ESPN’s Weekend and Monday NFL Studio Features
ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown Presented by IBM will preview the day’s matchups Sunday at 11 a.m. ET with 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.
The two-hour program will include reports from Rachel Nichols covering the Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants, Sal Paolantonio in Baltimore for the Colts at Ravens, Ed Werder in Dallas for the Redskins at Cowboys, and Michael Smith covering the New York Jets at New England Patriots. Other highlights:
4th Down Decisions: On Sunday night, Patriots coach Bill Belichick made a coaching decision to go for it on fourth down and two yards at his own 28-yard line. The play didn’t work and ultimately led to the Patriots loss against the Colts. Belichick is one of several NFL coaches who have studied the work of a former Cal-Berkeley economics professor – who advocates coaches being much more aggressive going for it on fourth down. Greg Garber examines Belichick’s decision and whether strange mathematical symbols and theories should intersect on the football field.
The Island: No position is more isolated on a football field than cornerback. When left in one-on-one coverage, it’s often stated that cornerbacks are out on “the island.” Pro Bowl cornerbacks Champ Bailey and Nnamdi Asomugha share their knowledge – and Keyshawn Johnson takes a visit to “the island” with Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis as his guide.
Colts D: Symbols of Success: The Colts defense has lost three starters for the year, but, instead of talking X’s and O’s, Colts head coach Jim Caldwell is talking Chinese characters. He’s told his team about the symbol for crisis – it includes one character meaning danger, the other standing for opportunity or crucial moment. Bob Holtzman reports on how the symbols have been metaphors for the Colts’ perfect season thus far.
Mayne Event – Maurice Jones-Drew’s Revenge: Maurice Jones-Drew leads the league in rushing touchdowns – and could have had one more if not for kneeling at the one-yard line against the Jets last Sunday. Some thought it was a strategy play, but in this week’s Mayne Event, Kenny Mayne finds out Jones-Drew was getting revenge – and on whom.
Soundtracks: Chargers-Broncos Rivalry: The Chargers and Broncos have been the rivalry to watch in the AFC West. Battling for first place in the division along with a fair share of bad blood can make for some interesting sights and sounds in this week’s Soundtracks.
Wide Receiver Demo: The Island: Countdown’s former Pro Bowl wide receivers Johnson and Carter take to the demo field to show how they attacked cornerbacks on “the island” and which wide receivers are most dangerous to defend one-on-one. Johnson and Carter debate whether the “cover corner” is a dying breed in today’s NFL, as Randy Moss suggested earlier this season.
Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em with Matthew Berry and Merril Hoge: ESPN’s fantasy football guru Matthew Berry and NFL analyst Merril Hoge debate which players to start or sit this weekend.
Berman, Carter, Ditka, Jackson and Johnson will pick the biggest games of the day and tell fans which players will make the biggest impact in NFL’s Week 11 action. The list of game picks will be posted on www.espn.com/sundaycountdown after the show.
MONDAY NIGHT COUNTDOWN, 7 P.M. ON ESPN
Monday Night Countdown Served by Applebee’s with Berman, Carter, Ditka, Jackson, Johnson, Mortensen and Schefter (in Bristol) and Stuart Scott, Matt Millen and Steve Young (at the MNF game in Houston) will review Sunday’s games and preview Monday Night Football. The 90-minute, pre-game show will lead into the kickoff of the Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans (8:30 p.m.) game, featuring Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski.
Reporters Suzy Kolber (Titans) and Michele Tafoya (Texans) will cover the teams. Other highlights:
Soundtracks: DeMeco Ryans: Texans Pro Bowl linebacker DeMeco Ryans may be the best player who still is not a household name in the NFL. The 2006 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year is wired for sound as he battles Maurice Jones-Drew in a game earlier this season.
ESPN The Magazine’s For Love or the Game: Matt Schaub: Monday Night Countdown and ESPN The Magazine will feature Texans quarterback Matt Schaub this week. Schaub’s wife, Laurie, and his teammate David Anderson will battle to see who really knows Schaub better.
WEEKLY MONDAY NIGHT COUNTDOWN SEGMENTS
TEAMS AT 20 – Every 20 minutes reporters Tafoya and Kolber will update news from the teams in their preparations for the game, beginning with NFL Live at 3:30 p.m.
FIELD PASS – Countdown offers an all-access look at pre-game preparations as the players get ready for kickoff. Analysts will also breakdown the important storylines and key players before the game.
C’MON MAN – Countdown personalities share their head-scratching plays from Week 11.
In addition, Monday Night Football’s Tirico, Jaworski and Gruden will preview the night’s match-up, with Mortensen and Schefter covering breaking news from around the league, and the Countdown analysts offering their “Lead Pipe Lock” predictions for the game.
NFL MATCHUP, SUNDAY 3 A.M. AND 7:30 A.M. ON ESPN
NFL Matchup with host Sal Paolantonio and analysts Merril Hoge and Ron Jaworski will preview the weekend’s games by bringing viewers inside the film room for the Xs and Os analysis of the matchups. The 30-minute program – taped each week at NFL Films in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey – highlights team strategy and game planning. This week’s features:
Jets @ Patriots: Patriots Offense – Jaworski goes ‘Inside the Matchup’ to clarify how the Patriots can use an extra offensive lineman or a tight end to help protect against the Jets’ complex blitz schemes.
Jets @ Patriots: Mark Sanchez – Hoge pulls out his ‘Coaches Clicker’ to highlight how rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez needs to be more disciplined with his footwork in the pocket.
Chargers @ Broncos – Hoge shows how San Diego can use screens to provide a pseudo running game.
Redskins @ Cowboys – Tony Romo is the most blitzed quarterback in the NFL. Jaworski illustrates how Romo and the Cowboys’ offensive line have struggled to recognize and adjust to blitz pressure.
Colts @ Ravens – Hoge spotlights how the combination of player alignment and Manning’s ability to manipulate defenders makes it nearly impossible to stop the Colts offense on certain plays.
Seahawks @ Vikings – The Vikings are 8-1 for the first time since 1998, due in no small part to Brett Favre. Matchup goes ‘Beyond the Film Room’ onto the field for a glimpse of Favre when he’s playing quarterback.
Eagles @ Bears – Hoge reveals how Donovan McNabb needs to make quicker reads and throw with more accuracy in the red zone if the Eagles want to avoid wearing out their field goal kicker.
Titans @ Texans – Jaworski displays how the Titans have used Vince Young’s talents wisely both to help him feel comfortable and to take advantage of Chris Johnson, arguably the most dangerous running back in the game.
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