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PIGKSIN PERFECTION: The glorious ‘You Are Looking Live!’ preview of NFL Week 12

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Texans-Lions, Titans-Colts, Ravens-Steelers, Bears-Packers and Chiefs-Bucs highlight the robust slate for holiday Week 12.

Four 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 programming.

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 3-7 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 12

THURSDAY

HOUSTON (3-7) @ DETROIT (4-6)

TIME: 12:30 p.m. EST
LINE: Lions (+3) … Over/Under: 51.5
REFEREE: Shawn Smith
TV ANNOUNCERS: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson (CBS)

FUN FACT: Here’s some deodorant to cover up the stench of the Lions’ baffling shutout versus Carolina:

For his two career Thanksgiving starts against non-divisional foes, quarterback Matthew Stafford owns supreme averages of 389 yards passing and 3.5 touchdowns — including a 441-yard explosion against the Texans back in 2012.

WASHINGTON (3-7) @ DALLAS (3-7)

TIME: 4:30 p.m. EST
LINE: Cowboys (-3) … Over/Under: 46
REFEREE: Clay Martin
TV ANNOUNCERS: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews (FOX)
HOLIDAY HOME SWEET HOME:
 Washington’s defense has surrendered the fourth-fewest rushing touchdowns to opposing tailbacks this year (5). But that hasn’t deterred us from bestowing a top-five ranking to Ezekiel Elliott this week, among fantasy backs.

Here’s why:

****The streaky Elliott posted his first 100-yard rushing day of the season last week, suggesting the Ohio State product’s at full strength.

****Charting his three Thanksgiving Day starts, Elliott boasts excellent averages of 133 total yards and one touchdown.

WHAT’S AT STAKE: Sad, but true. Thursday’s winner will momentarily possess first place in the NFC East standings.

SUNDAY

TENNESSEE (7-3) @ INDIANAPOLIS (7-3)

TIME: 1 p.m. EST
LINE: Colts (-3) … Over/Under: 51.5
REFEREE: John Hussey
TV ANNOUNCERS: Ian Eagle, Charles Davis, Evan Washburn (CBS)

BETTOR’S HUNCH: Here’s a contextual reason to favor the UNDER of 51.5 points:

Dating back to November 2017, citing the Titans-Colts rivalry, at least one team has scored 19 or fewer points in six consecutive clashes.

WHAT’S AT STAKE: It’s a must-win game for the Titans, in terms of taking the division lead and preserving any semblance of claiming the tiebreaker over the Colts (beat Tennessee in Week 9), at season’s end.

L.A. CHARGERS (3-7) @ BUFFALO (7-3)

TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Bills (-5 1/2) … Over/Under: 52.5
REFEREE: Alex Kemp
TV ANNOUNCERS: Greg Gumbel, Rich Gannon, Jay Feely (CBS)

EARLY WAKE-UP CALL: Chargers wideout Keenan Allen has been a white-hot asset in fantasyland this season. Since Week 2, Allen has collected seven outings of double-digit targets, six efforts of eight-plus catches, four games of 100-plus yards receiving and six touchdowns.

However, there is one Debby Downer stat to nitpick here:

Charting his last six games played in the Eastern Time Zone, Allen found the end zone just one time (Week 10 at Miami).

WEEK 12 PREP WORK

PASSING FANCY: Murray, Mahomes, Big Ben headline the QB rankings
RUN TO GLORY: Chubb, Cook, Henry, Kamara carry the top PPR backs
TARGET PRACTICE: Fuller, Adams, Hill highlight the top 75 PPR WRs
BIG & BAD: Waller, Andrews, Fant, Kelce lead the top 30 PPR tight ends

PIGSKIN PERFECTION: The ‘You Are Looking Live!’ preview for Week 12
GOOD BEATS: 15 sweet betting picks for the NCAAF, NFL weekend

ARIZONA (6-4) @ NEW ENGLAND (4-6)

TIME: 1 p.m. EST
LINE: Patriots (+2 1/2) … Over/Under: 49.5
REFEREE: Bill Vinovich
TV ANNOUNCERS: Kevin Burkhardt, Darryl Johnston, Pam Oliver (FOX)

STRANGE BUT TRUE: Here’s an interesting fact about Cam Newton:

Even with the two October clunkers against the Broncos and 49ers, Newton has posted a completion rate of 60 percent or higher in all nine starts this season.

