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:
MINNESOTA (4-2) @ DETROIT (2-2-1)
TIME: 1 p.m. EST
LINE: Lions (+2) … Over/Under: 43.5
REFEREE: Brad Rogers
TV: Brandon Gaudin, Chris Spielman, Shannon Spake (FOX)
AT STAKE: Is this a must-win game for fourth-place Detroit, even though the calendar only reads Week 7?
Well, with the Packers, Bears and Vikings are all favored to win this weekend … so you better believe it!
Let’s just hope the referees perform better Sunday afternoon … than last Monday night.
OAKLAND (3-2) @ GREEN BAY (5-1)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Packers (-5.5) … Over/Under: 47
REFEREE: Alex Kemp
TV ANNOUNCERS: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson (CBS)
UGLY FUN FACT: The Raiders have dropped seven straight to the Packers … with an average defeat margin of 21.4 points. Yikes.
HOUSTON (4-2) @ INDIANAPOLIS (3-2)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Colts (-1) … Over/Under: 47
REFEREE: Tony Corrente
TV ANNOUNCERS: Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, Melanie Collins (CBS)
FUN FACT: Without a doubt, anxious fantasy owners are feeling the pinch about DeAndre Hopkins’ five-game streak without a touchdown — his longest scoring drought in three years.
But help’s on the way, at least with this historical precedent:
Charting Hopkins’ last three outings versus the Colts — coinciding with the Texans drafting quarterback Deshaun Watson — the All-Pro receiver holds rock-solid averages of seven catches, 13 targets, 91 yards and one TD.
L.A. RAMS (3-3) @ ATLANTA (1-5)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Falcons (+3) … Over/Under: 54.5
REFEREE: Ron Torbert
TV ANNOUNCERS: Sam Rosen, Charles Davis, Pam Oliver (FOX)
FUN FACT: Falcons head coach Dan Quinn really doesn’t have a sturdy leg to stand on these days.
Just 10 months removed from Quinn firing three coordinators (offense, defense, special teams) and installing himself as D-coordinator, the Atlanta defense currently ranks 26th in total yards given up and 31st in points allowed per game.
Here’s another thing to lament: Against opposing wideouts, the Falcons rank 27th in receptions allowed, 29th in receiving yards allowed and 31st in touchdowns yielded; and no team from those first six games can match the receiving firepower of the Rams.
Think Jared Goff can’t wait for the Friday flight to Atlanta, after last week’s eminently forgettable outing against the stingy 49ers?
The same goes for wideout Cooper Kupp … who has absurdly amassed 100 yards receiving and/or one touchdown in his last 11 non-divisional games (including the playoffs) — with robust averages of 6.5 catches, 91.3 yards and 0.9 scores.
MIAMI (0-5) @ BUFFALO (4-1)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Bills (-17) … Over/Under: 41
REFEREE: Carl Cheffers
TV ANNOUNCERS: Andrew Catalon, James Lofton (CBS)
BETTOR’S HUNCH: The Vegas experts might be onto something with this monster point spread — aside from Miami incurring four defeats of 20 or more points this season:
Charting the Bills’ last seven victories over the Dolphins, dating back to December 2013 … five involved a final spread of 17-plus points.
SAN FRANCISCO (5-0) @ WASHINGTON (1-5)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Redskins (+9.5) … Over/Under: 40.5
REFEREE: Clete Blakeman
TV ANNOUNCERS: Chris Myers, Darryl Johnston, Laura Okmin (FOX)
CHANGE YOUR WAYS: The 49ers’ tailback trio of Matt Breida, Tevin Coleman and Raheem Mostert have collected a grand total of 24 receiving targets this season.
And that’s a shame … considering the Redskins defense owns bottom-5 tallies with targets, receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns allowed to opposing tailbacks.
JACKSONVILLE (2-4) @ CINCINNATI (0-6)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Bengals (+4) … Over/Under: 44
REFEREE: Craig Wrolstad
TV ANNOUNCERS: Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon, Jay Feely (CBS)
FUN FACT: Six weeks into the season, the Bengals’ wretched defense has already surrendered 10 touchdowns to opposing tailbacks — seven rushing, three receiving.
Adding to Cincy’s misery, the same opposing runners are averaging 5.06 yards per carry.
All this bodes well for Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette this week.
For starters, citing his last seven games, Fournette has eclipsed the elite-level threshold of 90 total yards and/or one touchdown six times; and of his five career outings against the AFC North, the bruising back boasts stellar averages of 128 total yards and 1.2 TDs.
ARIZONA (2-3-1) @ N.Y. GIANTS (2-4)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Giants (-3) … Over/Under: 50.5
REFEREE: Adrian Hill
TV ANNOUNCERS: Kenny Albert, Greg Olsen, Lindsay Czarniak (FOX)
FUN FACT I: The fantasy term “streaming” typically involves weekly searches for potentially golden kickers or defenses.
