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NFL / WEEK 6 | TONIGHT

Tampa Bay At Minnesota

October 09, 2000

* The line: Pick 'em.

* Story line: With the possibility of falling 2 1/2 games behind Minnesota in the NFC Central division standings, this game has turned out to be Tampa Bay's worst nightmare--facing the Vikings in a must-win situation at the Metrodome on a Monday night. The Buccaneer offense will most likely employ the Mike Alstott-driven power running game to keep the ball out the hands of dynamic young Viking quarterback Daunte Culpepper. Culpepper leads all class of 1999 quarterbacks with 87.9 passer rating. After two lackluster games, Buccaneer wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson will attempt to show that he isn't a $56 million decoy.

* Key matchups: Despite Tampa Bay's talented defense, look for Viking wide receiver Randy Moss to put on his usual clinic. Moss has 18 catches for 444 yards and six touchdowns in four career Monday night games. If the Buccaneers key on Moss too much, Cris Carter becomes a danger--particularly in the red zone. Carter scored 65 touchdowns from 1995-99, but has been blanked so far this season. Buccaneer offensive linemen Jeff Christy and Randall McDaniel went to the Pro-Bowl as Vikings last season, so you can bet there will be plenty of friendly banter in the pits.

* Injuries: None of significance reported.

*--*

THE MATCHUPS TB MIN Points scored 25.4 (6) 23.8 (8) Points allowed 13.4 (3) 17.8 (10) Passing Off. 168.2 (28) 238.3 (6) Rushing Off. 121.4 (10) 160.8 (1) Passing Def. 169.6 (4) 205.5 (17) Rushing Def. 92.8 (9) 108.5 (7) Time of Poss. 32:16 (7) 33:09 (4) Turnover Ratio +5 (6) -3 (T19) Red Zone TD% 78.6 (1) 58.3 (10)

*--*

* Robyn Norwood's pick: Minnesota

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