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:
CAROLINA (3-2) @ TAMPA BAY (2-3)
TIME: 9:30 a.m. EST
VENUE: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (England)
LINE: Buccaneers (+2.5) Over/Under: 47.5
REFEREE: Walt Anderson
TV: Rich Eisen, Steve Mariucci, Michael Irvin, Kurt Warner (NFLN)
WAKE-UP CALL: These 9:30 starts (on the East Coast) tend to detract from the Sunday morning pregame shows, assuming the matchups are close. It’s even doubly worse for West Coast football fans, all of whom must arise from a night of shenanigans for a 6:30 am kickoff time.
And yet, the NFL has done a solid job of keeping the International Series relevant to the masses, due to the exclusive window of play.
In other words, it goes back to the time-tested line: A day of football on TV … beats the stuffing out of any day without it.
HOUSTON (3-2) @ KANSAS CITY (4-1)
TIME: 1 p.m. EST
LINE: Chiefs (-4) … Over/Under: 55
REFEREE: Shawn Hochuli
TV ANNOUNCERS: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Evan Washburn (CBS)
FUN FACT: Most fantasy owners don’t require extra motivation to start Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes (61 TD passes in his last 21 regular-season outings) in daily or weekly leagues, regardless of emerging circumstances (injury, tough matchup, etc.).
But for those who do … check this out:
a) The Texans have yielded the most completions to opposing quarterbacks through five games (142 … for an average of 28.4).
In fact, opposing QBs currently boast a 70.2-percent completion rate versus Kansas City.
b) Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce owns rock-solid tallies against the Texans, averaging 7.3 catches, 117 yards and 0.5 touchdowns in four career meetings.
c) Dating back to 2005, the Chiefs have averaged 26 points versus the Texans … and this includes a three-point clunker from 2007.
d) On the back end of consecutive home games, Mahomes holds sterling career averages of 280 yards passing and three TDs.
PHILADELPHIA (3-2) @ MINNESOTA (3-2)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Vikings (-3) … Over/Under: 44
REFEREE: Scott Novak
TV ANNOUNCERS: Kenny Albert, Charles Davis, Pam Oliver
AT STAKE: The Eagles and Vikings are both eminently plausible candidates for the playoffs in January, but the loser of Sunday’s game might only garner wild-card consideration.
FUN FACT: Philly QB Carson Wentz hasn’t cracked the 300-yard passing mark in his last six games away from Lincoln Financial Field.
SEATTLE (4-1) @ CLEVELAND (2-3)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Browns (+1.5) … Over/Under: 46
REFEREE: Adrian Hill
TV ANNOUNCERS: Chris Myers, Darryl Johnston, Laura Okmin (FOX)
AT STAKE: The Browns cannot afford to fall two games behind the Ravens in the AFC North race. Along those lines, Cleveland fans might have difficulty reconciling a second-half playoff run … without an actual home victory on the resume.
NEW ORLEANS (4-1) @ JACKSONVILLE (2-3)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Jaguars (-1) … Over/Under: 43.5
REFEREE: Jerome Boger
TV ANNOUNCERS: Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, Melanie Collins (CBS)
FLASHBACK: It’s impossible to think of Saints @ Jaguars … without hearkening back to the 2003 clash in Jacksonville.
On that crazy day, New Orleans executed one of the greatest lateral-heavy touchdowns in NFL history … only to miss the overtime period, due to a botched extra-point attempt.
Let’s hope for a similarly stellar finish on Sunday.
CINCINNATI (0-5) @ BALTIMORE (3-2)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Ravens (-10.5) … Over/Under: 48
REFEREE: Clay Martin
TV ANNOUNCERS: Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon, Jay Feely (CBS)
FUN FACT: Mark Ingram (439 total yards, 6 TDs) and Joe Mixon (310 total yards, 1 TD) are seemingly shoo-ins for strong fantasy numbers this week, citing the following nuggets:
a) Baltimore and Cincinnati rank dead-last and 31st in rushing touchdowns allowed to opposing tailbacks.
b) Opposing backs are averaging 5.0 yards per carry against the once-impenetrable Baltimore defense.
c) With the Saints last year, Ingram shredded the bungling Bengals for 162 total yards (58 receiving) and one touchdown.
d) The offensive lines for Baltimore and Cincinnati are enabling weekly averages of three and four sacks, respectively.
