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 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:
BALTIMORE (10-2) @ BUFFALO (9-3)
TIME: 1 p.m. EST
LINE: Bills (+6) … Over/Under: 44
REFEREE: Shawn Smith
TV ANNOUNCERS: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Evan Washburn (CBS)
AMBUSH POTENTIAL: The Bills handled the favored Cowboys with little difficulty on Thanksgiving Day, prompting many media pundits to openly wonder if Buffalo wasn’t getting enough national respect.
And then, just a few days later, the Bills once again find themselves as significant underdogs — 5 1/2 points at home — prompting yours truly to mock those who keep underrating Buffalo’s elite-level defense (No. 3 in points allowed) … and an offense with weekly averages of 24 points since the bye (Week 6).
There’s also the little matter of settling a score from last year. When Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen were merely green rookies on their respective benches in 2018 … Baltimore battered, bruised and unceremoniously bashed Buffalo, en route to a 47-3 runaway victory.
Think Bills head coach Sean McDermott has forgotten about that 44-point beatdown from last September? We don’t think so, either.
OUR VEGAS PICK: Take the Bills to cover the six points.
SAN FRANCISCO (10-2) @ NEW ORLEANS (10-2)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Saints (-2.5) … Over/Under: 44.5
REFEREE: John Hussey
TV ANNOUNCERS: Kevin Burkhardt, Charles Davis, Pam Oliver (FOX)
FUN FACT: Saints QB Drew Brees has eclipsed the 300-yard passing mark in seven of his last eight home games against non-divisional foes (including the playoffs).
Adding to the fantasy fun, during this same prolific stretch, Brees accounted for multiple touchdowns seven times.
WASHINGTON (3-9) @ GREEN BAY (9-3)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Packers (-12.5) … Over/Under: 41.5
REFEREE: Clay Martin
TV ANNOUNCERS: Kenny Albert, Ronde Barber, Lindsay Czarniak (FOX)
PASSING FANCY: BATSBY Sports boasts a laundry list of reasons to support Aaron Rodgers’ No. 1 ranking for Week 14, among quarterbacks:
a) The Redskins have surrendered the eighth-most passing touchdowns.
b) Opposing QBs have enjoyed a robust completion rate of 69.2 percent versus Washington.
c) For the season, Rodgers (3,065 yards passing, 23 total TDs) holds remarkably clean averages of 301 yards passing and two touchdowns against NFC East foes.
d) Charting his last nine complete home games in December, Rodgers owns rock-solid averages of 272 yards passing and 2.3 TDs.
e) Since 2011, Rodgers has posted three or more touchdowns in back-to-back games 13 times.
DETROIT (3-8-1) @ MINNEOTA (8-4)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Vikings (-13) … Over/Under: 43.5
REFEREE: Walt Anderson
TV: Thom Brennanman, Chris Spielman, Shannon Spake (FOX)
FUN FACT: There’s a reason why the Lions possess bottom-5 tallies with catches, targets and receiving yards allowed to opposing wideouts — aside from Detroit’s woeful pass rush (27th in sacks).
Over the last six weeks, Anthony Miller, Michael Gallup, Terry McLaurin, Darius Slayton, Randall Cobb and Golden Tate — a six-pack of less-than-elite fantasy wideouts — have stealthily averaged 6.1 catches, 102 yards and 0.5 touchdowns versus Detroit.
This all bodes well for Stefon Diggs … and perhaps even Bisi Johnson (subbing for an injured Adam Thielen):
Covering his last six meetings with Detroit, Diggs owns sleek averages of 6.2 catches, 84 yards and 0.3 TDs.
DENVER (4-8) @ HOUSTON (8-4)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Texans (-9) … Over/Under: 42.5
REFEREE: Adrian Hill
TV ANNOUNCERS: Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon, A.J. Ross (CBS)
FUN FACT: Texans QB Deshaun Watson has racked up multiple touchdowns in all five career meetings with the AFC West, posting elite-level averages of 277 yards passing and 3.2 TDs.
