NFL: The ‘You Are Looking Live!’ preview for Week 17

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Packers-Lions, Eagles-Giants, Titans-Texans, Steelers-Ravens, Redskins-Cowboys and Niners-Seahawks highlight the cool slate of action for Week 17.

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.

So, without further ado, here’s a print doppelganger to the best 60 minutes in sports radio — Hour #3 of Czabe’s NFL-heavy Friday show (heard daily from 4-7 p.m. in Washington D.C).

As such, it makes perfect sense to include Brent Musburger and Joey Porter into the presentation, via YouTube:

WEEK 17

SUNDAY

GREEN BAY (12-3) @ DETROIT (3-11-1)

TIME: 1 p.m. EST
LINE: Lions (+12.5) … Over/Under: 43.5
REFEREE: Shawn Hochuli
TV: Kevin Burkhardt, Charles Davis, Pam Oliver (FOX)

AT STAKE: If the Packers handle their business against the free-falling Lions (1-11 since Week 5), they’ll do no worse than the No. 2 playoff seed, which comes with a much-needed first-round bye.

Digging deeper, the combination of a Packers victory and Niners loss (@ Seattle) would result in Green Bay claiming home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

And in the event of a Detroit upset (frankly, you might have a better chance of winning the Daily 3 lottery next week), Green Bay would most likely drop to the No. 3 seed.

MIAMI (4-11) @ NEW ENGLAND (12-3)

TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Patriots (-16.5) … Over/Under: 44.5
REFEREE: Clay Martin
TV ANNOUNCERS: Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, Melanie Collins (CBS)

AT STAKE: It’s a simple proposition for the Patriots: Beat the pesky Dolphins at home … and the No. 2 seed for the AFC playoffs will be secure.

And just like with Green Bay (above), an unforeseen New England loss to a bottom-feeder club would likely result in a precipitous plunge to No. 3 … and likely just home game for the entire postseason.

NEW ORLEANS (12-3) @ CAROLINA (5-10)

TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Panthers (+13) … Over/Under: 45
REFEREE: Ron Torbert
TV ANNOUNCERS: Kenny Albert, Ronde Barber, Lindsay Czarniak (FOX)

BETTOR’S HUNCH: It’s hard to imagine the Saints — who remain viable candidates for a first-round bye — covering the gigantic point spread above (13 points), given how Panthers tailback Christian McCaffrey (runaway choice for 2019 Fantasy MVP) will likely be focused on reaching the otherworldly marks of 2,400 total yards (needs 106 vs. New Orleans) and 20 touchdowns (needs two scores to join the club).

N.Y. JETS (6-9) @ BUFFALO (10-5)

TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Bills (-1) … Over/Under: 36.5
REFEREE: Brad Rogers
TV ANNOUNCERS: Tom McCarthy, Jay Feely (CBS)

BETTOR’S HUNCH: Bills head coach Sean McDermott doesn’t strike me as a Take The Foot Off The Gas kind of guy, meaning we expect the prominent Buffalo playmakers (including QB Josh Allen) to experience two, three or even four quarters of Sunday action.

As such, I’m stuck in that awkward position of guaranteeing a Bills cover … but stopping short (Hat Tip: Frank Costanza) of the teams eclipsing 36 points.

L.A. CHARGERS (5-10) @ KANSAS CITY (11-4)

TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Chiefs (-9) … Over/Under: 45.5
REFEREE: Walt Anderson
TV ANNOUNCERS: Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon (CBS)

AT STAKE: A Chiefs victory and Patriots loss would allow Kansas City to leapfrog New England for the AFC’s No. 2 seed (along with a first-round bye).

CLEVELAND (6-9) @ CINCINNATI (1-14)

TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Bengals (+2.5) … Over/Under: 43
REFEREE: Adrian Hill
TV ANNOUNCERS: Brandon Gaudin, Robert Smith, Megan Olivi (FOX)

BETTOR’S HUNCH: The Browns haven’t posted seven-plus wins over back-to-back seasons since 2001-02 … and yet, the one-win Bengals are only 2 1/2-point underdogs for Sunday?

