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PIGSKIN PERFECTION: The glorious ‘You Are Looking Live!’ preview of NFL Week 14

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Chiefs-Dolphins, Vikings-Bucs, Cardinals-Giants, Packers-Lions, Colts-Raiders, Ravens-Browns and Steelers-Bills highlight the robust slate for NFL Week 14.

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 14

SUNDAY

KANSAS CITY (11-1) @ MIAMI (8-4)

TIME: 1 p.m. EST
LINE: Dolphins (+7 1/2) … Over/Under: 50.5
REFEREE: Clay Martin
TV ANNOUNCERS: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson (CBS)

FUN FACT: Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes (five-game averages: 383 yards passing, 3 TDs) has squared off with 22 of the NFL’s 31 opponents … but never against the Dolphins.

BETTOR’S HUNCH: The Dolphins have surrendered 22 or more points just once in the last eight games; and yet, the Vegas experts have the Chiefs as a touchdown-plus favorite on the road. Even for the most ardent of Kansas City fans … it’s a big gamble for a sleepy 1 p.m. kickoff.

WHAT’S AT STAKE: Yes, the Chiefs and Steelers are tied at 11-1; but the onus remains on the former, coming down the stretch.

Why is that?

Kansas City’s lone defeat occurred inside the AFC West (Las Vegas); but Pittsburgh has yet to suffer a loss within the conference.

MINNESOTA (6-6) @ TAMPA BAY (7-5)

TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Buccaneers (-6 1/2) … Over/Under: 52.5
REFEREE: Brad Allen
TV ANNOUNCERS: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews (FOX)
KEEPING UP WITH THE TRENDS:
 Go ahead and pencil in Vikings wideout Adam Thielen for monster numbers this week, perhaps in the blueblood neighborhood of Davante Adams.

Thielen (five TDs since Week 10) has scored at least one touchdown in his last four regular-season outings against NFC South foes; and for last year’s playoff clash with the Saints, Thielen crushed the competition for seven catches and 129 yards.

Here’s something else to celebrate: The Bucs currently own bottom-10 rankings versus opposing wideouts, in the all-encompassing categories of targets, receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns allowed.

ARIZONA (6-6) @ N.Y. GIANTS (5-7)

TIME: 1 p.m. EST
LINE: Giants (+3) … Over/Under: 45.5
REFEREE: Ron Torbert
TV ANNOUNCERS: Kenny Albert, Jonathan Vilma, Shannon Spake (FOX)

FANTASY LEAP OF FAITH: We’re playing a hunch with Evan Engram this week, in terms of being a top-10 tight end, despite much evidence to the contrary:

****The Cardinals have surrendered the fifth-fewest touchdowns to opposing tight ends.

****Engram hasn’t registered a home touchdown since the 2018 campaign.

****Only one tight end has cleared 50 yards receiving against Arizona this year (Detroit’s T.J. Hockenson).

So, why the formidable ranking for Engram?

Charting his last six outings, Engram has collected eight-plus targets five times and five-plus catches on four occasions.

HOUSTON (4-8) @ CHICAGO (5-7)

TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Bears (+1 1/2) … Over/Under: 45.5
REFEREE: Land Clark
TV ANNOUNCERS: Kevin Harlan, Trent Green, Melanie Collins (CBS)

PRELUDE TO A MAJOR BREAKOUT: You know who will be a sneaky-good second-round pick in PPR leagues next year? Bears tailback David Montgomery.

****In his last two outings, Mongtomery owns supreme averages of 127 total yards and 1.5 touchdowns.

****Montgomery’s on pace for 1,200-plus total yards and 7-8 touchdowns.

****Since Week 5, Montgomery boasts an elite catch-to-target rate of 83 percent (30 of 36 targets).

****From Weeks 4-8, Montgomery posted five straight outings of five-plus receptions.

****For the season, Montgomery has modestly topped 30 receiving yards six times.

****And regarding this week’s matchup, Montgomery encounters a Texans defense which holds bottom-6 rankings with rushing yards, rushing touchdowns and receiving yards allowed to opposing backs.

TENNESSSEE (8-4) @ JACKSONVILLE (1-11)

TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Jaguars (+7 1/2) … Over/Under: 52.5
REFEREE: Adrian Hill
TV ANNOUNCERS: Spero Dedes, Adam Archuleta (CBS)

MR. HENRY’S FINAL FLURRY: Even counting last week’s clunker against the Browns, Titans tailback Derrick Henry has amassed 100 total yards and/or one touchdown in eight of his last 10 December outings.

For that prolific stretch, the NFL’s reigning rushing king boasts superb averages of 117 total yards and 1.2 touchdowns.

And then there’s this: The 1-11 Jaguars currently rank in the bottom 10 for rushing yards, rushing touchdowns and receiving TDs yielded to opposing backs.

BETTOR’S HUNCH: The fallible Jaguars remain in contention for the Trevor Lawrence Sweepstakes, but that doesn’t mean they’ve been tanking down the stretch.

