Three 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 (or in this case, Thursday) staple of the BATSBY Sports Network blog.
As such, it makes perfect sense to include Brent Musburger and Joey Porter into the presentation, via YouTube:
L.A. CHARGERS (4-5) @ OAKLAND (4-4)
TIME: 8:20 p.m. EST
LINE: Raiders (+1.5) … Over/Under: 48.5
REFEREE: Walt Anderson
TV: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews, Kristina Pink (FOX)
FUN FACT: Chargers QB Philip Rivers has faced the rival Raiders 12 times since 2013, the obvious result of sharing the same division.
But check this out: Since 2013, for his first matchup with the Raiders during a given year — regardless of the game site (Oakland, San Diego, Los Angeles) — Rivers owns sparkling averages of 338 yards passing and 2.5 TDs.
And in case you’re wondering, the averages for every in-season rematch over a six-year span are considerably less … to the middling tune of 248 yards passing and 1.7 touchdowns.
KANSAS CITY (6-3) @ TENNESSEE (4-5)
TIME: 1 p.m. EST
LINE: Titans (+6) … Over/Under: 48
REFEREE: Tony Corrente
TV ANNOUNCERS: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson (CBS)
PLEASE MOVE HEAVEN AND EARTH … for Titans tailback Derrick Henry (808 total yards/8 TDs through nine games) to start in every possible fantasy league.
Why is that?
The Chiefs have yielded the most rushing yards to opposing tailbacks this season (4.7 yards per carry).
The beleaguered Kansas City defense also possesses bottom-3 tallies with targets, receiving yards and total touchdowns allowed to opposing backs.
DETROIT (3-4-1) @ CHICAGO (3-5)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Bears (-2.5) … Over/Under: 41.5
REFEREE: Carl Cheffers
TV ANNOUNCERS: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Evan Washburn (CBS)
AT STAKE: On paper, the Lions might have the NFC’s easiest finishing schedule (Weeks 10-17).
Of course, that distinction means absolutely jack squat … if you don’t consistently emerge victorious from this wave of last-second endings.
Which begs the question: When will the perpetually optimistic Detroit fan start seeing proof that Lions GM Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia are prolific at their respective jobs?
Or, are they better served being subordinates with the Patriots, under Bill Belichick’s thumb/direction?
After all, it’s one thing to have defensive depth with admirable versatility … but none of that has meaning, if they can’t make plays during crunch time.
BUFFALO (6-2) @ CLEVELAND (2-6)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Browns (-3) … Over/Under: 40
REFEREE: Ron Torbert
TV: Andrew Catalon, James Lofton, Amanda Balonis (CBS)
BETTOR’S HUNCH: So, we’re supposed to take this spread lying down … the wretched Browns serving as three-point home favorites over a 6-2 club?
And what about that super-low over/under of 40?
The people in Vegas know Cleveland (Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt) and Buffalo (Devin Singletary, Frank Gore) are well-stocked at running back, right?
Throw in two quarterbacks with upside (Baker Mayfield, Josh Allen), along with the decent Ohio forecast of partly sunny/51 degrees … and the over should be an easy-peezy hurdle to clear.
N.Y. GIANTS (2-7) @ N.Y. JETS (1-7)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Jets (+2.5) … Over/Under: 44.5
REFEREE: John Hussey
TV ANNOUNCERS: Kenny Albert, Ronde Barber, Lindsay Czarniak (FOX)
SAY HELLO TO THE … Smashed Windshield Game of the Week!
For those not familiar with the bit, it’s simple:
Hypothetically speaking, if a random Giants or Jets fan left two tickets for Sunday’s game on the dashboard of their car, upon returning to the vehicle, the driver/fan might be startled to see a broken front windshield … along with two additional tickets (four total) left on the dashboard. BOOM!
ATLANTA (1-7) @ NEW ORLEANS (7-1)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Saints (-13) … Over/Under: 51
REFEREE: Brad Allen
TV ANNOUNCERS: Kevin Burkhardt, Charles Davis, Pam Oliver (FOX)
FUN FACT: Michael Thomas — the NFL leader in receptions (73) and receiving yards (875) — stands as the only 2019 wideout to collect seven catches, 95 yards and/or one touchdown in every game.
This bodes well for Sunday’s home outing with the free-falling Falcons (losers of six straight), who also sport bottom-10 tallies with receiving yards and receiving touchdowns allowed to opposing wideouts.
Here are some other things to celebrate:
**Thomas has collected nine-plus targets in 11 of his last 14 games (including the playoffs).
**Atlanta has given up woeful averages of 33.8 points during the six-game skid.
**Including the postseason, Thomas has notched 10 touchdowns in his last 13 outings.
**The top opposing receiver from the Falcons’ last six games holds robust averages of 7.1 catches, 99 yards and one touchdown.
