Former Boilermakers square off Thursday night

Teams chasing playoff positions will tune in to Thursday night’s Saints-Bears game on NFL Network. But so will people in every sports bar in West Lafayette, Ind.

Purdue sent both quarterbacks, New Orleans’ Drew Brees and Chicago’s Kyle Orton, on to the NFL.

Orton followed Brees to Purdue and succeeded him at quarterback. Now the Bears are trying to see how he compares to Brees.

“They both went to the same school,” Bears coach Lovie Smith said. “Both are good, smart quarterbacks that know how to throw the football. Both guys make excellent decisions. But I am going to say they are completely different players.”

Brees could set the NFL’s single-season passing record. The Bears would settle for Orton leading them to the playoffs.

When Orton attended Purdue, he heard comparisons to Brees all the time. And they will be compared again Thursday night, with the quarterback who performs better getting his team a key victory in the NFC playoff race.

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