Four years ago, we began honoring radio legend Steve Czaban — who was surprisingly booted from the SB Nation Radio morning lineup in 2016, despite having perhaps the most engaging program in the radio marketplace — with a “You Are Looking Live!” preview of each NFL weekend.
The bit was so well-received, so roundly praised by media pundits (including a few SB Nation writers) and Czabe’s legion of fans alike, that we decided to make You Are Looking Live! a permanent Friday staple of the BATSBY Sports Network programming.
As such, it makes perfect sense to include Brent Musburger and Joey Porter into the presentation, via YouTube:
GREEN BAY @ MINNESOTA
TIME: 1 p.m. EST
LINE: Vikings (-2 1/2) … Over/Under: 45
REFEREE: Bill Vinovich
TV: Chris Myers, Brock Huard, Greg Jennings, Jennifer Hale (FOX)
HOT START WATCH: Vikings tailback Dalvin Cook has quickly become a clone of Ezekiel Elliott, in terms of bringing the goods to every fantasy weekend.
Case in point: For his first 13 games in 2019, Cook reached the elite-level threshold of 110 total yards and/or one touchdown every time; and against NFC North foes, the Vikings star recorded stellar averages of 121 total yards and 1.3 TDs.
Also, when factoring in the NFL’s eight worst rushing defenses from last year, in terms of touchdowns allowed, the Vikings will encounter six of the unique opponents in 2020 (nine games total) — including two meetings apiece with the Packers, Bears and Lions.
Speaking of which … of his three career outings versus Green Bay, Cook owns superb averages of 119 total yards and 0.7 TDs.
SLOW START POTENTIAL: Packers QB Aaron Rodgers hasn’t registered 300 yards passing or three touchdowns against the Vikings … since 2016.
MIAMI @ NEW ENGLAND
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Patriots (-6 1/2) … Over/Under: 42
REFEREE: Adrian Hill
TV ANNOUNCERS: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson (CBS)
FUN FACT: Only one rookie quarterback in NFL history has passed for 400 yards in Week 1 — Cam Newton in 2011 (then with the Panthers).
On Sunday, Newton will make his Patriots debut against the Dolphins … who surrendered an NFL-worst 39 passing touchdowns last season.
QUICK HISTORY REMINDER: It’s been 19 years since Tom Brady wasn’t the Patriots’ opening-day starter at quarterback.
CHICAGO @ DETROIT
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Lions (-2 1/2) … Over/Under: 42
REFEREE: Alex Kemp
TV ANNOUNCERS: Kenny Albert, Jonathan Vilma, Shannon Spake (FOX)
BAD NEWS, GOOD NEWS: There are two ways to look at Matthew Stafford’s Sunday matchup against the Bears, the NFL’s No. 4 scoring defense last year:
MEH: From his previous six meetings with Chicago, Stafford didn’t register three touchdowns or eclipse 320 yards passing at any time.
STRONG: Charting his last seven Week 1 outings, including a clunker against the Jets two years ago (Matt Patricia’s head-coaching debut), Stafford holds sterling averages of 322 yards passing and 2.6 touchdowns.
MONTGOMERY’S WARD: Well, so much for the late-August reports of Bears tailback David Montgomery (1,074 total yards, 7 TDs as a rookie) potentially missing two or three games, due to a groin injury.
The second-year back has already returned to practice, reportedly getting the lion’s share of workout touches.
MATCHUP MADE IN HEAVEN: The Bears have justifiably taken a lot of heat over the last two years, as a consequence for choosing QB Mitchell Trubisky over Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson in the 2017 draft.
Yes, Trubisky might be a middling option at this stage in his career, but there’s also no avoiding the following stat:
Charting his last three meetings with the Lions, Trubisky owns elite-level averages of 289 yards passing and 3.3 touchdowns.
CLEVELAND @ BALTIMORE
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Ravens (-7) … Over/Under: 48
REFEREE: Ron Torbert
TV: Ian Eagle, Charles Davis, Evan Washburn (CBS)
FUN FACT: The Browns were baffling pushovers versus tight ends last year, giving up 10 touchdowns to that position … or one score for every 7.3 catches allowed.
You know who contributed to that absurd rate for finding the end zone?
The Ravens’ Mark Andrews scored three of his 10 touchdowns against the Browns in 2019, while merely averaging five catches, 8.5 targets and 60 yards along the way.
Here’s another nugget worth celebrating: Last season, Andrews (64 catches, 852 yards, 10 TDs) was one of only six tight ends to post seven outings of six-plus targets — along with Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz, Darren Waller, Austin Hooper and George Kittle.