In fact, four of Jacksonville’s last five defeats involved a spread of four or fewer points; and let’s not forget the Jaguars racked up 30 points in their Week 2 defeat to the Titans.

The only problem for Sunday: Tennessee cannot afford to look past Jacksonville, after squandering its lead in the AFC South last week.

DENVER (4-8) @ CAROLINA (4-8)

TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Panthers (-3) … Over/Under: 45.5
REFEREE: Shawn Hochuli
TV ANALYSTS: Andrew Catalon, James Lofton, Sherree Burruss (CBS)

A WORD ABOUT CMC: I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV … so please take the following fantasy criticism with a grain of salt:

You’re an idiot for benching Christian McCaffrey this weekend — IF, IF, IF he suits up against the Broncos.

Yes, we’re all aware of the Negative Nelly reports alluding to McCaffrey’s quad injury, an ailment that’s separate from his bruised shoulder.

And yes, there’s certainly a chance the Panthers will put a proverbial pitch count on CMC’s touches, limiting his fantasy upside for quarterfinal-playoff weekend.

Still, an active benching makes no sense, given these notables:

a) McCaffrey holds elite-level averages of 124 total yards and two touchdowns in his three games this season. Along those lines, he owns a staggering catch-to-target rate of 89 percent.

b) The Broncos own bottom-12 rankings with opposing tailbacks, citing rushing yards and rushing touchdowns surrendered.

c) Even if McCaffrey collects merely half of his seasonal touches output (25.3 per game) … he’s still a relative lock for four catches, 85 yards and one touchdown.

Which brings us to this: Are you willing to leave McCaffrey’s minimum-bar effort of 18.5 points on the bench, come Sunday?

WEEK 14 PREP WORK

PASSING FANCY: Wilson, Rodgers, Mahomes headline the QB rankings
RUN TO GLORY: Ekeler, Henry, McCaffrey carry the top 60 PPR backs
TARGET PRACTICE: Hill, Thielen, Adams highlight the top 75 PPR WRs
BIG & BAD: Kelce, Engram, Hockenson lead this week’s PPR tight ends

FUN WITH NUMBERS: 10 super-fun facts to ponder for Playoff Week 14
PIGSKIN PERFECTION: ‘You Are Looking Live!’ preview of NFL Week 14
WANNA BET? Our 15 best NCAA, NFL gambling picks for this weekend

DALLAS (3-9) @ CINCINNATI (2-9-1)

TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Bengals (+3 1/2) … Over/Under: 43
REFEREE: John Hussey
TV ANNOUNCERS: Kevin Kugler, Chris Spielman, Laura Okmin (FOX)

DIRE FANTASY WARNING: Strange but true: Cowboys tailback Ezekiel Elliott hasn’t reached the end zone in his last five games against AFC foes.

What’s more, Elliott hasn’t posted a rushing touchdown since Week 5, making his current seven-game drought the longest of his decorated career.

(To be fair, Zeke notched a receiving score versus the Vikings in Week 11.)

Put it all together, and this doesn’t bode well for Sunday’s matchup with the Bengals, who have given up the seventh-fewest rushing touchdowns to opposing tailbacks.

INDIANAPOLIS (8-4) @ LAS VEGAS (7-5)

TIME: 4:05 p.m. EST
LINE: Raiders (+3) … Over/Under: 52
REFEREE: Clete Blakeman
TV ANNOUNCERS: Ian Eagle, Charles Davis, Evan Washburn (CBS)

OLD RIVALS REVISITED: Philip Rivers has enjoyed a nice surge with the Colts, tallying averages of 291 yards passing and two touchdowns in his last seven games.

Should fantasy owners expect a similarly stellar output this week against the Raiders? That’s a tough one to answer.

In his last three meetings with the Raiders (then as a Charger), Rivers posted middling averages of 236 yards and 1.3 touchdowns.

However, in the three encounters before that, Rivers rolled for superb averages of 331 yards and two touchdowns against the Raiders.

Here’s one more thing: Charting the Raiders’ last five games, the opposing quarterback has racked up multiple touchdowns four times.

N.Y. JETS (0-12) @ SEATTLE (8-4)

TIME: 4:05 p.m.
LINE: Seahawks (-13 1/2) … Over/Under: 47
REFEREE: Scott Novak
TV ANNOUNCERS: Greg Gumbel, Rich Gannon, Jay Feely (CBS)

THE SECRET TO MY (FANTASY) SUCCESS: Jamison Crowder holds painfully mediocre averages of three catches and 40 yards in his last four games; and yet, fantasy owners would be foolish to bench the Jets receiver in PPR leagues this week.

Why is that?

a) The Seahawks defense ranks dead-last in targets, receptions and receiving yards allowed to opposing wideouts.

b) New York’s typically barren offense has averaged 21.5 points in his last four games; and that includes a three-point clunker against Miami.

c) Crowder notched double-digit targets in his first four games this season; and he collected seven last week with Sam Darnold under center.

d) In his last five road outings, Crowder has respectable averages of six catches, 67 yards and 0.8 touchdowns; and that includes a one-catch, 16-yard debacle from Week 11.