CINCINNATI (1-11) @ CLEVELAND (5-7)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Browns (-7) … Over/Under: 41.5
REFEREE: Carl Cheffers
TV ANNOUNCERS: Beth Mowins, Tiki Barber (CBS)
RUN TO DAYLIGHT: The sad-sack Jets attempted only 17 rushes against the Bengals last week, one of the NFL’s weakest run defenses.
Will that be a trend, heading into this week’s action?
Don’t count on it. The over/under for Cleveland carries stands at 27.5, with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt (243 total yards, 2 TDs in four games) potentially exceeding that number midway through the fourth quarter.
Speaking of Chubb … for his two-game track record versus Cincinnati, the Georgia alum owns superb averages of 122 total yards and one touchdown.
INDIANAPOLIS (6-6) @ TAMPA BAY (5-7)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Buccaneers (-3) … Over/Under: 47
REFEREE: Tony Corrente
TV ANNOUNCERS: Spero Dedes, Adam Archuleta (CBS)
FANTASY FIX: Jameis Winston’s six-game streak of 300 yards passing might be over, but the Bucs quarterback remains a popular starting asset for this week’s fantasy playoffs.
**Citing his last 14 home or neutral-site outings, Winston enjoyed 13 efforts of 300 yards passing and/or multiple scores.
**For that same stretch, Winston collected solid averages of 314 yards passing and 1.8 TDs.
**The Colts defense ranks 22nd in completions allowed to quarterbacks.
**This season, the Bucs’ elite receiving duo of Chris Godwin and Mike Evans have combined for five outings of multiple TDs.
**Sunday’s preliminary weather forecast involves sunny skies and 78 degrees.
Counter that against seven weekend games being played outside in Midwest cities like Chicago, Green Bay, Cleveland … and schizophrenic East Coast markets such as Philadelphia, Boston (Foxboro), New York and Buffalo.
In other words, why risk potentially dicey weather in colder climates, at the most nerve-racking time for fantasy football … when neither Winston, Jared Goff, Russell Wilson nor Ryan Tannehill shall worry about wind, rain, cold or overall bluster?
CAROLINA (5-7) @ ATLANTA (3-9)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Falcons (-3) … Over/Under: 47
REFEREE: Clete Blakeman
TV ANNOUNCERS: Chris Myers, Darryl Johnston, Laura Okmin (FOX)
RACE TO THE BOTTOM: We would have lost good money six weeks ago, betting which head coach would be fired first — Carolina’s Ron Rivera or Atlanta’s Dan Quinn?
So long, Riverboat Ron.
For the disappointing Falcons, this week marks a golden chance to sweep a division opponent, while also teeing up Devonta Freeman for his best matchup of the year:
The Panthers have surrendered the most rushing touchdowns to tailbacks (19 … dead-last by a long shot), along with 5.4 yards per carry. Yikes!
MIAMI (3-9) @ N.Y. JETS (4-8)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Jets (-5.5) … Over/Under: 45.5
REFEREE: Craig Wrolstad
TV ANNOUNCERS: Tom McCarthy, Jay Feely, Otis Livingston (CBS)
YOU MAKE THE (SAD) CALL: Last week, the Jets became the first NFL team of the Super Bowl era to lose to two winless teams bearing records of 0-7 or worse (Miami, Cincinnati).
So in that vein, getting swept by the Dolphins would be less embarrassing. Correct? Ugh.
L.A. CHARGERS (4-8) @ JACKSONVILLE (4-8)
TIME: 4:05 p.m. EST
LINE: Jaguars (+3) … Over/Under: 43
REFEREE: Bill Vinovich
TV ANNOUNCERS: Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth, Jennifer Hale (FOX)
FUN FACT: Chargers tailback Melvin Gordon has been impressive in his last four outings, averaging 21 touches, 111 total yards and 0.8 touchdowns during, all while sharing substantial field time with Austin Ekeler.
However, the time has come for Gordon to resemble an all-world back —and fantasy difference-maker — perfectly coinciding with the launch of the playoffs.
