The New Orleans Saints know what noise can do to an opponent.
New Orleans made noise a priority in each of its past two home games, flustering the Atlanta Falcons and drowning out the Carolina Panthers with a Superdome crowd that topped more than 110 decibels consistently and continuously throughout the game.
Now, the Saints find out what it's like to be the target of the roar. U.S. Bank Stadium, the two-year-old home of the Minnesota Vikings and the site of Sunday's divisional playoff, is widely known as one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL.
"This will be the loudest, clearly the loudest environment we play in this year," Saints coach Sean Payton said.
Minnesota built U.S. Bank Stadium with crowd noise in mind. According to a Fox Sports report, the see-through panels in the roof are made with a material that reflects noise, and the seats are closer to the field than any other stadium in the NFL, some as close as 25 feet away. The way the tiles are tilted in the roof have also been touted as part of the stadium's acoustical advantage.
According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the decibel level hit 119.8 in the stadium against the Los Angeles Rams in November.
That's not far off from the Superdome's ear-splitting best. Saints fans set the Superdome's mark at 122.6 decibels in 2013.
Either way, both the Vikings and Saints play in front of some of the loudest crowds in the NFL. The Kansas City Chiefs set the Guinness World Record by reaching an unbelievable 142.4 decibels in September of 2014, nearly five decibels louder than Seattle's audio assault of 137.5 decibels, coincidentally set in 2013 against the Saints.
Buffalo can also ratchet up the volume at New Era Field, reaching a high of 124.8.
Whatever the decibel reader records, the Vikings know they have an advantage.
"Our stadium is pretty loud," Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer said. "Hopefully, our fans will be excited to get in there and help us in this game."
New Orleans has a few assets of its own to combat the noise.
One is its legendary quarterback. Drew Brees will be a day shy of his 39th birthday on Sunday, and there's not a lot that can faze the future Hall of Famer. He's dealt with noise before, and although he didn't go into details, Brees indicated New Orleans has been preparing for the environment.
"That is an extremely loud environment, probably one of the louder ones in the league," Brees said. "So, yes, we have a plan on how we are going to handle that."
Another asset is a track record of handling noise well. New Orleans has been flagged for just six false starts this season, the fewest in the NFL and a sign of the offense's discipline.
New Orleans also has a pretty good idea what's coming.
The Saints opened the 2017 season against the Vikings in Minnesota, and the return of Adrian Peterson, the anticipation of the opener and the presence of Randy Moss had the Vikings at peak noise levels.
"It's loud," running back Mark Ingram said. "Their fans are great. The environment's great. As a competitor, you'd like to be able to thrive in that environment. It's a challenge to communicate, but I don't recall having issues with communication."
As confident as the Saints may be, enduring the noise has been a part of the team's preparation this week, as it always is during the week leading up to a road game.
New Orleans has lost its past three road games, and whether or not the noise had anything to do with those losses, the Saints know they need to be prepared for the worst.
"Any time you go on the road, especially in a playoff atmosphere in an indoor environment, I think it’s one of those challenges you have to work hard at all during the week," Payton said. "The focus both in the run game and the passing game, how you motion, when you choose to move guys around. It’s going to require the poise and attention to detail during the week."
As loud as it gets in U.S. Bank Stadium, though, the Superdome might be the best preparation the Saints can get for the cacophony of noise that will fall on them on Sunday, even if it's the offense that will be trying to communicate under the "Skol" roar instead of the defense taking on Matt Ryan or Cam Newton.
Fullback Zach Line, who spent the past four years in Minnesota, has now played in both stadiums.
And he's pretty sure there's a clear winner.
"You can't match the noise level of the Superdome," Line said. "That was something that really had me shocked, was how loud it gets in there. My ears were ringing for a couple of days after a game, especially the last one."