Here’s a second factoid regarding Newton’s track record:

It’s been three long years (October 2017) … since Newton eclipsed the 300-yard passing mark in back-to-back outings.

CAROLINA (4-7) @ MINNESOTA (4-6)

TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Vikings (-3 1/2) … Over/Under: 51
REFEREE: Brad Rogers
TV ANNOUNCERS: Kenny Albert, Jonathan Vilma, Shannon Spake (FOX)

FANTASY FIX: Forget about the Panthers’ shutout of the injury-wrecked Lions from last week.

Vikings tailback Dalvin Cook (NFL rushing touchdowns leader; nine straight outings of 100 total yards and/or one TD) still couldn’t have asked for a better matchup than Carolina’s wretched defense, which owns bottom-5 tallies with rushing yards and rushing touchdowns allowed to opposing backs.

LAS VEGAS (6-4) @ ATLANTA (3-7)

TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Falcons (+3) … Over/Under: 54
REFEREE: Land Clark
TV ANNOUNCERS: Kevin Harlan, Trent Green, Melanie Collins (CBS)

PLAYING DEVIL’S ADVOCATE: On paper, the Raiders-Falcons game has the potential for a boffo shootout, with both clubs sailing past the 30-point mark on a fast playing surface.

But here’s an opposing view, specifically regarding the UNDER at 54 points.

****Charting their five home games this season, Atlanta holds middling averages of 24.6 points.

****The Falcons surrendered 138 points for Weeks 1-4, a staggering average of 34.5 points. However, for Weeks 5-11, Atlanta has allowed 25 or more points just once.

N.Y. GIANTS (3-7) @ CINCINNATI (2-7-1)

TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Bengals (+6) … Over/Under: 43
REFEREE: Carl Cheffers
TV ANNOUNCERS: Kevin Kugler, Chris Spielman, Laura Okmin (FOX)

ON SHAKY GROUND: The Bengals have surrendered the second-most passing touchdowns (22), but will that matter this week?

Giants quarterback Daniel Jones has yet to eclipse the 300-yard passing mark or collect three or more touchdowns in a single game this season.

And of equal ignominy, Jones has failed to record a touchdown pass in five different games.

The lone saving grace here: In his last road start played outdoors on FieldTurf, Jones accounted for 308 yards passing and four touchdowns.

Unfortunately, this golden outing also came against the Jets … in Jones’ own home park (MetLife Stadium).

MIAMI (6-4) @ N.Y. JETS (0-10)

TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Jets (+7) … Over/Under: 44.5
REFEREE: Adrian Hill
TV ANNOUNCERS: Andrew Catalon, James Lofton, A.J. Ross (CBS)

WHAT’S AT STAKE: No one’s expecting Adam Gase to return as the Jets’ head coach in 2021, regardless of whether the club can avoid becoming the third 0-16 team in modern-day NFL history (along with the 2008 Lions, 2017 Browns).

At the same time, few can accuse the talent-deprived and injury-laden Jets of quitting on their embattled head coach. Three of the last four defeats have been by a respectable margin (eight points or less); and since Week 4, the New York offense has recorded 27-plus points three times.

In other words, the Dolphins better not come out flat for Sunday’s sleepy kickoff time. Odds-wise, this weekend should be the Jets’ best statistical chance at securing Victory No. 1.

CLEVELAND (7-3) @ JACKSONVILLE (1-9)

TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Jaguars (+6 1/2) … Over/Under: 49
REFEREE: Jerome Boger
TV ANNOUNCERS: Spero Dedes, Adam Archuleta (CBS)

DID YOU KNOW … in his last five games, dating back to Week 2, Browns tailback Nick Chubb has tallied four 100-yard rushing outings and five touchdowns.

