PIGSKIN PERFECTION: The ‘You Are Looking Live!’ preview for NFL Week 6

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Browns-Steelers, Bears-Panthers, Ravens-Eagles, Packers-Bucs and Chiefs-Bills highlight an epic slate for NFL Week 6.

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 6

SUNDAY

CLEVELAND (4-1) @ PITTSBURGH (4-0)

TIME: 1 p.m. EST
LINE: Steelers (-3 1/2) … Over/Under: 51
REFEREE: John Hussey
TV ANNOUNCERS: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson (CBS)

IT’S GONNA HAPPEN: Browns receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (6 TDs in his last six games, dating back to last year) should greatly profit from Sunday’s clash with the Steelers, who currently rank in the bottom-3 with targets, catches, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns surrendered to opposing wideouts.

What’s more, Cleveland has permitted this same group to enjoy a catch-to-target rate of 65 percent this season.

DENVER (1-3) @ NEW ENGLAND (2-2)

TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Patriots (-9 1/2) … Over/Under: 44.5
REFEREE: Scott Novak
TV ANNOUNCERS: Kevin Harlan, Trent Green, Melanie Collins (CBS)

STEALTH IN THE SLOT: Charting his last seven home outings against AFC West foes (dating back to 2014), Patriots wideout Julian Edelman owns rock-solid averages of 7.4 catches, 85 yards and 0.4 touchdowns.

This bodes well for this week’s makeup matchup with the Broncos, who have yielded the eighth-most targets to opposing receivers … despite only logging four games on the season.

CHICAGO (4-1) @ CAROLINA (3-2)

TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Panthers (-1 1/2) … Over/Under: 44.5
REFEREE: Adrian Hill
TV ANNOUNCERS: Kenny Albert, Jonathan Vilma, Shannon Spake (FOX)

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS: David Montgomery owners, this is your week to command the fantasy spotlight.

Why is that?

Well, for starters, the Panthers rank either 30th, 31st or dead-last in the crucial categories of rushing touchdowns, targets, catches and receiving yards allowed to opposing tailbacks.

Also, Montgomery’s coming off a seven-catch, eight-target outing against the Bucs, suggesting the Iowa State product could soon become a starting fixture in PPR leagues.

On the down side, Montgomery has logged more than 14 carries just once this season; and it’s worth noting, the Bears really don’t have a relevant RB2 in fantasy circles (factoring in Tarik Cohen’s torn ACL injury).

WEEK 6 PREP WORK

QB RANKINGS: Mahomes, Brady, Murray highlight the Week 6 passers
RUSH TO GLORY: Davis, Mostert, Elliott, Henry lead the PPR backs
PLAYING CATCH: Hopkins, Golladay, Beckham fuel the WR rankings
BIG & BAD: Kelce, Andrews, Kittle headline Week 6’s PPR tight ends
PIGSKIN PERFECTION: ‘You Are Looking Live’ preview of NFL Week 6
GET YOUR FREE MONEY: Weekend’s sweetest NCAAF, NFL betting picks

BALTIMORE (4-1) @ PHILADELPHIA (1-3-1)

TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Eagles (+7 1/2) … Over/Under: 47.5
REFEREE: Shawn Smith
TV ANNOUNCERS: Ian Eagle, Charles Davis, Evan Washburn (CBS)

SLUGGISH OUT OF THE GATE: The Eagles defense has surrendered the fewest rushing yards to quarterbacks this season, a super-low tally of 27 yards off only 17 carries.

Does this mean Philly will easily keep reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson in check, come Sunday? Not necessarily.

However, good luck spinning how Jackson (zero 300-yard passing days, zero 100-yard rushing outings this year) finally has the right matchup to post monster numbers.

Just as we suspected in August, opposing NFL defenses are slowly figuring out how to game-plan against Jackson.

As such, in most fantasy leagues, the Louisville product currently ranks no higher than 14th in QB scoring.

CINCINNATI (1-3-1) @ INDIANAPOLIS (3-2)

TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Colts (-8) … Over/Under: 46.5
REFEREE: Land Clark
TV ANNOUNCERS: Kevin Kugler, Chris Spielman, Laura Okmin (FOX)

BETTOR’S HUNCH: Perhaps the eggheads/gambling experts at OddsShark.com have nailed the above point spread with the Bengals and Colts:

****Of the Colts’ last five victories, dating back to last season, the average victory margin shakes out to 21.2 points.

****Citing their previous seven road losses, the Bengals have an average defeat margin of 8.7 points.

ATLANTA (0-5) @ MINNESOTA (1-4)

TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Vikings (-4) … Over/Under: 54
REFEREE: Craig Wrolstad
TV ANNOUNCERS: Brandon Gaudin, Darryl Johnston, Pam Oliver (FOX)

PRELUDE TO A REBOUND: Falcons QB Matt Ryan has failed to throw at least one touchdown pass in back-to-back games (losses to Green Bay and Carolina), an ignominious feat that hadn’t been replicated since his rookie campaign of 2008.

