No Place Like Dome

The Steelers come into unfamiliar territory Sunday when they enter the Metrodome.

The Steelers are as unfamiliar with playing in domed stadiums as any team in the NFL. In Bill Cowher's 14 years as head coach, the Steelers have played just 12 games inside -- losing seven of those and not winning a single indoor game in the last 10 years.

It's that history that will accompany Pittsburgh into the Metrodome Sunday, where the crowd noise that typically hinders road teams could well have a more pronounced effect on the Steelers. With a young quarterback with a bad thumb and an offense predicated on taking its time and dragging out drives, it won't be a surprise to see at least a couple of false start penalties or delay of game calls -- not to mention the near-elimination of shotgun formations or audibles at the line.

* Winning streak, schminning streak. Las Vegas doesn't believe in the least not this week. The Steelers have been made a 3-1/2 point favorite on the road.
* Heath Farwell didn't practice Friday and will be de-activated Sunday.
* Although Chris Kluwe didn't practice Friday, barring an unforseen setback, he will be in action Sunday.
* Brad Johnson had one of the worst games of his career vs. the Steelers when he played for the Bucs in 2001. Prior to that game serial motormouth Lee Flowers referred to the Bucs as "paper champions" and backed it up with a defense that sacked Johnson 10 times. If Johnson needed any motivation, his memory of the loudmouth named Flowers could provide it.
* This will be the first time the Steelers have played a game in Minnesota since 1986.
* Steelers left tackle Marvel Smith didn't practice Friday and VU has been told he won't play Sunday.

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