Earplugs are highly recommended to cope with the thunderous din, but head coach Mike McCarthy thinks the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis can be more friend than foe for his unbeaten Packers this weekend.
"Playing in the Metrodome, it's a different game over there, always is, because of the crowd noise," McCarthy said. "You have to play a certain way. You really have to tighten up your focus and discipline."
That's precisely what the Packers are seeking with their formidable, but recently clumsy passing attack as they go into an NFC North matchup against the slumping Minnesota Vikings (1-5) on Sunday.
Green Bay can go into its bye week not only 7-0 for the first time since 1962, but also with the first 13-game winning streak (going back to last season) in the 93-year history of the franchise.
One set of Packers also is motivated to get some clean-up accomplished under the new roof at the Metrodome.
"We have great players on this team," receiver Greg Jennings said. "We have to be that every time we step on the field."
Jennings was peeved at himself after Green Bay's 24-3 home rout of the St. Louis Rams last Sunday, its fourth straight resounding win. He let a pass from Aaron Rodgers late in the game go off his hands and into those of Rams safety Craig Dahl for only the third interception thrown by Rodgers in his remarkable season thus far.
"Those are plays you just can't have," Jennings lamented. "He knows my standard, and I didn't live up to it. We talked (last week) just about that. I talked to him about how I feel about drops is pretty much how he feels about having a pick. And, I had a drop and gave him a pick. That's a double whammy."
To the quiet chagrin of Rodgers and the more outspoken dissatisfaction of the coaches, misplays by Green Bay's talented corps of pass catchers has surfaced as an epidemic.
"We had two games where we had zero drops, and then we respond with the 10 drops in the last two games," McCarthy said.
Troubling is that the recent influx of dropped passes isn't confined to just a few guys. The team's six leading receivers after the first six games - Jennings (one), tight end Jermichael Finley (three) Jordy Nelson (one), James Jones (one), running back James Starks (one) and Donald Driver (two) - each had at least one drop.
"Those are physical mistakes, which happen from time to time," Rodgers said. "It's not a whole lot you can say about it. You're frustrated (as the quarterback), but they're frustrated (as the receivers) as well."
A week after the Packers had a season-high six drops (including all three by Finley) in their 25-14 comeback win at the Atlanta Falcons, they had four such miscues against the Rams. Three of them in the latter game, including the first drop of the season for Jennings, came in the second half as Green Bay went scoreless.
"I think a couple of them early (Sunday) it was clear that their intentions were good and they wanted to maybe advance the football and make a guy miss and move the chains forward, and I think they maybe just didn't take care of first things first," offensive coordinator Joe Philbin said. "That's what it looked like on tape to us."
The drops are alarming to Philbin, who said the offense had no more than six in the first four games.
"It's safe to say when you have 10 drops in two weeks, that's a concern," Philbin said. "So, we have to get back to catching the football better.
"We have to get back to basics," he added. "We have to catch the ball better. We have to make plays that are there. We don't have to invent a whole lot of knew things. We just have to execute."
Rodgers isn't fretting.
"'E.B.' and Ben, they stay on those guys catching the ball," said Rodgers, referring to receivers coach Edgar Bennett and tight ends coach Ben McAdoo. "I'm not worried about them. I don't think it's a trend or something that we need to get overly worried about. It's something that happens from time to time."
Rodgers even shifted some of the blame away from the guys who have helped him become an early front-runner for league MVP, citing the wind gusts of more than 30 mph that he felt played havoc with the guys out in the pass patterns as much as it did him in trying to throw the ball to them.
"You play a really windy game, the ball is going to jump all over the place," Rodgers said. "That stuff is going to happen. We'll correct it."
The absence of the slightest breeze for the next game, McCarthy is demanding the pass-catching predicament be resolved Sunday.
"Especially indoors, we have no excuse," he said. "We're playing in a dome this week."
SERIES HISTORY: 100th regular-season meeting. Packers lead series, 51-47-1. The NFC North rivals meet for the first time this season. Green Bay swept the two-game series last season for the first time since 2007, capped by a 31-3 rout at the Metrodome in late November. The Packers are 3-2 on the road against the Vikings with Mike McCarthy as head coach since 2006. The teams' only postseason meeting resulted in a convincing 31-17 upset win for Minnesota at Lambeau Field in an NFC wild-card game during the 2004 season.
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