GREEN BAY (9-3) @ DETROIT (5-7)

TIME: 4:25 p.m. EST
LINE: Lions (+7 1/2) … Over/Under: 55
REFEREE: Alex Kemp
TV ANALYSTS: Adam Amin, Mark Schlereth, Lindsay Czarniak (FOX)

GREEN MACHINE, GREEN MACHINE: Packers QB Aaron Rodgers (3,395 yards passing, 37 total TDs, 4 INTs) could easily claim NFL MVP honors at season’s end. But that’s a worry for another month.

For playoff Week 14, Rodgers (seven straight outings of three-plus touchdowns) should post top-3 stats among quarterbacks, citing two nuggets:

a) Rodgers holds robust averages of 313 yards passing and 3.2 TDs in his last five games played indoors.

b) The Lions own bottom-10 rankings in passing yards and passing touchdowns surrendered to opposing quarterbacks.

HARDLY STARVIN’: Charting his last eight meetings with the Packers, Lions wideout Marvin Jones (8 catches, 116 yards, 1 TD vs. Chicago last week) has scored at least one touchdown six times; and two of the games yielded multiple trips to the end zone.

ATLANTA (4-8) @ L.A. CHARGERS (3-9)

TIME: 4:25 p.m.
LINE: Chargers (+1 1/2) … Over/Under: 49.5
REFEREE: Tony Corrente
TV ANNOUNCERS: Joe Davis, Brock Huard, Jenny Taft (FOX)

KEENAN’S WORLD: The Chargers’ 45-0 home drubbing to the Patriots last week might have been embarrassingly one-sided, but we’re willing to look past that debacle for Week 14.

Namely with Chargers wideout Keenan Allen. Here’s why:

****Since Week 2, covering 11 games total, Allen has amassed double-digit targets nine times.

****Last week’s clunker snapped Allen’s streak of five consecutive outings of one touchdown.

****The Falcons defense owns bottom-6 rankings with opposing wideouts, citing the crucial categories of receptions, targets and receiving yards.

****Here’s a trend worth noting: Allen hasn’t posted three straight games of less than 100 yards receiving this season. (He’s due for another century game.)

NEW ORLEANS (10-2) @ PHILADELPHIA (3-8-1)

TIME: 4:25 p.m.
LINE: Eagles (+7) … Over/Under: 42.5
REFEREE: Jerome Boger
TV ANALYSTS: Kevin Burkhardt, Darryl Johnston, Pam Oliver (FOX)

BETTOR’S HUNCH: The Taysom Hill vs. Jalen Hurts matchup apparently doesn’t leave much to be desired, in terms of the over/under tally of 43 points.

But check this out: Citing the last five head-to-head meetings in Philadelphia, the Saints and Eagles have enjoyed a cumulative average of 58.4 points … with none of the clashes falling below 50 points.

Throw in the weather forecast of dry and 56 degrees … and this might be the easiest OVER call of the weekend.

WASHINGTON (5-7) vs. SAN FRANCISCO (5-7)

TIME: 4:25 p.m.
VENUE: State Farm Stadium (Glendale, Arizona)
LINE: Niners (-3) … Over/Under: 43
REFEREE: Carl Cheffers

TV ANNOUNCERS: Chris Myers, Greg Jennings, Jennifer Hale (FOX)
WHAT’S AT STAKE: Washington deserves major props for executing the Upset of the Season last week, knocking off the previously unblemished Steelers on the road.

However, the victory didn’t change a thing in the NFC East race; and if anything, the surprise win now puts even more pressure on the Woofties … since they’re only one game out of Wild Card contention.

PITTSBURGH (11-1) @ BUFFALO (9-3)

TIME: 8:20 p.m. EST
LINE: Bills (-2) … Over/Under: 48
REFEREE: Shawn Smith

TV ANALYSTS: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michelle Tafoya (NBC)
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: There’s a good news/bad news proposition with Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, in relation to this weekend’s mega-clash with the Bills:

On the positive front, Big Ben boasts supreme averages of 295 yards passing and 2.3 touchdowns in his last four December road games.

Plus, the Bills are a middling defense, in terms of completions, passing yards and passing TDs allowed to opposing quarterbacks.

On the negative side, Roethlisberger has never recorded a touchdown pass at Buffalo.

MONDAY

BALTIMORE (7-5) @ CLEVELAND (9-3)

TIME: 8:15 p.m. EST
LINE: Browns (+2 1/2) … Over/Under: 47
REFEREE: Bill Vinovich
TV CREW: Steve Levy, Brian Griese, Louis Riddick, Lisa Salters (ESPN)

WHAT’S AT STAKE: The Ravens are ostensibly playing for their postseason lives on Monday night. A loss would drop Baltimore to 7-6 overall … but the conference record would be a lowly 4-6.

At this moment, no other viable playoff contender from the AFC has a losing conference mark.

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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