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NFL: The ‘You Are Looking Live!’ preview for Week 8

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Eagles-Bills, Panthers-Niners, Browns-Patriots and Packers-Chiefs headline the Week 8 slate of NFL matchups.

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.

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 8

SUNDAY

PHILADELPHIA (3-4) @ BUFFALO (5-1)

TIME: 1 p.m. EST
LINE: Bills (-2) … Over/Under: 43.5 (courtesy of Odds Shark)
REFEREE: John Hussey (courtesy of FootballZebras.com)
TV ANNOUNCERS: Chris Myers, Darryl Johnston, Laura Okmin (FOX)
QUICK FUN FACT:
The Eagles have never shut out the Bills in 13 career meetings … despite owning a 7-6 series edge, dating back to 1973.

CINCINNATI (0-7) vs. L.A. RAMS (4-3)

TIME: 1 p.m.
VENUE: Wembley Stadium (London)
LINE: Rams (-13) … Over/Under: 47.5
REFEREE: Jerome Boger
TV ANNOUNCERS: Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, Melanie Collins (CBS)

FUN FACT: The winless Bengals have quickly morphed into a get-right game for the other side.

Against opposing tailbacks, Cincinnati’s eminently movable defense has allowed per-carry averages of 4.9 yards … and 10 total touchdowns (seven rushing).

Think Todd Gurley can handle being matched up with another leaky defense?

Gurley hasn’t registered 20 or more weekly touches this season; and yet, charting his seven outings, the Georgia alum reached the elite-level threshold of 100 total yards and/or one touchdown six times.

ARIZONA (3-3-1) @ NEW ORLEANS (6-1)

TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Saints (-10) … Over/Under: 48
REFEREE: Clay Martin
TV ANNOUNCERS: Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon, Jay Feely (CBS)

IS THIS REALLY NECESSARY? Earlier this week, injured QB Drew Brees (broken thumb back in Week 2) revealed his best-case scenario plans of playing on Sunday, characterizing it as a ’50-50 proposition.’

Which brings us to this …

Brees (74,845 career passing yards; five seasons of 5,000 yards passing) might be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but what’s the point of rushing him back against a non-divisional opponent — especially since Teddy Bridgewater has led the Saints to five impressive victories as the backup quarterback?

TAMPA BAY (2-4) @ TENNESSEE (3-4)

TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Titans (-2.5) … Over/Under: 45.5
REFEREE: Adrian Hill
TV ANNOUNCERS: Kevin Kugler, Matt Millen, Shane Bacon (FOX)

FUN FACT: This mention could be the kiss of death for Titans tight end Delanie Walker.

Why is that?

Well, in the past, we’ve earmarked tight ends Tyler Eifert, Evan Engram and Gerald Everett for monster fantasy numbers on specific weekends … only to see the trio inexplicably struggle against porous defenses.

Nevertheless, here are the reasons for this week’s Walker endorsement:

**The Buccaneers own bottom-5 ranking versus tight ends, citing the crucial categories of targets, catches and receiving yards allowed.

**These same tight ends are sporting a robust catch-to-target rate of 68 percent against Tampa Bay.

**Six of Walker’s previous nine touchdowns have occurred against teams outside the AFC South.

**Walker has a lifetime catch-to-target rate of 77 percent and two touchdowns versus the Bucs.

N.Y. JETS (1-5) @ JACKSONVILLE (3-4)

TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Jaguars (-6.5) … Over/Under: 40.5
REFEREE: Brad Allen
TV ANNOUNCERS: Spero Dedes, Adam Archuleta (CBS)

FUN FACT: The Jets are surrendering mere averages of 3.3 yards per carry to opposing tailbacks.

On the flip side, the New York defense has allowed the most rushing touchdowns to the same position (8).

This portends well for Jaguars tailback Leonard Fournette, who holds stellar averages of 161 total yards and 0.3 touchdowns in his last four outings.

DENVER (2-5) @ INDIANAPOLIS (4-2)

TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Colts (-5.5) … Over/Under: 43
REFEREE: Walt Anderson
TV ANNOUNCERS: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Evan Washburn (CBS)

AT STAKE: The Colts (leading the AFC South by 1/2 game) ostensibly cannot afford a loss to the Broncos — related to their wild-card chances.

Why is that?

A Sunday defeat would drop Indianapolis to 4-3 overall, but just 3-3 in conference play.

Within that scenario, the Colts would be hindered by the head-to-head-loss to the Raiders (last month). Also, with the Bills off to a lightning-fast 5-1 start — but still sitting second in the AFC East — Indy would realistically be playing for no higher than the No. 6 seed.

A sobering thought, for sure, even if the Colts are riding high in division play.