WASHINGTON (0-5) @ MIAMI (0-4)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Dolphins (+3.5) … Over/Under: 50.5
REFEREE: Shawn Smith
TV ANNOUNCERS: Sam Rosen, Ronde Barber, Lindsay Czarniak (FOX)
AT STAKE: It’s early in the season … but not soon enough to confidently predict that Sunday’s loser will become the prohibitive Vegas favorite to post the NFL’s worst record this year, and collect the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 draft.
SAN FRANCISCO (4-0) @ L.A. RAMS (3-2)
TIME: 4:05 p.m. EST
LINE: Rams (-3) … Over/Under: 50.5
REFEREE: Bill Vinovich
TV ANNOUNCERS: Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth, Jennifer Hale (FOX)
FUN FACT: Cooper Kupp owners, like yours truly, should be nervous AND excited about their fantasy star’s major test this week. Here’s why:
On the negative side …
**San Francisco has surrendered the fewest receptions to opposing wideouts (38 through four games).
**Charting his only meeting with the Niners (September 2017), Kupp posted pedstrian numbers of two catches for 17 yards.
**The 49ers have allowed the fewest completions to opposing quartberbacks (68) … at only 17 per game.
On the plus side …
**Kupp might be the hottest PPR wideout on the planet, amassing 29 catches, 44 targets, 339 yards and four touchdowns since Week 3.
**Charting his last three matchups with the Niners, Rams QB Jared Goff has racked up nine touchdowns.
ATLANTA (1-4) @ ARIZONA (1-3-1)
TIME: 4:05 p.m.
LINE: Cardinals (+2.5) … Over/Under: 51.5
REFEREE: Carl Cheffers
TV: Thom Brennaman, Chris Spielman, Megan Olivi (FOX)
FANTASY NUGGET: Calling all Austin Hooper owners. The Cardinals own bottom-5 rankings with opposing tight ends, citing the crucial categories of catches, targets, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns allowed.
DALLAS (3-2) @ N.Y. JETS (0-4)
TIME: 4:25 p.m. EST
LINE: Jets (+7) … Over/Under: 44.5
REFEREE: Brad Rogers
TV ANNOUNCERS: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson
AT STAKE: Cowboys tailback Ezekiel Elliott has reached the elite-level threshold of 100 total yards and/or one touchdown in 13 straight regular-season outings.
During this prolific stretch, the three-time NFL rushing champion boasts supreme averages of 130 total yards and 0.8 TDs.
TENNESSEE (2-3) @ DENVER (1-4)
TIME: 4:25 p.m.
LINE: Broncos (-2) … Over/Under: 40.5
REFEREE: Alex Kemp
TV ANNOUNCERS: Andrew Catalon, James Lofton, John Schiffren (CBS)
PREDICTION TIME: The winner of Sunday’s game WILL remain in postseason contention all the way through Week 17.
BAD NEWS/GOOD NEWS PROPOSITION: Opposing tailbacks have enjoyed a sterling catch-to-target rate of 78 percent against Tennessee. On the plus side, the Titans are one of 15 teams that have yet to surrender a receiving TD to an opposing back.
PITTSBURGH (1-4) @ L.A. CHARGERS (2-3)
TIME: 8:20 p.m. EST
LINE: Chargers (-6.5) … Over/Under: 41.5
REFEREE: John Hussey
TV ANNOUNCERS: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michelle Tafoya (NBC)
FUN FACT: This week’s No. 2 ranking for Chargers wideout Keenan Allen works on so many levels:
a) Allen torched the Steelers for 14 catches (on 19 targets), 148 yards and one touchdown last year.
b) Charting his last 10 home games against non-division foes, Allen owns elite-level averages of 7.8 catches, 102.4 yards and 0.8 TDs.
c) For 2019, opposing wide receivers possess a robust catch-to-target rate of 67 against the Pittsburgh secondary.
d) The Steelers have given up the seventh-most receiving touchdowns to opposing wideouts, despite ranking 11th overall in receptions allowed to this same group.
DETROIT (2-1-1) @ GREEN BAY (4-1)
TIME: 8:30 p.m. EST
LINE: Packers (-4) … Over/Under: 47
REFEREE: Clete Blakeman
TV ANNOUNCERS: Joe Tessitore, Booger McFarland, Lisa Salters (ESPN)
FUN FACT: The Packers are among the four NFC clubs with a record of 4-1 or better; but will that success carry over to Monday night’s home clash with the Lions?
After all, Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford has posted four straight victories versus Green Bay; and of his last five trips to Lambeau Field … Stafford has stealthily averaged 294 yards passing and 2.4 touchdowns.