New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton has never shied away from saying it -- the home-field advantage at Mercedes-Benz Superdome is real.
"For us, our focus is taking advantage of another game at home and taking advantage of crowd noise," he said after last week's divisional-round playoff win vs. the Philadelphia Eagles.
And while it's safe to assume the Superdome crowd will be even louder vs. the Los Angeles Rams, Payton asked fans Thursday to change their in-game screaming routine just a bit.
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"I think what's important for our fan base is understanding when that crowd noise needs to begin differently this week than normal weeks," Payton said. "That crowd noise needs to begin prior to 15 seconds left (on the play clock). That crowd needs to begin just as that last play finished.
"Look, you get 65-70 snaps of that crowd noise, earlier than normal and louder than normal, it's difficult."
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The reason for that, Payton said, is how Los Angeles runs its offense. It's unlike many other teams in the NFL.
"They'll come out the huddle quickly and snap the ball...," Payton said. "They do a good job of trying to counter that (crowd noise) with tempo, or change of tempo."
Things certainly got rowdy during the Eagles-Saints game as reporters noted the press box shaking when New Orleans took at 17-14 lead over Philadelphia late in the third quarter.
Of course, "Choppa Style" was played over the sound system as the crowd roared.
The Saints and Rams face off in the NFC championships game at 2:05 p.m. Sunday.
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