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:
KANSAS CITY (3-0) @ DETROIT (2-0-1)
TIME: 1 p.m. EST
LINE: Lions (+6 1/2) … Over/Under: 55
REFEREE: Walt Anderson
TV ANNOUNCERS: Kevin Burkhardt, Charles Davis, Pam Oliver (FOX)
FUN FACT: Strange but true: Reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes has yet to start an NFL game indoors.
However, the same cannot be said about Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, who holds elite-level averages of seven catches, 103 yards and 0.4 touchdowns when playing inside.
Now for the bad news: For the season, the Lions (Kelce’s opponent in Week 4) have top-5 rankings against opposing tight ends, in the categories of targets, receptions and receiving touchdowns allowed.
NEW ENGLAND (3-0) @ BUFFALO (3-0)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Bills (+7) … Over/Under: 42.5
REFEREE: Craig Wrolstad
TV ANNOUNCERS: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Evan Washburn (CBS)
FUN FACT: It’s been a good decade (and century) for Tom Brady, who has enjoyed a 15-3 record against the Bills since 2010.
Life’s been even better in western New York.
Charting his last nine trips to Buffalo, the six-time world champion boasts brilliant averages of 321 yards passing and 2.7 touchdowns.
TENNESSEE (1-2) @ ATLANTA (1-2)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Falcons (-4) … Over/Under: 45.5
REFEREE: John Hussey
TV ANNOUNCERS: Spero Dedes, Adam Archuleta, A.J. Ross (CBS)
FUN FACT: The Falcons have claimed one division title, two playoff appearances and one NFC championship since 2015; and yet, during this same stretch, the club has a baffling streak of seven straight home losses to AFC foes.
Which begs the question: How has Julio Jones fared during this quirky funk?
Well, it’s a good news/bad news scenario. On the happy front, Jones averaged 6.5 catches, nine targets and 106 yards receiving — solid PPR numbers in fantasy leagues.
On the down side, Jones hasn’t found the end zone against AFC defenses at home in five years.
OAKLAND (1-2) @ INDIANAPOLIS (2-1)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Colts (-6 1/2) … Over/Under: 45
REFEREE: Scott Novak
TV ANNOUNCERS: Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon, John Schiffren (CBS)
AT STAKE: Our credibility, frankly.
We offered the following Twitter boast on the day of Antonio Brown’s release: The Raiders would’t score 30 points in a game all season.
So far, so good … even if we loathe cheering against high-scoring football.
L.A. CHARGERS (1-2) @ MIAMI (0-3)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Dolphins (+15) … Over/Under: 44.5
REFEREE: Tony Corrente
TV ANNOUNCERS: Tom McCarthy, Jay Feely (CBS)
SERIOUS QUESTION: In the league’s modern era, has an NFL team with a losing record ever been a 15-point Vegas favorite on the road?
Yes, the Dolphins are a wretched mess right now … but this point spread feels like a trap. Where’s Admiral Ackbar when you need him???
FUN FACT: We’re happy Melvin Gordon has returned to the Chargers, after a 64-day holdout that made little sense from the get-go (minimal negotiating leverage).
At the same time, his agent should be censured for possibly keeping Gordon out of Sunday’s juicy game plan against the Dolphins, the NFL’s worst defense against the run (535 ground yards, 4 rushing TDs allowed) … and it’s not even close.
Of course, one man’s stubborn absence is another man’s ham-and-cheese sandwich with extra mustard.
Austin Ekeler (368 total yards, 4 TDs) currently ranks as the No. 3 tailback in PPR circles.
Within this success, Ekeler has a staggering catch-to-target ratio of 95 percent (19 of 20 targets), while leading all rushers in receiving yards (208) and receiving touchdowns (two).