Something smells really bad here.

Our rationale: Take the Bengals to cover, and let’s pencil in Cincy tailback Joe Mixon (23 touches last week, despite an illness) for 150 total yards.

ATLANTA (6-9) @ TAMPA BAY (7-8)

TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Falcons (-1) … Over/Under: 47.5
REFEREE: Carl Cheffers
TV ANNOUNCERS: Tim Brando, Matt Millen, Sara Walsh (FOX)

CHECK THIS OUT: Bucs QB Jameis Winston is an incredible 7 for 7 in collecting three-plus touchdown passes against the Falcons, with robust per-game averages of 271 yards passing and 3.5 TDs.

In other words, Winston (4,908 seasonal passing yards) might join the 5,000-Yard Club before the end of the first quarter.

CHICAGO (7-8) @ MINNESOTA (10-5)

TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Vikings (-1) … Over/Under: 36
REFEREE: John Hussey
TV ANNOUNCERS: Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth, Jennifer Hale (FOX)

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: The spread for this week’s meaningless game (in terms of playoff positioning) lies at 36 points.

Charting the last 11 head-to-head encounters (dating back to 2013), the Vikings and Bears have combined for 37 or fewer points seven times … with only four outings of 38-plus points.

PHILADELPHIA (8-7) @ N.Y. GIANTS (4-11)

TIME: 4:25 p.m. EST
LINE: Giants (+3.5) … Over/Under: 45
REFEREE: Alex Kemp
TV: Thom Brennaman, Chris Spielman, Shannon Spake (FOX)

AT STAKE: I liken the Eagles’ emotional victory over the Cowboys (Week 16) to Team USA’s staggering hockey upset of the Soviet Union in the 1980 Winter Olympics, presented in the following context:

Yes, beating Dallas last week meant everything for Philly’s division-title hopes; but if the Eagles cannot finish the job this Sunday — thus clinching the NFC East — the players and coaches would take such a devastating defeat to “their —— graves,” to borrow the memorable expression from Kurt Russell’s character in the epic movie, Miracle.

(For the readers under 35 years old, Team USA had to beat lightly regarded Finland in round-robin play — AFTER the famous upset of the Russians — to clinch the gold medal in the 1980 Games.)

TENNESSEE (8-7) @ HOUSTON (10-5)

TIME: 4:25 p.m.
LINE: Texans (+6) … Over/Under: 44.5
REFEREE: Clete Blakeman
TV ANNOUNCERS: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson (CBS)

AT STAKE: Sure, the Titans have chosen the worst possible time to endure a two-game losing streak; but all would be forgiven on Sunday, if Tennessee can beat Houston’s second-stringers, thus locking up the AFC’s second and final wild-card slot.

Which brings us to this …

PITTSBURGH (8-7) @ BALTIMORE (13-2)

TIME: 4:25 p.m.
LINE: Ravens (+2) … Over/Under: 37
REFEREE: Bill Vinovich
TV ANNOUNCERS: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Evan Washburn (CBS)

AT STAKE: A Titans defeat (from above) would open up a chaotic can of worms, involving the other AFC clubs still eligible for playoff duty:

a) The Steelers would subsequently be IN as the second wild card … with a victory at Baltimore and a Titans loss in Houston.

b) Incredibly, the 7-8 Raiders are still alive in the postseason race. To accomplish this tall task, though, Oakland requires four things to happen:

**Tennessee loss to Houston
**Pittsburgh loss to Baltimore
**Indianapolis defeat to Jacksonville (tiebreaker purposes)
**Raiders victory over the Broncos

That hectic four-way scenario would vault the Raiders into the playoffs … despite being .500 with overall record and conference mark.

WASHINGTON (3-12) @ DALLAS (7-8)

TIME: 4:25 p.m.
LINE: Cowboys (-12) … Over/Under: 45.5
REFEREE: Craig Wrolstad
TV ANNOUNCERS: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews (FOX)

CURIOUS DECISION: It’s weird to see FOX’s No. 1 broadcast team doing Cowboys-Redskins, since Dallas has no control over its playoff fate.