N.Y. GIANTS (2-5) @ DETROIT (2-3-1)

TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Lions (-6.5) … Over/Under: 49.5
REFEREE: Scott Novak
TV ANNOUNCERS: Kenny Albert, Charles Davis, Pam Oliver (FOX)

FUN FACT: Just seven games into the season, the Giants defense has surrendered more than 1,900 yards passing and 10 passing touchdowns.

As part of that misery, opposing quarterbacks also boast a sterling completion rate of 69 percent.

This breaks down extremely well for Lions QB Matthew Stafford, who holds remarkably clean tallies at home in 2019, averaging 300 yards passing and three TDs at Ford Field.

L.A. CHARGERS (2-5) @ CHICAGO (3-3)

TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Bears (-3.5) … Over/Under: 41
REFEREE: Brad Rogers
TV: Thom Brennaman, Chris Spielman, Shannon Spake (FOX)

FANTASY NOTE: Austin Ekeler (125 total yards, 1 TD last week) absolutely warrants a start in 10- 12- and 14-team leagues this week.

Against opposing tailbacks, the Bears possess bottom-6 rankings with targets, catches and receiving yards allowed.

The lone bright spot here: Chicago has yet to yield a receiving touchdown to a back.

SEATTLE (5-2) @ ATLANTA (1-6)

TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Falcons (+6.5) … Over/Under: 53
REFEREE: Clete Blakeman
TV ANNOUNCERS: Sam Rosen, Ronde Barber, Sara Walsh (FOX)

WAITING FOR THE OTHER SHOE TO DROP: The vast majority of Falcons fans wanted head coach Dan Quinn fired after last week’s blowout loss to the Rams — where roughly 70 percent of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium ticket-buyers had vacated the venue during the third quarter.

And yet, Quinn’s still calling the shots for a Falcons club in freefall mode.

Go figure.

CAROLINA (4-2) @ SAN FRANCISCO (6-0)

TIME: 4:05 p.m. EST
LINE: Niners (-5.5) … Over/Under: 42.5
REFEREE: Shawn Smith
TV: Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth, Jennifer Hale (FOX)

FUN FACT: You can set your clock to Panthers tailback Christian McCaffrey (plausible candidate for 2,000 total yards/20 TDs) dominating the PPR scene, regardless of playing venue.

But check this out: Charting his last eight road outings, McCaffrey has absurdly amassed 122 total yards and 1.3 touchdowns; and for this week, despite facing the stingy Niners defense, C-Mac possesses the sentimental trump card of playing near his collegiate home of Stanford.

Here’s the major challenge, though: Against opposing tailbacks, the 49ers defense ranks first in targets, catches, receiving yards and receiving yards allowed.

CLEVELAND (2-4) @ NEW ENGLAND (7-0)

TIME: 4:25 p.m. EST
LINE: Patriots (-12) … Over/Under: 45.5
REFEREE: Tony Corrente
TV ANNOUNCERS: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson (CBS)

FUN FACT: The Patriots have won 12 straight games since last December (including the playoffs).

During this prolific stretch, New England has enjoyed a final spread of 12 or more points nine different times.

OAKLAND (3-3) @ HOUSTON (4-3)

TIME: 4:25 p.m.
LINE: Texans (-7) … Over/Under: 51.5
REFEREE: Craig Wrolstad
TV ANNOUNCERS: Andrew Catalon, James Lofton, A.J. Ross (CBS)

FUN FACT: In three career meetings with the AFC West (Chiefs, Raiders, Chargers, Broncos), Texans QB Deshaun Watson holds otherworldly averages of 297 passing and 3.7 TDs.

GREEN BAY (6-1) @ KANSAS CITY (5-2)

TIME: 8:20 p.m. EST
LINE: Chiefs (+3.5) … Over/Under: 48
REFEREE: Bill Vinovich
TV: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michelle Tafoya (NBC)

INJURY UPDATE: It defies logic that Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes could dislocate a kneecap just eight days ago … and possibly be ready for the Packers the following Sunday night.

Bottom line: If Mahomes, and not Matt More, takes the snaps on Sunday night (to NBC Sports’ delight!!!!!!!), the Vegas line would probably move back in Kansas City’s favor.

MONDAY

MIAMI (0-6) @ PITTSBURGH (2-4)

TIME: 8:30 p.m. EST
LINE: Steelers (-14) … Over/Under: 43.5
REFEREE: Ron Torbert
TV ANNOUNCERS: Joe Tessitore, Booger McFarland, Lisa Salters (ESPN)

CHECK THIS OUT: Here’s something truly crazy:

**The Patriots have allowed the most targets to opposing wideouts this season (167 — tied with the Panthers) … and yet, New England has surrendered just one touchdown to this position (Golden Tate).

**On the flip side, the wretched Dolphins have given up the fewest amount of targets to opposing wide receivers … and yet, Miami has yielded double-digit TDs to the same positional class.

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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