Will Ryan experience a breakout against the Vikings, who rank in the bottom 10 for passing yards and passing touchdowns allowed?

It’s certainly a distinct possibility. Julio Jones (hamstring malady) will likely return to the Atlanta lineup … and Ryan holds respectable averages of 253 passing yards and 1.8 touchdowns in his previous five outings versus Minnesota.

DEVASTATING LOSS FOR US ALL: This game preview comes with a heavy heart, after learning of ESPN Falcons reporter Vaughn McClure’s shocking death from earlier in the week. He was 48.

I had a good relationship with McClure, even if we were never close enough to exchange phone numbers. But here’s a good recollection, conveying the man’s true class and every-day warmth.

Back in 2013, after filming a Web-TV spot for FOX Sports South, I noticed that Vaughn (a long-time ESPN writer) had inadvertently walked away from the Georgia Dome FieldTurf, without some of his essential work supplies (recorder, selfie stick, etc.).

At first, I thought of just leaving everything be on the field, believing McClure would eventually return to the now-vacant area.

However, maintenance crews were in a rush to clear that space, meaning Vaughn’s equipment might have gotten lost at some point. So, as a ho-hum gesture, I subsequently stalked the Georgia Dome hallways by the media area, holding all of McClure’s stuff.

And suddenly, Vaughn came sprinting around the corner, trying to retrace the steps of his lost items. He then lit up like a Christmas tree, upon seeing me with the equipment.

For my part, I didn’t think the gesture was that grand. But whenever seeing Vaughn at Falcons home games or the practice headquarters in Flowery Branch after that, he would always offer a bear hug and thank-you … for an act of kindness from seven years ago.

Rest in peace, Vaughn. You will be missed!

DETROIT (1-3) @ JACKSONVILLE (1-4)

TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Jaguars (+3) … Over/Under: 54.5
REFEREE: Shawn Hochuli
TV CREW: Chris Myers, Brock Huard, Greg Jennings, Jen Hale (FOX)

CHECK THIS OUT: Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford has been a rock-steady fantasy option since last October, posting seven-game averages of 304 yards passing and 2.6 touchdowns.

As such, this bodes well for Lions wideout Kenny Golladay come Sundady, citing three key reasons:

a) The Jaguars own a bottom-10 ranking with yards allowed to opposing receivers.

b) Opposing wideouts have enjoyed a catch-to-target rate of 71 percent versus Jacksonville.

c) Golladay (last year’s TD king, among wideouts) has accounted for five touchdowns in his last four games … with Stafford as the starter.

WASHINGTON (1-4) @ N.Y. GIANTS (0-5)

TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Giants (-3) … Over/Under: 43
REFEREE: Brad Allen
TV CREW: Adam Amin, Mark Schlereth, Lindsay Czarniak (FOX)

CURBED ENTHUSIASM: Giants wideout Darius Slayton (8 catches, 11 targets, 129 yards last week) has been an all-or-nothing proposition for fantasy owners this season, posting two games of 100-plus yards (two total touchdowns) … and then three clunkers of under 50 yards.

So, how should we read into Sunday’s matchup with Washington?

The Woofts (pluralized Washington Football Team) may be 1-4 and seemingly going nowhere, but don’t necessarily blame the cornerbacks.

To date, Washington holds robust top-10 rankings with opposing wideouts, covering targets and catches allowed; and the defense has yielded just two touchdowns to wide receivers.

Plus, it’s worth mentioning that Slayton collected only two catches, four targets and 13 yards in two games versus Washington last year — with the latter matchup producing 76 combined points.

HOUSTON (1-4) @ TENNESSEE (4-0)

TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Titans (-3.5) … Over/Under: 53.5
REFEREE: Alex Kemp
TV ANNOUNCERS: Greg Gumbel, Rich Gannon, Jay Feely (CBS)

RUN TO DAYLIGHT: The hapless Texans have allowed the fourth-most rushing touchdowns to opposing tailbacks this season, which partially explains the club’s shaky 1-4 start.

That’s a porous stat, but it’s nothing compared to the following:

Through five games, opposing rushers have enjoyed a staggering average of 6.94 yards per carry versus Houston; and the Texans still hadn’t encountered the run-happy Titans in 2020.

