What difference will a crazy home crowd make for the Colts? “It’s day and night!”

That’s Colts OLB Dwight Freeney sitting on a bench (Associated Press)

The Colts want crowd noise for Sunday’s game against the Packers. A lot of it. As interim coach Bruce Arians mentioned, the crazy Cheeseheads do travel, and they are wary of having them take over their building. “That cannot happen,” Arians said.

The importance of that is not lost on the players. That specifically applies to the offense, because they will be the ones to hear it if the Packers fans get nuts. Of course, WR Reggie Wayne has an idea for how to deal with it.

It’s all good,” Wayne said. “There’s one way to quiet that down and that’s to make plays, no matter if we’re at home or away. We do know that, we  understand that the Packers are a team, their fans travel pretty deep. So, if we go out there and do what we’re capable of doing, we  won’t even know they’re in the building.”

He’s right. If the Packers fans aren’t into the game when the Colts offense is on the field, that’s a bonus. As for the defense, they’ll benefit if that noise bothers the Packers offense.

How much of a difference will it make? That’s what I asked DE Dwight Freeney (who isn’t sure of his own status for Sunday, as he battles an ankle injury). He was clear it can be huge. Warning: I’ll use some exclamation points below, but he was emphatic!

Can you tell the impact of crowd noise?

Absolutely!” Freeney told me. “Day and night. Day and night! Day and night! A huge, huge advantage for the defense. That is what home-field advantage is about. Has nothing to do with the offense. It has everything to do with your defense. The defense has an advantage because their offense now has to struggle with the crowd noise and communication and their calls and what blocking protection and what routes to run and now they’re doing hand-signals and now they’re racing the clock because someone didn’t get the signal. The offensive line has to react off of either the ball or you or a silent count, which if you’re not used to doing, it’s not that easy. It’s not an easy thing. More people are based on cadence. ‘Ready, set, hike, go now!’ If you are a cadence team with no silent count, then you’re really in trouble. It’s huge.

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