One way to take the loud crowd out of the game is for the Cowboys to follow the pattern they've set in their last four victories, with the defense setting the tempo while the offense grabs the early lead. "That's huge for us," said Cowboys Tight End Jason Witten. "Scoring early points gives you momentum and what it mentally creates for us and the mindset it puts on the opponent when you do that, it's big for us."
For that to happen the Cowboys must protect Tony Romo and tackle Flozell Adams is in for one of his toughest battles of the year, containing Jared Allen who has 14 1/2 sacks this year and plans to bring the heat to shake Romo's confidence. "He's already won a playoff game and is rolling pretty good," said Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway. "They have lot of confidence but every quarterback can be rattled. If he gets confidence throwing the ball, he's as good as anybody."
That goes for Brett Favre who has been especially solid at the Metrodome with 21 touchdowns and just two interceptions, a huge reason the Vikes were perfect in that old building this year. "He's very savvy in the pocket, not like the guy ( Donovan McNabb) last week who runs with the ball," said Brooking. "(Favre) has just as much savvy to avoid the rush and make plays. He can still spin it and throw the rock and has more weapons now than he's had his whole career."
The main one being Adrian Peterson who brings a punishing attack out of the backfield. The Cowboys haven seen this kind of running back this year but do have confidence after holding the Eagles to just 56 rushing yards in round one last week. "It's far important to stop the run," said Cowboys defensive end Marcus Spears. "If you have to defend against two elements of their offense (Favre passing) and Peterson running the ball, you put yourself in a bad situation. We will be focused on getting him stopped and make them one dimentional," Spears said.
How large of a task will it be for the Vikings to recapture some of their mid season forum? They were sluggish to end the season and head coach Brad Childress gave them five days off during their first round bye, while the Cowboys are playing their best ball of the season. "You would prefer the bye and playing at home," said Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, "but I'm always a fan of playing football over not playing." Favre, who spend his five days off at his home in Mississippi, doesn't think the break will hurt his team. "It was nice. You kind of get tired of looking at each other every day, the monotony, it was nice to change it up a little. but I could see how Dallas would say, we want to keep playing, we're peaking now and playing well, we don't want to take a break."
Favre has struggled in his last ten playoff games winning just three of his last ten, throwing 19 interceptions to go along with 19 touchdown passes.
These are two of the healthiest teams remaining in the playoffs and the biggest question mark for the Cowboys is the sore knee of Minnesota native Marion Barber. He did practice, without limitations on Thursday and Friday and is looking like he'll get the start in front of many family and friends.
Super Bowl aside, the last time the Cowboys won a playoff game on the road, 17 years ago and they'll try to break that streak at the Metrodome with a 12-Noon kickoff today.
We will have complete post game coverage tonight on Inside Sports at 9:30pm on The 33