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NFL: The ‘You Are Looking Live!’ preview for Wild Card Weekend

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This week's Wild Card matchups: Bills-Texans, Titans-Patriots, Seahawks-Eagles and Vikings-Saints.

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 other sites (including the new 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:

WILD CARD WEEKEND

SATURDAY

BUFFALO (10-6) @ HOUSTON (10-6)

TIME: 4:35 p.m. EST
LINE: Texans (-2.5) … Over/Under: 43.5
REFEREE: Tony Corrente
TV: Joe Tessitore, Booger McFarland, Lisa Salters (ABC/ESPN)

FUN FACT: Tailback Frank Gore (NFL’s third all-time rusher: 15,347 yards) has notched 90 total yards and/or one touchdown in six of seven career postseason outings.

Now for the Debby Downer news: As Buffalo’s primary backup, Gore hasn’t reached the 90-yard or one-TD thresholds in 11 games.

ANNUAL STARTER’S KIT: The first matchup of Wild Card Weekend could easily be renamed the ‘AFC South Playoff Game Of The Week.’

Citing the previous eight postseasons, at least one AFC South club has represented the division during the 4:30 p.m. window on Wild Card Saturday … with the lone exception involving the 2014 Panthers — one of only two division champions since 1978 to post a losing record.

2011 season: Texans 31, Bengals 10
2012 season: Texans 19, Bengals 13
2013: Colts 45, Chiefs 44
2014: Carolina Panthers (below-.500 division champ)
2015: Chiefs 30, Texans 0
2016: Texans 27, Raiders 14
2017: Titans 22, Chiefs 21
2018: Colts 21, Texans 7

TENNESSEE (9-7) @ NEW ENGLAND (12-4)

TIME: 8:15 p.m. EST
LINE: Patriots (-5) … Over/Under: 44.5
REFEREE: John Hussey
TV ANNOUNCERS: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson (CBS)

FUN FACT #1: Receiver A.J. Brown might fall short of winning NFL Rookie of the Year, but he certainly enjoyed the greatest finishing kick of any playmaker from the Class of 2019.

Charting his final six outings, the Titans wideout posted supreme averages of 4.2 catches, 6.5 targets and 101 yards, while collecting five total touchdowns.

FUN FACT #2: NFL rushing champion Derrick Henry (1,540 yards/18 total TDs) has never cracked the 100-yard rushing mark in eight career outings against AFC East competition.

The only saving grace here: Henry has found the end zone four times versus the Jets, Bills, Dolphins and Patriots.

THE GOAT’S LAST STAND? Free-agent-to-be Tom Brady has logged 40 postseason games in his decorated career (easily an NFL record); but during this span, the Patriots legend has played only three times during Wild Card Weekend (2-1 mark) — and none since January 2010.

Here are some other Brady-related nuggets:

**Brady accounted for multiple touchdowns in each of the three Wild Card outings.

**Charting his last five meetings with the Titans, Brady averaged 295 yards passing and 2.6 TDs.

**Citing his previous eight home playoff games, Brady owns stellar averages of 317 yards passing and 2.6 scores.

SUNDAY

MINNESOTA (10-6) @ NEW ORLEANS (13-3)

TIME: 1:05 p.m. EST
LINE: Saints (-7.5) … Over/Under: 49.5
REFEREE: Carl Cheffers
TV: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews, Chris Myers (FOX)

FUN FACT: Saints quarterback Drew Brees (five 5,000-yard campaigns) has amassed 300 yards passing and/or three touchdowns in five of his last six home playoff games.

For these postseason outings at the Superdome, the future Hall of Famer averaged 306 yards and 2.5 TDs.

BETTOR’S HUNCH: The Vegas over/under for Vikings-Saints seems a tad low (49.5 points, courtesy of OddsShark.com), considering the following notables:

a) Charting the clubs’ eight head-to-head meetings during the Brees/Sean Payton era in New Orleans (2006-present), the Saints and Vikings cracked the 50-point cumulative mark five different times.

b) Brees has accounted for 26 touchdowns (one rushing) in his last seven games. During this prolific stretch, the Saints have averaged 36.3 points.

c) New Orleans and Minnesota both rank in the NFL’s bottom half with passing yards allowed.

d) The Vikings return their full complement of star playmakers on Sunday, with Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen and running back Dalvin Cook (1,654 total yards/13 TDs in only 14 games) all good to go.

e) Technically, this isn’t a revenge game for the Saints, who rolled over the Vikings on the road last season.

However, this does mark the first postseason meeting of these championship contenders … since the famed/infamous Minneapolis Miracle in January 2018.

In other words, don’t expect Brees, Payton and Co. to ease up on Minnesota, if it’s a blowout-type situation early in the second half.

SEATTLE (11-5) @ PHILADELPHIA (9-7)

TIME: 4:40 p.m. EST
LINE: Eagles (+1.5) … Over/Under: 45
REFEREE: Shawn Smith
TV: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michelle Tafoya (NBC)

FUN FACT: Carson Wentz is vying to become the fourth Eagles quarterback in 36 years to win a home playoff game, with Donovan McNabb, Nick Foles and Rodney Peete — yes, Rodney Peete! — serving as Philly’s other home heroes during this span.

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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