Check this out:
a) The Jaguars possess bottom-5 rankings with opposing tailbacks, citing the crucial categories of rushing yards and rushing TDs allowed.
b) For the season, Jacksonville rates 28th overall in rushing yards allowed (136.6 yards per game); and along those lines, opposing rushers are happily averaging 5.3 yards per carry.
c) Opposing backs have enjoyed a catch-to-target rate of 80 percent versus the Jags.
d) Charting his eight complete outings from December, Gordon reached the elite-level threshold of 100 total yards and/or one TD seven times; and for that stellar stretch, the Wisconsin product averaged 109 total yards and 0.6 scores.
KANSAS CITY (8-4) @ NEW ENGLAND (10-2)
TIME: 4:25 p.m. EST
LINE: Patriots (-3) … Over/Under: 49
REFEREE: Jerome Boger
TV ANNOUNCERS: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson (CBS)
CHECK THIS OUT: The Chiefs, Titans and Texans are the first NFL defenses to yield 100 targets to opposing tailbacks this season; and as luck would have it, the Patriots’ James White will encounter Houston and Kansas City over back-to-back weekends … coinciding with the fantasy playoffs.
Last Sunday, New England eventually got around to exposing Houston’s statistical weakness, plying White with 25 touches (14 rushes, 11 targets), 177 total yards and two touchdowns.
And for this week, the Patriots draw a Chiefs defense which ranks 27th in receptions allowed, 29th in receiving touchdowns yielded and dead-last for targets and receiving yards surrendered.
Here’s one more thing to celebrate: Charting the Patriots’ last 34 outings (including the playoffs), White notched six-plus targets 20 times.
PITTSBURGH (7-5) @ ARIZONA (3-8-1)
TIME: 4:25 p.m.
LINE: Cardinals (+2.5) … Over/Under: 43.5
REFEREE: Ron Torbert
TV: Andrew Catalon, James Lofton, Amanda Balionis (CBS)
CHECK THIS OUT: The Steelers-Cardinals series rivalry dates all the way back to 1933 and covers 60 total games.
But here’s something interesting: Despite controlling the series by a 34-23-1 count, Pittsburgh has never registered 40 or more points on the Cardinals franchise.
TENNESSEE (7-5) @ OAKLAND (6-6)
TIME: 4:25 p.m.
LINE: Raiders (+3) … Over/Under: 47.5
REFEREE: Brad Allen
TV ANNOUNCERS: Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, Melanie Collins (CBS)
HE’S A KEEPER: Does Ryan Tannehill have any legitimate competition for the ‘NFL Comeback Player of the Year’ award?
Tannehill’s 5-1 as the Titans’ starting quarterback (supplanting Marcus Mariota); and during this six-game stretch, the former first-rounder possesses strong averages of 265 total yards and 2.5 touchdowns.
Of equal importance, the Titans are averaging 29.5 points with Tannehill under center … which should scare the you-know-what out of every potential playoff opponent.
Why is that? The Tennessee defense has surrendered 24 or more points only twice this season.
SEATTLE (10-2) @ L.A. RAMS (7-5)
TIME: 8:20 p.m. EST
LINE: Rams (-1) … Over/Under: 47
REFEREE: Shawn Hochuli
TV: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michelle Tafoya (NBC)
FUN FACT: There are three certainties in life: Death, taxes … and Todd Gurley piling up big numbers in the season’s final month.
Charting his last eight December outings, Gurley amassed 150 total yards and/or multiple touchdowns seven times; and for the cumulative averages, it absurdly shakes out to 151 total yards and 1.6 TDs.
N.Y. GIANTS (2-10) @ PHILADELPHIA (5-7)
TIME: 8:30 p.m. EST
LINE: Eagles (-9.5) … Over/Under: 46
REFEREE: Scott Novak
TV ANNOUNCERS: Joe Tessitore, Booger McFarland, Lisa Salters (ESPN)
AT STAKE: The Eagles have the easiest December schedule of any NFC playoff contender, which should keep things interesting all the way through Week 17, despite Philly’s losing record.
Of course, this eminently doable finishing kick presumed a victory over the Dolphins last week, which didn’t occur.
And now, we’re left to wonder if the Eagles have enough drive to rise up and take care of business in prime time, encountering a Giants defense that has allowed averages of 30.2 points during an eight-game losing skid.