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 Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants, Sal Paolantonio in Atlanta for the Eagles at Falcons, Ed Werder in Indianapolis for the Titans at Colts, Michael Smith in Miami for the Patriots at Dolphins, and Bob Holtzman covering the New Orleans Saints at Washington Redskins. Other highlights:
Titans Turnaround: Magic No. 18: It started innocently enough in October, when the 0-6 Titans coach Jeff Fisher wore a Peyton Manning jersey at a charity auction and proclaimed, “I just wanted to feel like a winner.” Since then, Tennessee has had five straight wins and this week comes head-to-head against Manning. Greg Garber tracks the tale of the “magic jersey” and its role in the Titans’ turnaround with the help of country music star Martina McBride, who bought the jersey at a charity event and debuts a new song, “We Got Your Number,” about it.
NFL Injuries: Dilemma of Disclosure: Last week, Ben Roethlisberger and Kurt Warner sat out games because they told team doctors about post-concussion symptoms they were experiencing late in the week. Roethlisberger’s teammate Hines Ward admitted that in the past he’s lied to a few doctors about his condition in order to get back on the field. Warner wrestled with the decision on how much to reveal about his condition knowing it would influence his chance of playing. The Countdown crew debates the dilemma for current players on whether to disclose their injuries each week.
DeMarcus Ware: The Father: Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware has been a Pro Bowler and he’s experienced a 20-sack season, but as much as anything, he’s always wanted to be a father. Ware and his wife, Taniqua, endured two stillbirths and a miscarriage before adopting a daughter earlier this year. E:60’s Michael Smith details Ware’s emotional path towards fatherhood.
Mayne Event – Jared Allen Wannabe Quarterback: Vikings defensive end Jared Allen leads the NFC in sacks and is one of the NFL’s most dominating defensive players, but he tells Kenny Mayne that his heart has always been on the other side of the ball. In this week’s Mayne Event, Kenny finds out if there is a potential Favre/Allen quarterback controversy for the Vikings.
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 13 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 Green Bay) will review Sunday’s games and preview Monday Night Football. The 90-minute, pre-game show will lead into the kickoff of the Baltimore Ravens at Green Bay Packers (8:30 p.m. ET) game, featuring Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski.
Reporters Suzy Kolber (Ravens) and Michele Tafoya (Packers) will cover the teams. Other highlights:
Soundtracks: Mike McCarthy: After a slow start, Packers coach Mike McCarthy has his team primed for a playoff run. In this week’s Soundtracks, McCarthy is wired for sound in the Packers’ Week 2 loss to the Bengals.
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 13.
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. Ditka is the only “undefeated” Countdown analyst with a 12-0 record on his weekly Monday Night Football picks.
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:
Titans @ Colts: The Titans are 5-0 since Vince Young returned under center. Hoge illustrates how Young’s improved ability to read coverages has the Titans back in the playoff hunt, while Jaws shows how the precision of the Colts’ passing game can put Tennessee defenders in no-win situations.
Saints @ Redskins: Jaws shows how the quick decision-making of Drew Brees before and after the snap combined with his remarkable accuracy makes the Saints’ offense nearly impossible to consistently defend.
Patriots @ Dolphins: The Saints were able to limit the Patriots’ passing attack by playing off the tendencies of Randy Moss and Wes Welker and double covering both receivers. Hoge clarifies how Moss and Welker must break their tendencies if they want to avoid a repeat performance this week against Miami.
Ravens @ Packers: Aaron Rodgers has a 135.5 passer rating on 3rd down this season, the best in the NFL. Jaws reveals how Rodgers’ ability to make quick decisions and get rid of the ball makes him the best quarterback in the league on the most difficult passing down.
Vikings @ Cardinals: Hoge highlights how Cardinals safeties must be willing to help out against the run to prevent Vikings running back Adrian Peterson from cutting back for big plays.
Eagles @ Falcons: Jaws unveils how Atlanta’s safeties can be forced into one-on-one matchups and taken advantage of for big plays in the passing game.
Cowboys @ Giants: Hoge exposes how the Giants have been unable to set the edge in the run game and have allowed opposing backs to get to the perimeter too easily.
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