Drew Brees and the Saints extended New Orleans' post-Super Bowl euphoria for at least another week and handed Brett Favre a second straight loss in the Louisiana Superdome.
Brees completed 27 of 36 passes for 237 yards and one touchdown, and the Saints survived a hard-fought season opener for a 14-9 victory Thursday night.
It wasn't the most spectacular way to open a title defense, considering it was a rematch of the riveting 2009 NFC title game last January, in which the Saints took an overtime win to advance to their first Super Bowl.
It was the lowest-scoring victory of the Sean Payton era, which began in 2006. Still, the Saints will take it, considering their defense limited Favre to 171 yards passing and one score.
Unlike the NFC championship game, the Vikings didn't fumble and turned the ball over only once on Jonathan Vilma's interception of Favre, who made an ill-advised throw as Roman Harper hit him on a safety blitz.
Also unlike their previous meeting, the Saints had most of the statistical advantages, outgaining Minnesota 308 yards to 253 and controlling the ball for 33:43, compared to 26:17 for Minnesota.
New Orleans might have won the game more easily if not for two missed field goals by Garrett Hartley, who kicked the dramatic winning field goal last year.
Still, New Orleans was able to kneel on the ball to run out most of the last two minutes after Pierre Thomas capped a 71-yard, one-touchdown performance with 10-yard, first-down run right after the 2-minute warning.
Adrian Peterson, who rushed for 122 yards and three TDs in the last meeting, rushed for 87 yards on 219 carries against New Orleans' stingy defense.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)