Speaking of which …

Derrick Henry, aka the NFL’s reigning rushing king, has amassed four touchdowns in his last two games; and charting his five previous meetings with the Texans, the Alabama product owns sturdy averages of 73 yards and 0.8 TDs.

BETTOR’S HUNCH: What’s with Tennessee getting only 3.5 points as a home favorite? Short of a complete meltdown … the Titans should win this intra-division clash by a minimum of 6-9 points. Bet the house on it!

N.Y. JETS (0-5) @ MIAMI (2-3)

TIME: 4:05 p.m. EST
LINE: Dolphins (-9 1/2) … Over/Under: 47
REFEREE: Bill Vinovich
TV ANALYSTS: Andrew Catalon, James Lofton, Sherree Burruss (CBS)

GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS: Wideout DeVante Parker has notched double-digit targets in eight of his last 16 games, a run of PPR success that perfectly coincides with Ryan Fitzpatrick serving as the Dolphins’ starting quarterback.

Which brings us to this …

For this year’s five-game start, Fitzpatrick has racked up 300 yards passing and/or three touchdowns four times, which might explain why hotshot rookie Tua Tagovailoa remains on the bench, taking understudy notes.

Now for the weird part: In 12 career meeting with the Jets, Fitzpatrick has never eclipsed the 300-yard passing mark versus New York.

GREEN BAY (4-0) @ TAMPA BAY (3-2)

TIME: 4:25 p.m. EST
LINE: Buccaneers (+1) … Over/Under: 55.5
REFEREE: Jerome Boger

TV ANNOUNCERS: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews (FOX)
RIDE THAT GUT FEELING: At first blush, the over-under tally for Packers vs. Bucs (55.5 points) seems a little high; but we’re not deterred here.

Simply put, there’s a reason why FOX has no other games in the 4:25 p.m. window on Sunday. It’s time for the league to break of its early-season malaise and give the American people want they want — a steady stream of passing fireworks between Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady.

On the flip side, Rodgers and Brady have combined for seven Lombardi trophies, 36 NFL seasons and more than 124,000 career passing yards; and yet, the two future Hall of Famers have squared off — as starters — only twice.

And for the two outings (2014, 2018), the Packers and Patriots combined for a so-so average of 47.5 total points.

L.A. RAMS (4-1) @ SAN FRANCISCO (2-3)

TIME: 8:20 p.m. EST
LINE: 49ers (+3) … Over/Under: 51.5
REFEREE: Carl Cheffers

TV CREW: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michelle Tafoya (NBC)
WHAT THE FRICK? The 49ers are a shocking 0-3 at home this season, losing to the Cardinals, Eagles and Dolphins; and guess what, you could make a viable case for Suicide Pool owners getting jobbed in all three defeats, since San Francisco was a prohibitive favorite in each case.

FUN FACT: Niners tight end George Kittle has amassed 100 yards receiving or scored one touchdown in his last five meetings with the rival Rams. During this prolific stretch, the All-Pro posted supreme averages of 6.2 catches, 106 yards and 0.6 TDs.

MONDAY

KANSAS CITY (4-1) @ BUFFALO (4-1)

TIME: 5 p.m. EST
LINE: Bills (+4 1/2) … Over/Under: 57.5
REFEREE: Ron Torbert
TV CREW: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews, Kristina Pink (FOX)

WEEKDAY WARRIORS: Two weeks ago, the Chiefs became the fourth team in NFL history to play back-to-back regular-season games on a Monday night.

Fast forward to the present: The Bills will become the first club in league history to do the Tuesday-Monday thing in consecutive weeks.

ARIZONA (1-3) @ DALLAS (2-2)

TIME: 8:15 p.m.
LINE: Cowboys (+1 1/2) … Over/Under: 55
REFEREE: Clete Blakeman
TV CREW: Steve Levy, Brian Griese, Louis Riddick, Lisa Salters (ESPN)

TEXAS-SIZED STANDOFF: BATSBY Sports currently has Kyler Murray ranked as the No. 2 quarterback this week, the dual result of his strong track record (averaging 31.3 fantasy points per game) and the Cowboys surrendering the fourth-most passing touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks.

But ay the rub: Dallas hasn’t allowed a single QB-rushing touchdown this year, and five of Murray’s 13 touchdowns have come on the ground.

In other words, something has to give with this Monday matchup; and given how the Cowboys rank dead-last in scoring defense … we’re inclined to ride the remarkable Murray on national TV.

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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