Brett Favre may be in the midst of a sizzling two-game stretch, but he faces an old nemesis on Sunday -- the Metrodome.
"The environment offers a lot of challenges," Favre said. "Until you're actually out there yourself, it's hard to imagine."
Known for playing well in the chilling cold, Favre has won 136 games during his career but has only a 15-22 record in domes, including a 4-9 record at the raucous Metrodome where 64,121 screaming fans can make life miserable for an opposing team.
"That crowd, that stadium is very loud, as loud as any place we've ever been," head coach Mike Sherman said.
Crowd noise really can become an issue if the Packers fall behind or have difficulty running the football. When the Packers have to pass the ball a lot, the offensive linemen have trouble hearing Favre's cadence and audibles. This can lead to miscommunication, false start penalties and the quick Minnesota Vikings' defenders beating them off the snap of the ball.
"If you can't run the ball," Favre said, "it puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the passing game."
In addition to the running game, Favre also stressed the importance of playing well on third down and avoiding turnovers. The latter two categories cost the Packers during their most recent game versus the Vikings, a 31-17 playoff loss. The Packers converted only three-of-10 third downs, and Favre tossed four interceptions.
"Execution is the key," he said. "In any game we've won in the Metrodome, which are very few, you can point to a few things that led to our success."
To further combat the domed environment, the Packers have practiced all week with crowd noise pumped in during practice. Sherman even had his team play under those conditions during some minicamp and preseason practices when the team was not facing a domed team.
"That has helped us to a degree," Sherman said.
What may help the most is that Favre is in the midst of a very hot streak. Since midway through the third quarter of the Carolina Panthers game in Week Four, he has completed 34-of-his-last-51 passes (66.7 percent) for 400 yards, six touchdowns, zero interceptions and a 129.5 passer rating.
"No. 4 is such a factor," Vikings head coach Mike Tice said. "We just hope to catch him on a bad game."
In the last two years, Favre has avoided such games in the Metrodome, winning consecutive games there for the first time. He completed 41-of-76 passes for 559 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions for a quarterback rating of 107.7 during those two games.
If he posts similar numbers, the Packers have a strong chance of beating the Vikings and making a strong push in the NFC North.