The Heat Is On

The Vikings come into tonight's game with the Vikings looking to stay alive in the playoff race -- knowing that a loss will be their elimination.

The Vikings come into play tonight against the Ravens with their playoff destiny no longer in their own hands. With the Panthers and Redskins sitting ahead of them in the post-season pecking order, the Vikings need help from Green Bay this afternoon to keep their division title hopes alive and need to win regardless for Week 17 to have any meaning beyond pride.

The Ravens are hopelessly lost in the tough AFC playoff chase and this could be their Super Bowl. As their final home game of the season, you can bet the Ravens and their fans will be primed for a big outing and, with the national TV spotlight on them, they will likely bring everything they have to play the role of spoiler.

CHRISTMAS DAY NOTES
* Baltimore's 48-3 win Monday over the Packers represented the most points scored in Ravens franchise history and was the most lopsided win in the history of Monday Night Football.
* On paper, the Ravens should have an edge against the Vikings. The Vikings come in with the 26th rated offense (28th rushing and 22nd passing) and the 24th ranked defense (19th rushing and 22nd passing). The Ravens have the 24th rated offense (18th rushing, 23rd passing) and the No. 6 rated defense (13th rushing, 7th passing).
* Brad Johnson is 3-0 in his career vs. the Ravens as a starting quarterback.
* Kyle Boller has a 12-4 career record at home as a starter.
* Mark Clayton leads all rookies with 36 receptions.
* What are the odds of either team scoring a rushing touchdown? Through 14 games, the Vikings have just eight rushing TDs, while the Ravens have just five.
* In seven home games this season, the Ravens defense has allowed just six touchdowns.
* The Ravens aren't road warriors, but are very tough at home. Baltimore is 5-9 on the season -- 5-2 at home and 0-7 on the road.
* Jamal Lewis has as many rushing touchdowns (3) as Vikings rookie Ciatrick Fason.
* With one reception, Jim Kleinsasser will be the ninth Viking with 20 or more catches this year.
* While both the Vikings and Ravens pride themselves on their ability to run the ball, both teams have been outrushed by their opponents.
* The Vikings have 27 touchdowns in 14 games -- eight rushing, 14 passing and five by returns of interceptions and kicks.
* Safety Darren Sharper has one more touchdown (2) than wide receiver Nate Burleson.
* The Ravens offense has generated 4,059 yards this season. It's defense has surrendered 4,061 yards.
* The Vikings are converting just 31.6 percent of third-down conversion attempts.
* Johnson and Daunte Culpepper have each started seven games, with Johnson going 6-1 in those games and Culpepper going 2-5. But the bigger difference in is turnovers. Johnson finally took over the lead for passes thrown, which are almost identical to Culpepper's numbers. Johnson has thrown 218 passes, completing 132 for 1,390 yards. Culpepper threw 216 passes, completing 139 for 1,564 yards. But the biggest difference is in touchdowns and interceptions. Johnson has eight TDs and four interceptions, while Daunte threw six touchdowns with 12 picks.
* Unless Johnson can throw for 610 yards in his final two games, the Vikings will have a season without a 2,000-yard passer for the first time since 1993.

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