But one could also lead a productive existence merely streaming tight ends — regardless of pedigree — against the floundering Arizona defense.
For example, when encountering tight ends, the Cardinals possess bottom-5 tallies in the crucial categories of targets, catches, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns allowed — with dead-last rankings with yards and TDs surrendered.
Which brings us to this week’s hero: Giants tight end Evan Engram has been a bankable performer in his last five meetings with non-divisional foes, averaging 6.4 catches, nine targets, 73 yards and 0.2 touchdowns during this stretch.
That’s essentially 14-15 PPR points, even if Engram doesn’t find the end zone.
FUN FACT II: Yes, Cardinals tailback David Johnson has reportedly been dealing with back, elbow and ankle injuries; but since I’m not a doctor (nor do I play one on TV), one must assume he’ll be good to go Sunday in New Jersey.
Why is that? Well, even a nicked-up Johnson still belongs in the upper tier of fantasy backs:
**Johnson has yet to collect 20 or more rushes in any of his last 10 games; and yet, during this stretch, he’s still averaging 91 total yards and 0.7 touchdowns.
**Charting three career games against NFC East foes, Johnson owns otherworldly averages of 124 total yards and two touchdowns.
**Opposing tailbacks possess a staggering catch-to-target rate of 90 percent against the Giants.
**New York has allowed healthy averages of 4.5 yards per carry to opposing backs.
L.A. CHARGERS (2-4) @ TENNESSEE (2-4)
TIME: 4:05 p.m. EST
LINE: Titans (-2.5) … Over/Under: 41
REFEREE: Bill Vinovich
TV ANNOUNCERS: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Evan Washburn (CBS)
SAY HELLO TO THE … “Disappointment Bowl.”
The Chargers and Titans both held high hopes for division titles during the preseason, with the potential to become a Super Bowl dark horse.
Fast forward to the present: Sunday’s loser can pretty much kiss their dreams of an AFC West or South crown goodbye.
BALTIMORE (4-2) @ SEATTLE (5-1)
TIME: 4:25 p.m. EST
LINE: Seahawks (-3) … Over/Under: 48.5
REFEREE: Brad Allen
TV: Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth, Ronde Barber, Jennifer Hale (FOX)
APROPOS OF NOTHING: You might have noticed (above) that Panthers tight end Greg Olsen will be auditioning for FOX during his bye week, calling the Cardinals-Giants game.
For my money, Olsen will instantly become one of the NFL’s best analysts upon retirement, whenever that might be.
So, it makes sense that Olsen would get a lot of exposure calling a New York game, featuring the two highest-drafted quarterbacks from last year’s draft.
As a direct consequence of Olsen’s live screen test, Ronde Barber gets moved to the weekend’s best clash — joining Stockton, Schlereth and Hale in Seattle.
That’s quite a prom—, er, demotion.
NEW ORLEANS (5-1) @ CHICAGO (3-2)
TIME: 4:25 p.m.
LINE: Bears (-3.5) … Over/Under: 38
REFEREE: Scott Novak
TV: Thom Brennaman, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews (FOX)
AT STAKE: QB Teddy Bridgewater (4-0 as a starter this season) warrants major props for shepherding the Saints through this period without injured passer Drew Brees (thumb).
But has this run of unblemished success made him more attractive for NFL free agency next March?
I’m getting the sense that isn’t yet the case. However, a road victory over the Bears’ stifling defense would be a major feather in Bridgewater’s ‘marketability” cap.
PHILADELPHIA (3-3) @ DALLAS (3-3)
TIME: 8:20 p.m. EST
LINE: Cowboys (-2.5) … Over/Under: 49
REFEREE: Jerome Boger
TV: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michelle Tafoya (NBC)
AT STAKE: We have never predicted an actual tie in the four-year history of You Are Looking Live!
But we’ll make an exception here, since the Cowboys and Eagles are eminently flawed contenders … who are fortunate enough to play in the NFL’s weakest division.
How certain are we? Unlike Philly coach Doug Pederson … we’re willing to cement our unique premonition with an actual guarantee.
NEW ENGLAND (6-0) @ N.Y. JETS (1-4)
TIME: 8:30 p.m. EST
LINE: Jets (+10) … Over/Under: 44
REFEREE: Shawn Hochuli
TV ANNOUNCERS: Joe Tessitore, Booger McFarland, Lisa Salters (ESPN)
FUN FACT: The Patriots boast a 16-4 record over the Jets for this decade (including the playoffs); and during this dominant stretch, New England has surrendered 30 or more points just once.
And in case you’re wondering, for this same span, the Patriots have cleared 30-plus points eight times versus New York.