receivers, tight ends and running backs.

This could be the most emotional game in the Louisiana Superdome since the Saints returned a year after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. Yes, even more emotional than the game Favre gave away 7 1/2 months ago.

The result?

SAINTS 35-28

Miami (minus 2) at Buffalo

Beware the road favorite early in the season? Not in this matchup, where Miami going to Orchard Park late in the season would be an equalizer, but not in September.

BEST BET: Dolphins 21, Bills 10

Baltimore (plus 3) at New York Jets (Monday night)

Story Continues →