CLEVELAND (1-2) @ BALTIMORE (2-1)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Ravens (-7) … Over/Under: 45
REFEREE: Shawn Hochuli
TV ANNOUNCERS: Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, Melanie Collins (CBS)
AT STAKE: The Browns might have the NFL’s toughest schedule over the next eight weeks, forging trips to Baltimore, San Francisco (3-0), New England (3-0), Denver … and hosting Seattle, Buffalo (3-0) and Pittsburgh.
Obviously, Cleveland won’t go 0 for 7 during the above stretch, but it’s also hard to target an easy mark out of the bunch.
And Sunday’s clash already has a whiff of desperation for the Browns: If the Ravens prevail, they’ll have a minimum 2 1/2-game lead on everyone in the suddenly tame AFC North.
CAROLINA (1-2) @ HOUSTON (2-1)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Texans (-4) … Over/Under: 47.5
REFEREE: Adrian Hill
TV ANNOUNCERS: Kenny Albert, Ronde Barber, Lindsay Czarniak (FOX)
FUN FACT: Texans wideout DeAndre Hopkins has enjoyed a stellar career from just about any angle, but it’s especially fruitful against non-conference competition.
Charting his last 10 games against NFC defenses, Hopkins racked up 100 receiving yards and/or one touchdown nine times; and all told, the Clemson alum boasts supreme averages of seven catches, 113 yards receiving and 0.8 TDs.
WASHINGTON (0-3) @ N.Y. GIANTS (1-2)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Giants (-3) … Over/Under: 49
REFEREE: Alex Kemp
TV: Thom Brennaman, Chris Spielman, Shannon Spake (FOX)
FUN FACT: The Redskins might be an 0-3 trainwreck in the real world, but there’s certainly nothing wrong with quarterback Case Keenum’s contributions on the fantasy end; and that goodness should carry over to this weekend’s clash with the Giants, who rank dead-last against the pass (346 yards per game) and 29th in passing touchdowns allowed.
There’s also this to celebrate: Citing his last five games (with the Broncos, Redskins), Keenum has quietly notched 300 total yards and/or multiple touchdowns every time; and this year, he’s averaging 29 completions, 311 yards passing and 2.3 TDs per outing.
SEATTLE (2-1) @ ARIZONA (0-2-1)
TIME: 4:05 p.m. EST
LINE: Cardinals (+5 1/2) … Over/Under: 48
REFEREE: Shawn Smith
TV ANNOUNCERS: Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth, Jennifer Hale (FOX)
LEAP OF FAITH: I have no clue if overnight sensation Will Dissly will blossom into one of fantasyland’s most prestigious tight ends.
For yours truly, his big, burly frame and Grizzly Adams-style beard just SCREAMED “blocking tight end” on Fantasy Draft Night.
But give credit where it’s due: Dissly has logged seven career games in the pros; and of the six outings where he collected two-plus targets, the University of Washington alum tallied 50-plus receiving yards and/or one touchdown five times.
Plus, in the last two games, Dissly has cumulatively amassed 11 catches, 12 targets, 112 yards and three touchdowns.
Here’s one more glorious nugget: The Cardinals (Dissly’s opponent for Week 4) rank 31st with targets and receptions allowed to opposing tight ends … along with dead-last in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns to the same positional group.
TAMPA BAY (1-2) @ L.A. RAMS (3-0)
TIME: 4:05 p.m.
LINE: Rams (-9) … Over/Under: 49
REFEREE: Brad Rogers
TV ANNOUNCERS: Chris Myers, Darryl Johnston, Laura Okmin (FOX)
COOPER’S WORLD: Rams wideout Cooper Kupp dominated the action last Sunday night, blitzing the Browns for 11 catches (on 12 targets), 102 yards and two touchdowns.
Which brings us to this … charting his last 10 complete games against non-divisional competition, Kupp boasts excellent averages of 6.3 catches, 8.6 targets, 94 yards and 0.9 touchdowns; and for his lone playoff effort (January 2018), the Eastern Washington alum fleeced the Falcons for eight receptions, 12 targets, 69 yards and one score.
