Today's games

Pro Football

December 20, 2003|By Los Angeles Times

Atlanta (3-11) at Tampa Bay (7-7)

Time: 1:30 p.m.

TV: Chs. 45, 5.

Line: Bucs by 7 1/2 .

Story line: A week after Indianapolis shut down Michael Vick, the Bucs can show off the original blueprint on how to stop the Falcons quarterback, as they did a year ago in a 34-10 victory.

Outlook: By winning three of their past four games, the Bucs have kept alive their slim playoff hopes. Tampa Bay QB Brad Johnson has thrown 22 TD passes and needs one to break his franchise single-season record. Atlanta's T.J. Duckett has scored a touchdown in seven consecutive games.

Kansas City (12-2) at Minnesota (8-6)

Time: 5 p.m.

TV: Chs. 13, 9.

Line: Chiefs by 3.

Story line: The Chiefs are in the playoffs but need to keep winning if they want to gain home-field advantage. The Vikings just need to win.

Outlook: After losing last week in Chicago, the Vikings find themselves in a fight to the finish with Green Bay in the NFC North. Minnesota QB Daunte Culpepper is second in the league on third downs with 999 yards passing and 11 TDs. The Chiefs' Trent Green passed for 341 yards and three TDs in last week's victory over Detroit.

New England (12-2) at N.Y. Jets (6-8)

Time: 8:30 p.m.

TV: ESPN.

Line: Patriots by 3.

Story line: With every victory, the Patriots gain more support as the NFL's best team, but their running attack is still a little shaky.

Outlook: The Jets are eliminated from the playoff picture, but don't expect coach Herman Edwards' team to roll over. New York QB Chad Pennington is 12-7 as a starter, with 4,303 passing yards, 34 TDs and 10 interceptions. New England QB Tom Brady is 31-12 as a starter.

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