ESPN’s NFL Divisional Playoffs Weekend Features
ESPN will provide comprehensive coverage of the NFL Divisional Playoffs via two editions of Sunday NFL Countdown – a one-hour special Saturday, Jan. 16, at 11 a.m. ET, and the regular two-hour edition Sunday, Jan. 17, at 11 a.m. – with host Chris Berman and analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson. ESPN senior analyst Chris Mortensen and NFL insider Adam Schefter will provide headlines and league news. Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden will also join the crew via satellite on Sunday and offer analysis of the weekend’s games.
NFL Matchup with host Sal Paolantonio and analysts Merril Hoge and Ron Jaworski will also feature Saturday and Sunday editions (7:30 a.m.). NFL PrimeTime will air two live shows – Saturday, 12:30 a.m. overnight, with Trey Wingo, Hoge and Trent Dilfer, and Sunday at 8:30 p.m. with Berman and Jackson.
NFL studio programs on ESPN this weekend:
|Sat., Jan. 16||7:30 a.m.||NFL Matchup
Paolantonio, Hoge and Jaworski
|11 a.m.||Sunday NFL Countdown presented by IBM (one-hour)
Berman, Carter, Ditka, Jackson, Johnson, Mortensen and Schefter
|12:30 a.m.||NFL PrimeTime
Wingo, Dilfer and Hoge
|Sun., Jan. 17||7:30 a.m.||NFL Matchup
Paolantonio, Hoge and Jaworski
|11 a.m.||Sunday NFL Countdown presented by IBM (two-hours)
Berman, Carter, Ditka, Jackson, Johnson, Gruden, Mortensen and Schefter
|8:30 p.m.||NFL PrimeTime
Berman and Jackson
Sunday NFL Countdown features (Saturday):
- ESPN The Magazine’s Rick Reilly will narrate an ode to Saints quarterback Drew Brees, reflecting on the past and looking towards the future as Brees attempts to lead the Saints to their first Super Bowl;
- Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs is a jokester in the locker room, but turns into attack mode on game day. This week’s Unmasked goes under the helmet and reveals the two faces of Suggs;
- Saturday’s Soundtracks will feature Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis.
Sunday NFL Countdown features (Sunday):
- Chris Berman’s one-on-one interview with Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson;
- A Greg Garber feature on Vikings quarterback Brett Favre, as 40-something quarterbacks of the past Warren Moon and Lenny Dawson help put Favre’s season into context;
- An Ed Werder feature on the Cowboys and their team-first attitude in Dallas;
- Brett Favre’s love of blue jeans may have gone too far and the Vikings locker room could be a house divided as Kenny Mayne finds out in this week’s Mayne Event;
- Trent Dilfer will demonstrate in the film room how Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is avoiding mistakes and making big plays;
- And Johnson and Carter head to the demo field to show how Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis and Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson will match up.
On-site reporters at all four games:
ESPN’s NFL Divisional playoff coverage will include pre and post-game reports from all four stadiums: Saturday, Rachel Nichols (Cardinals-Saints) and Suzy Kolber (Ravens-Colts) and Sunday: Ed Werder (Cowboys-Vikings) and Sal Paolantonio (Jets-Chargers). Stories from the reporters will also be featured on SportsCenter.
State Farm NFL Matchup features (Saturday):
Cardinals vs. Saints
- Jaworski cracks open his ‘Playbook’ and gives us a look at why Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner is so successful when facing blitz pressure and Hoge breaks down how Arizona’s defenders must exhibit better discipline against the Saints’ misdirection running game.
- Jaworski takes us to ‘The Film Room’ and unveils how the Saints need to get their passing game back on track through their uncanny ability to create favorable mismatches using pre-snap alignment, formation, and movement, and Hoge will pull out his ‘Clicker’ and display how the Saints’ interior defensive line can be exploited.
Ravens vs. Colts
- Hoge illustrates the Ravens’ ability to play with great discipline and route recognition when playing zone coverage, and Jaworski reveals how quarterback Joe Flacco must come through again on big passing downs in order to keep his offense on the field, and to give Ray Rice more touches throughout the game.
- Hoge shows how the Colts used slants, stunts, and their speed to take advantage of a bigger and slower Ravens O-line in week 11, and Jaworski takes us ‘Inside The Matchup’, and explains how Peyton Manning’s consistent ability to get rid of the ball with timing and precision against free rushers will be a key factor against the Ravens.
State Farm NFL Matchup features (Sunday):
Cowboys vs. Vikings
- Hoge pulls out his ‘Clicker’ and breaks down how the Cowboys’ defense can take advantage of a porous Vikings offensive line, and displays how Dallas can successfully use misdirection in their offense this week to take advantage of the young and inexperienced Vikings Middle Linebacker, Jasper Brinkley. Jaworski unveils how the Cowboys can attack Minnesota’s Cover-2 defense.
- Jaworski highlights how the Vikings can and will create opportunities for Percy Harvin to work one-on-one over the middle against less athletic Cowboys linebackers.
Jets vs. Chargers
- Merril Hoge reveals how the Jets can attack San Diego on the ground using misdirection in their running game against a Chargers Defense that ranks 20th in the NFL at defending the run, and Jaworski will showcase how the scheme of the Jets’ running game can force defenders out of position, leaving huge passing lanes for Mark Sanchez.
- Jaws displays how the Chargers must have an answer for the multiple blitzes they are going to see this Sunday from the Jets and Hoge illustrates how the Chargers Offense can attack the unconventional Jets Defense.
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