ARIZONA (3-5-1) @ TAMPA BAY (2-6)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Buccaneers (-4.5) … Over/Under: 52
REFEREE: Craig Wrolstad
TV: Thom Brennaman, Chris Spielman, Shannon Spake (FOX)
DOES THIS COUNT AS A ‘REVENGE’ MATCH? By all appearances, former Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians left Arizona on good terms two years ago. But after spending the 2018 season in the CBS-TV booth … he was itching to get back to the sidelines.
If Arians has a quiet ax to grind with his former club … it’s worth noting the current Cardinals rank dead-last with completions, passing yards and passing touchdowns allowed to opposing quarterbacks.
This bodes well for Bucs QB Jameis Winston, who owns stellar averages of 334 yards passing and 2.3 TDs in his last six games.
BALTIMORE (6-2) @ CINCINNATI (0-8)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Bengals (+10) … Over/Under: 44.5
REFEREE: Scott Novak
TV ANNOUNCERS: Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon, Jay Feely (CBS)
FUN FACT: Ravens tailback Mark Ingram (710 total yards, 7 TDs) has been a top-12 asset in PPR leagues, but the numbers are even stronger when away from M&T Bank Stadium.
Charting his four road outings with Baltimore, Ingram boasts superb averages of 83.5 total yards and 1.5 touchdowns.
The potential fantasy fun extends to November on two fronts, making Ingram eminently viable with major pre-deadline trades:
b) Check out Ingram’s schedule for Weeks 14-16, traditionally the playoff periods with fantasy leagues: @ Bills, vs. Jets, @ Browns … three golden matchups (on paper).
MIAMI (1-7) @ INDIANAPOLIS (5-3)
TIME: 4:05 p.m. EST
LINE: Colts (-10.5) … Over/Under: 44
REFEREE: Clay Martin
TV ANNOUNCERS: Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, Melanie Collins (CBS)
FANTASY GOODNESS ALERT: The seven-man crew of Mark Ingram, Sony Michel, Austin Ekeler, Ezekiel Elliott, Adrian Peterson, James Conner and Le’Veon Bell cumulatively averaged 123 total yards and 1.3 TDs against the Dolphins this season.
So, there’s your reason to start Marlon Mack (recent four-game average: 96 total yards, 0.3 TDs) this week, regardless of any ‘flex’ lineup conundrums.
CAROLINA (5-3) @ GREEN BAY (7-2)
TIME: 4:25 p.m. EST
LINE: Packers (-5.5) … Over/Under: 47
REFEREE: Jerome Boger
TV ANNOUNCERS: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews (FOX)
FUN FACT: Did you know … Packers wideout Davante Adams has amassed six touchdowns over the last two Novembers (covering 2017/18)?
With that knowledge, it almost feels like last week’s so-so return from injury (7 catches, 11 targets, 41 yards vs. the Chargers) was a much-needed tuneup for a potential reckoning against the Panthers — who rank 31st with targets and receptions yielded to opposing wideouts.
Here’s another nugget of goodness: Of his last nine non-divisional games at Lambeau Field, Adams has enjoyed rock-solid averages of seven catches, 94 yards and 0.7 TDs.
L.A. RAMS (5-3) @ PITTSBURGH (4-4)
TIME: 4:25 p.m.
LINE: Steelers (+3.5) … Over/Under: 44
REFEREE: Shawn Smith
TV ANNOUNCERS: Chris Myers, Darryl Johnston, Laura Okmin (FOX)
FUN FACT: Charting his last eight complete games against non-divisional foes, Rams wideout Cooper Kupp (aka the No. 4 PPR receiver) has reached the elite-level marks of 100 yards receiving and/or one touchdown seven times.
For this prolific stretch versus non-NFC West competition, the Eastern Washington alum has absurdly averaged seven catches, 117 yards and one touchdown.
MINNESOTA (6-3) @ DALLAS (5-3)
TIME: 8:20 p.m. EST
LINE: Cowboys (-3) … Over/Under: 48
REFEREE: Shawn Hochuli
TV: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michelle Tafoya (NBC)
FUN FACT: For what it’s worth … of the last 12 Dallas-Minnesota clashes (going back 25 years), the Vikings and Cowboys combined for 48 points (Sunday’s over/under) only four times.
SEATTLE (7-2) @ SAN FRANCISCO (8-0)
TIME: 8:30 p.m. EST
LINE: Niners (-6) … Over/Under: 47
REFEREE: Alex Kemp
TV ANNOUNCERS: Joe Tessitore, Booger McFarland, Lisa Salters (ESPN)
BETTOR’S HUNCH: For those believing the undefeated Niners are getting too many points for Monday’s showdown, despite playing at home, consider the following:
This season, only two defenses — the 49ers and Patriots — have surrendered two or fewer touchdowns (rushing/receiving) to opposing tailbacks.
Contrast that with the EKG-like Seahawks, who have allowed 16 touchdowns (9 rushing, 7 receiving) to opposing backs and wideouts.