SEATTLE @ ATLANTA
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Falcons (+2 1/2) … Over/Under: 49
REFEREE: Shawn Hochuli
TV: Adam Amin, Mark Schlereth, Lindsay Czarniak (FOX)
FUN FACT #1: There are three certainties in life: Death, taxes … and Todd Gurley carving up the Seahawks defense.
Of his last five meetings with the Seahawks (all formerly with the Rams), Gurley has tallied staggering averages of 125 total yards and 2.2 touchdowns.
The weird thing about the above numbers: Gurley had meager averages of 62 total yards and 0.3 TDs in his first four clashes with Seattle; and then after that, things took off like a rocket.
Perhaps this tradition will continue with the Falcons … and the lightning-fast FieldTurf at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, come Sunday.
FUN FACT #2: Seahawks QB Russell Wilson might be annual threat for NFL MVP honors (three-year averages: 3,847 yards passing, 35 TDs), but he’s also not a lock for Week 1 greatness.
Citing his last seven regular-season outings played indoors, Wilson holds meh averages of 206 yards passing and 1.3 TDs.
In other words, a better one-week-only replacement in fantasyland can probably be found on the waiver wire.
(Hint: That QB’s last name rhymes with ‘Paroppolo‘.)
LAS VEGAS @ CAROLINA
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Panthers (+3) … Over/Under: 47.5
REFEREE: Brad Allen
TV ANNOUNCERS: Greg Gumbel, Rich Gannon, Jay Feely (CBS)
RUN TO DAYLIGHT: Panthers tailback Christian McCaffrey was the consensus No. 1 pick in PPR drafts this summer, a testament to last year’s eye-popping numbers with receptions (116), scrimmage yards (2,392) and total touchdowns (19).
Here’s another window into McCaffrey’s purported greatness, as he builds a Hall of Fame-worthy resume that has few peers, after just three seasons of NFL action:
Charting his last 26 games, McCaffrey boasts scary-good averages of 142 total yards and 1.1 TDs per outing; and during this prolific stretch, the Stanford product reached the magical threshold of 110 total yards and/or one touchdown 23 different times.
N.Y. JETS @ BUFFALO
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Bills (-6 1/2) … Over/Under: 39.5
REFEREE: Shawn Smith
TV ANNOUNCERS: Andrew Catalon, James Lofton, A.J. Ross (CBS)
STRANGE BUT TRUE: The Bills-Jets rivalry dates back to the launch of the American Football League (1960-69); and yet, in 119 previous meetings, Buffalo has never posted a goose egg against the New York defense.
BETTING NUGGET: At first blush, the over-under tally of 39.5 points seems a little high for ANY game involving the anemic Jets (31st in scoring last year).
But here’s something worth considering:
Charting the clubs’ last eight September encounters, dating back to 2002, the average combined tally shakes out to 50.5 points.
PHILADELPHIA @ WASHINGTON
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Eagles (-5 1/2) … Over/Under: 42.5
REFEREE: Brad Rogers
TV ANNOUNCERS: Kevin Burkhardt, Darryl Johnston, Pam Oliver (FOX)
FUN FACT: Eagles tailback Miles Sanders couldn’t ask for a better matchup, as the second-year pro makes a legitimate push for 1,600 total yards and/or double-digit touchdowns:
****The Washington Football Team (this forlorn franchise needs a better placeholder name) had the NFL’s 31st-ranked rushing defense, giving up 146 ground yards per game last season.
****Sanders’ standout performance from 2019: Crushing Washington for 172 total yards and two touchdowns in Week 15 — essentially carrying fantasy owners to the championship playoff round.
****Last year, Washington’s defense incurred bottom-five rankings versus opposing tailbacks, citing the crucial categories of rushing yards, catches, targets, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns surrendered.
INDIANAPOLIS @ JACKSONVILLE
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Jaguars (+8) … Over/Under: 45
REFEREE: John Hussey
TV ANNOUNCERS: Spero Dedes, Adam Archleta
FUN FACT: Here’s a promising stat, for those concerned about Philip Rivers’ anticipated debut with the Colts:
Citing his last nine outings against the Jaguars (all with the Chargers), the remarkably consistent Rivers averaged 297 yards passing and 2.7 TDs; and one of the so-called clunkers yielded only 285 yards passing and one touchdown … but 22 of 26 completions.