BALTIMORE (6-4) @ PITTSBURGH (10-0)

TIME: 1:15 p.m. EST
LINE: Steelers (-4 1/2) … Over/Under: 45
REFEREE: Ron Torbert
TV ANALYSTS: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michelle Tafoya (NBC)

MR. NOVEMBER: Charting his last 10 home games during the month of November, Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger holds absurd averages of 344 yards passing and 3.4 touchdowns.

WHAT’S AT STAKE: A Steelers victory wouldn’t officially clinch the AFC North crown. On that note, though, good luck finding three probable Pittsburgh losses from Weeks 13-17.

NEW ORLEANS (8-2) @ DENVER (4-6)

TIME: 4:05 p.m. EST
LINE: Broncos (+6) … Over/Under: 43.5
REFEREE: Craig Wrolstad
TV ANALYSTS: Adam Amin, Mark Schlereth, Lindsay Czarniak (FOX)

BETTOR’S HUNCH: We’re OK with dismissing Saints tight end-turned-quarterback Taysom Hill’s chances of success for at least another week.

It’s one thing to pick apart the Falcons at home (233 yards passing, two rushing TDs), but it’s another issue to dominate a worthy defense on the road.

(The Broncos rank 7th in sacks, and own top-15 marks with fewest passing yards and passing touchdowns allowed.)

Which brings us to this …

We’ll happily ride the Broncos covering the six points (source: OddsShark.com), now that quarterback Drew Lock has his full arsenal of playmakers (Jerry Jeudy, Melvin Gordon, Noah Fant, KJ Hamler, Tim Patrick, Phillip Lindsay).

SAN FRANCISCO (4-6) @ L.A. RAMS (7-3)

TIME: 4:05 p.m.
LINE: Rams (-6 1/2) … Over/Under: 45
REFEREE: Scott Novak
TV CREW: Chris Myers, Brock Huard, Greg Jennings, Jen Hale (FOX)

RUNNING ON EMPTY: Don’t count on any Rams or Niners running back collecting multiple touchdowns on Sunday; and while we’re at it, please avoid any bets involving Raheem Mostert (back from IR), Darrell Henderson, Jerick McKinnon or Malcolm Brown eclipsing the 100-yard rushing mark.

Why is that?

For the season, opposing backs are averaging 3.54 yards per carry against the Niners; and that tally ticks just slightly higher with the Rams defense (3.89 yards rush).

What’s more, opposing tailbacks are merely averaging 0.5 rushing touchdowns per game versus the Rams and 49ers.

KANSAS CITY (9-1) @ TAMPA BAY (7-4)

TIME: 4:25 p.m. EST
LINE: Buccaneers (+3 1/2) … Over/Under: 56
REFEREE: Shawn Hochuli

TV ANNOUNCERS: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson (CBS)
HERE’S THE TWEET: You wouldn’t typically associate a G.O.A.T. like Tom Brady (six Lombardi trophies, three NFL MVPs, nearly 80,000 yards passing) with failure during primetime games … but the numbers don’t lie (below):

CHICAGO (5-5) @ GREEN BAY (7-3)

TIME: 8:20 p.m. EST
LINE: Packers (-8 1/2) … Over/Under: 45
REFEREE: Clete Blakeman

TV ANNOUNCERS: Mike Tirico, Tony Dungy, Kathryn Tappen (NBC)
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has notched three or more touchdowns in five consecutive games; and during this prolific run, the Packers have averaged 29.2 points per contest.

On the flip side, the Bears (31st in scoring offense) have exceeded 23 points only twice this season. Ugh.

MONDAY

SEATTLE (7-3) @ PHILADELPHIA (3-6-1)

TIME: 8:15 p.m. EST
LINE: Eagles (+5) … Over/Under: 50
REFEREE: Brad Allen
TV CREW: Steve Levy, Brian Griese, Louis Riddick, Lisa Salters (ESPN)

WHAT’S AT STAKE: Think about it. If the Eagles upend the Seahawks, Philadelphia might have better odds of reaching the NFC playoffs than Seattle.

How is that possible?

In victory, the Eagles would have the inside path to the NFC East crown (cue ‘sad clown’ music); and the Seahawks (even at 7-4) would be in danger of eventually missing out on the 7-seed … since Seattle and Chicago could potentially have three conference losses.

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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