From my perspective, the trio of Buck, Aikman and Andrews might have been better served calling the Eagles-Giants clash, knowing a Philadelphia victory would clinch the NFC East crown. Oh well.

OAKLAND (7-8) @ DENVER (6-9)

TIME: 4:25 p.m.
LINE: Broncos (-3.5) … Over/Under: 40.5
REFEREE: Shawn Smith
TV ANNOUNCERS: Andrew Catalon, James Lofton (CBS)

BETTOR’S HUNCH: For the season, the Raiders have an average defeat margin of 18.3 points, while the Broncos have an average victory margin of 9.1 points.

And yet, the OddsShark experts have chosen a very-safe spread of 3 1/2 points for Sunday.

The rationale here: Might want to avoid the spread altogether … and merely focus on the eminently doable over/under of 40.5.

ARIZONA (5-9-1) @ L.A. RAMS (8-7)

TIME: 4:25 p.m.
LINE: Rams (-6) … Over/Under: 45
REFEREE: Jerome Boger
TV ANNOUNCERS: Chris Myers, Darryl Johnston, Laura Okmin (FOX)
A
AT STAKE: Merely untold riches, through astute gambling picks.

Right now, though, we’re not feeling anything substantial with either number.

INDIANAPOLIS (7-8) @ JACKSONVILLE (5-10)

TIME: 4:25 p.m.
LINE: Jaguars (+5) … Over/Under: 42
REFEREE: Brad Allen
TV ANNOUNCERS: Spero Dedes, Adam Archuleta (CBS)

NEEDLESS FUN FACT: Citing the clubs’ 37 career meetings, dating back to 1995, the Jaguars have never been shut out by the Colts.

SAN FRANCISCO (12-3) @ SEATTLE (11-4)

TIME: 8:20 p.m. EST
LINE: Seahawks (+3.5) … Over/Under: 45.5
REFEREE: Tony Corrente
TV: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michelle Tafoya (NBC)
AT STAKE:
With a prime-time victory, the 49ers would clinch the NFC West title and home-field advantage for the NFC playoffs.

With a loss, San Francisco would instantly drop to the No. 5 seed, or Wild Card #1.

It’s a little more nuanced for the Seahawks, should they earn the season sweep over the Niners. In victory, Seattle could be playing for the No. 1, 2 or 3-seed in the NFC; but we don’t know the status of that now.

On the plus side, we’ll absolute know where the Niners and Seahawks stand come Sunday night (right before kickoff), since the other playoff-implication games — barring any overtime shenanigans — will be done.

About The Managing Editor

Jay Clemons remains the only sports writer on the planet to capture Cynposis Media’s national award for Sports Blog Of The Year (beating out NBA.com, MLB.com, PGATour.com, The Players’ Tribune in 2015), along with the Fantasy Sports Writers Association’s pre-eminent award for Best Writer (2008). Through the years, Mr. Clemons has been a key figure with numerous blue-chip sports/media brands, namely the Detroit Lions, Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report and the NBC/Universal family. With Sports Illustrated (2006-11), Clemons served a triple role with SI.com‘s heralded football coverage—editing Peter King’s famed ‘Monday Morning Quarterback’ column, penning award-winning pieces for NFL and then writing/narrating scripted videos within the NFL and baseball realms. In 2013, Clemons’ first year with the company, FOX Sports South enjoyed a monumental increase of approximately 34 million Web hits in a 12-month cycle—merely posting 11 million hits the previous year. 

Then, over a two-month span in 2014, FOX Sports South amassed 19.5 million Web hits—a 60-day record for any FOX affiliate. And in 2015, Clemons claimed the aforementioned Cynopsis Media award on FOX Sports’ behalf, the company’s only national writing award during that period. Clemons, a graduate of Michigan State University  and Wayne State University, has been an on-camera Web-TV host for Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report and FOX Sports. In 2015, he also became the first-ever sports journalism professor at Kennesaw State University in suburban Atlanta.

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