L.A. CHARGERS @ CINCINNATI
TIME: 4:05 p.m. EST
LINE: Bengals (+3) … Over/Under: 42
REFEREE: Clay Martin
TV ANNOUNCERS: Kevin Harlan, Trent Green, Melanie Collins (CBS)
FANTASY FLEX CONSIDERATION: Bengals wideout A.J. Green missed all of last season with an ankle injury. But we still like his fantasy chances on opening weekend, especially in double-flex leagues. Here’s why:
Charting his last six Week 1 performances (2013-18), Green notched supreme averages of 7.1 catches, 117 yards and 0.8 TDs per game.
TAMPA BAY @ NEW ORLEANS
TIME: 4:25 p.m. EST
LINE: Saints (-3 1/2) … Over/Under: 47.5
REFEREE: Jerome Boger
TV ANNOUNCERS: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews (FOX)
FUN FACT: Go ahead and pencil in Saints wideout Michael Thomas (NFL single-season record of 149 catches last year) for primo numbers on Sunday.
Charting his seven career meetings with the Bucs, Thomas boasts stellar averages of 9.4 catches, 120 yards and 0.6 touchdowns.
By comparison, the above numbers are remarkably similar to Thomas’s final 12 regular-season efforts from 2019 … when fantasyland’s No. 1 wideout averaged 9.7 catches, 114 yards and 0.7 TDs.
CANTON BUSTS COLLIDE: Come kickoff time, the clash of Tom Brady vs. Drew Brees will officially become the oldest matchups of starting quarterbacks in NFL history (combined 84 years).
Here’s another way of viewing Sunday’s premier event: From an all-time perspective, Brees and Brady rank 1-2 with career passing yards and passing touchdowns.
ARIZONA @ SAN FRANCISCO
TIME: 4:25 p.m.
LINE: Niners (-7) … Over/Under: 48
REFEREE: Carl Cheffers
TV ANNOUNCERS: Kevin Kugler, Chris Spielman, Laura Okmin (FOX)
FANTASY FIX: The Cardinals (featuring Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins, Kenyan Drake, Christian Kirk, Larry Fitzgerald) should have one of the NFL’s most dynamic offenses this season.
But here’s the real question to ponder: Can the defense keep up with the offense’s expected progression?
Last year, the Arizona defense ranked dead-last in passing yards and completions allowed, while yielding the second-most TD passes to opposing quarterbacks.
What’s more, opposing QBs posted a completion rate of 70 percent against the wretched Cardinals.
Which brings us to this …
Against the Cardinals last season, Niners QB Jimmy Garoppolo enjoyed scintillating per-game averages of 371 yards passing and four touchdowns.
DALLAS @ L.A. RAMS
TIME: 8:20 p.m. EST
LINE: Rams (+3) … Over/Under: 51.5
REFEREE: Tony Corrente
TV: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michelle Tafoya (NBC)
GO WEST, YOUNG DAK: Here’s a bad news/good news proposition involving Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott:
On the down side, in nine career meetings with the NFC West, Prescott (personal bests with completions, passing yards, passing TDs, total TDs last year) has never eclipsed the mark of 300 yards passing.
On the plus side, Prescott accounted for multiple touchdowns seven times against this division (including the playoffs).
PITTSBURGH @ N.Y. GIANTS
TIME: 7:15 p.m. EST
LINE: Giants (+6) … Over/Under: 46
REFEREE: Craig Wrolstad
TV ANNOUNCERS: Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Maria Taylor (ESPN)
WELCOME BACK, BIG BEN: The training-camp reports of Ben Roethlisberger’s throwing capabilities (post-elbow surgery) have been largely positive, indicating the 38-year-old quarterback could be a candidate for 4,000 yards passing and 27-plus touchdowns.
Here’s something to further that narrative: Counting his last 12 complete outings against NFC foes (excluding last year’s injury exit against Seattle), Big Ben has tallied strong averages of 309 yards passing and 2.5 TDs.
What’s more, the Giants defense ranked in the bottom 11 last year with passing yards, passing touchdowns and completions versus opposing quarterbacks.
TENNESSEE @ DENVER
TIME: 10:10 p.m.
LINE: Broncos (+2 1/2) … Over/Under: 41
REFEREE: Scott Novak
TV: Steve Levy, Brian Griese, Louis Riddick, Lisa Salters (ESPN)
FUN FACT: In the 49-year history of the Broncos and Titans (previously Oilers) squaring off, covering 42 different outings, Denver has never been shut out by the Tennessee/Houston defense.