FUN FACT: On paper for Week 4, Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans has an unpleasant date with the Rams, who have yet to yield a receiving touchdown to an opposing wideout.
But as mentioned the other day in the Fantasy Revelations, this is not the time to tread lightly with Evans endorsements.
In fact, we’re willing to bet Sunday’s encounter with the Los Angeles secondary will be a match made in heaven for Evans.
Here’s the reason for such optimism:
**Last week, after finally recovering from a nagging illness, the Texas A&M crushed the overmatched Giants for eight catches, 15 targets, 190 yards and three touchdowns.
**Evans has tallied consecutive outings of 100 yards receiving six times.
**For his brief NFL career (2014-present), streaky Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston has racked up 300-yard passing days for back-to-back games six times.
**Since December 2017, Winston has attempted 30-plus passes 14 times.
JACKSONVILLE (1-2) @ DENVER (0-3)
TIME: 4:25 p.m. EST
LINE: Broncos (-3) … Over/Under: 38
REFEREE: Ron Torbert
TV ANNOUNCERS: Spero Dedes, Adam Archuleta (CBS)
RAMSEY WATCH: Will Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey skip Sunday’s game altogether, after publicly confirming his trade demand earlier in the week?
If so, it’ll likely mark his last game with Jacksonville (No. 1 executive Tom Coughlin won’t tolerate work slowdowns) … and it would undoubtedly seal Denver’s victorious fate at home.
Besides, Vic Fangio is wayyyyyyyyy too good of a coach to begin any season at 0-4.
MINNESOTA (2-1) @ CHICAGO (1-2)
TIME: 4:25 p.m.
LINE: Bears (-2) … Over/Under: 38
REFEREE: Brad Allen
TV ANNOUNCERS: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson (CBS)
ROMO WATCH: CBS has generously allowed Tony Romo to compete in a professional golf tournament this week, even though it could directly interfere with his broadcasting duties.
So, here’s the deal: If Romo makes the cut and survives the weekend, Boomer Esiason joins Jim Nantz on the call.
DALLAS (3-0) @ NEW ORLEANS (2-1)
TIME: 8:20 p.m. EST
LINE: Cowboys (+2 1/2) … Over/Under: 47
REFEREE: Carl Cheffers
TV: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michelle Tafoya (NBC)
OH YEAH: I haven’t been this excited about an NFL ‘under’ selection in quite some time.
In fact, it’s almost as sweet as ordering from the Truffles section of Sugarpova.com. (Ask for the chocolate … it’ll make your month.)
Why is that?
The last two Cowboys-Saints meetings produced pedestrian averages of 34.5 cumulative points — and both outings included Drew Brees as the Saints’ quarterback.
CINCINNATI (0-3) @ PITTSBURGH (0-3)
TIME: 8:30 p.m. EST
LINE: Steelers (-3 1/2) … Over/Under: 44
REFEREE: Bill Vinovich
TV ANNOUNCERS: Joe Tessitore, Booger McFarland, Lisa Salters (ESPN)
AT STAKE: For the loser of Monday’s game, they’ll have to deal with the indignity of being 0-4 … and then the unwanted hype of facing the equally docile Jets and Dolphins later in the season.
(The national media eats up winless head-to-head clashes with a spoon … especially if these games aren’t on their own network schedule.)
FUN FACT: There are three certainties in life: Death, taxes … and James Conner shredding the opposition inside the AFC North.
Charting his six career outings against division foes (as a starter), Conner owns scintillating averages of 139 total yards and 1.2 touchdowns; and that includes a 44-yard, zero-TD clunker versus the Ravens.
Here’s another reason for doing everything in your power to acquire Steelers tailback James Conner before 1 p.m. Sunday:
The wretched Bengals defense has bottom-3 tallies with rushing yards allowed and rushing/receiving touchdowns surrendered. Ouch.