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PRO FOOTBALL / WEEK 14

Tonight's Game

December 07, 1998|JERRY CROWE

GREEN BAY at TAMPA BAY

* Kickoff: 5:15 p.m.

* TV: Channel 7.

* Records: Packers 8-4; Buccaneers 5-7

* Story line: This isn't the late-season showdown with division title implications that the NFL envisioned when it scheduled the Buccaneers' first Monday night home game in 15 years--the Minnesota Vikings have wrapped up the NFC Central championship. But there is still plenty on the line. The Packers are trying to gain momentum toward the postseason and position themselves for at least one home playoff game, while the Buccaneers badly need a victory to bolster their faltering playoff hopes. "Our lives are on the line right here," said Buccaneer defensive tackle Warren Sapp. "If we lose this ballgame we can pretty much cancel the playoffs. . . . We have to get in our minds and their minds that we can beat them." The Buccaneers handed the Vikings their only loss last month at Tampa, but they've lost six in a row against the Packers, including 21-7 in the playoffs last season and 23-15 (after falling behind, 23-0) three months ago at Green Bay. The Packers last week welcomed back wide receiver Derrick Mayes and running back Dorsey Levens, key performers who had been sidelined because of injuries, but then wide receiver Antonio Freeman, among the league leaders with 62 receptions and 1,070 yards receiving, suffered a broken jaw. Though he is listed as questionable for tonight's game, Freeman says he will play.

* Line: Packers by 4

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