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 program includes reports from Michael Smith covering the Denver Broncos at Indianapolis Colts, Rachel Nichols at the Bengals – Vikings game, Wendi Nix in Foxboro, Mass., for the Carolina Panthers at New England Patriots, and Ed Werder in Arlington, Texas, for the San Diego Chargers at Dallas Cowboys. Other highlights:
To Pursue or not to Pursue Perfection?: Should the Saints and Colts (both 12-0) go after a perfect record, or jeopardize a loss while resting players for the playoffs? The Colts, having been in this position before, plan to rest their players once home-field advantage is secured. The Saints say they are going for the record. Greg Garber talks to players on teams that were perfect this late in the season for insights on the pursuit of perfection.
Favre’s Speech: Faced with questions about his commitment to the Vikings, Brett Favre got permission from head coach Brad Childress to address his new team in August. He won them over and was even elected team captain. Ed Werder reports on the details of Favre’s speech and how the veteran quarterback addressed the concerns of his new teammates.
Mayne Event Soundtracks: When NFL Films began mic’ing up players on the field, the series gave fans unprecedented behind-the-scenes access to the hardest-hitting game in the world. Kenny Mayne spent Monday in Green Bay shooting his unique version of the popular NFL Films segment in this week’s Mayne Event Soundtracks.
Finishers vs. Faders: The Cowboys have a losing record in the month of December since 2006, while the Chargers have finished strong – 15 straight wins in December since 2006. Countdown looks at the distinguishing characteristics between the “finishers” and the “faders.”
Patriots Week in Review: In first place in the AFC East, the Patriots have lost two straight games for the first time since 2006. Quarterback Tom Brady challenged his teammates to do a better job in meetings, practice and film study. Head coach Bill Belichick sent four players home for tardiness Wednesday. Countdown reviews the Patriots’ week.
Eagles/Giants Soundtracks: The NFC East matchup between the Eagles and Giants is one of the most physical and fiercest rivalries in the NFL. Listen in on the history of the rivalry in this week’s Soundtracks.
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 14 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 San Francisco) will review Sunday’s games and preview Monday Night Football. The 90-minute, pre-game show will lead into the kickoff of the Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers (8:30 p.m.) game, featuring Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski
Reporters Suzy Kolber (Cardinals) and Michele Tafoya (49ers) will cover the teams. Other highlights:
“Soundtracks” – Mike Singletary: The former star linebacker of the Chicago Bears has brought his passion and intensity to the West Coast. In this week’s Soundtracks, the 49ers head coach will be featured, wired for sound in San Francisco’s Week 4 win over the Rams.
ESPN The Magazine’s “For Love or the Game” – Kurt Warner: Arizona’s Kurt Warner is paired with his wife, Brenda, and teammate Larry Ftizgerald to see who really knows the Super Bowl-winning quarterback 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 14.
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:
Eagles @ Giants: Giants Defense – Hoge reveals how the Giants can avoid a repeat of their first meeting (giving up 40 points to the Eagles) by attacking the Eagles’ running game.
Eagles @ Giants: Eli Manning – Jaworski displays how the Eagles’ defense can break Eli Manning down in the pocket by getting bodies around him – specifically, near his feet.
Chargers @ Cowboys – Jaworski pulls out his Xs and Os files to illustrate what blueprints the Cowboys must use to help their red zone offense.
Chargers @ Cowboys – Hoge pulls out his ‘Coaches Clicker’ and highlights how tight end Antonio Gates consistently wins one-on-one matchups, and how quarterback Philip Rivers is delivering the ball with accuracy under pressure.
Bengals @ Vikings – Hoge shows how Cincinnati will try to go after E.J. Henderson’s replacement at middle linebacker with misdirection runs.
Cardinals @ 49ers – Jaworski explains how quarterback Kurt Warner stands in the pocket, knowing he’s going to get hit by unblocked defenders, and delivers the ball downfield with anticipation and accuracy, making him the toughest quarterback to blitz in the NFL.
Saints @ Falcons – In their first meeting, the Falcons sacrificed defenders by unsuccessfully blitzing the Saints without forcing additional pressure on quarterback Drew Brees. Jaworski spotlights how ineffective blitz attempts against the Saints leave coverage mismatches Brees easily exploits.
Broncos @ Colts – Hoge shows how the Broncos use three tightend formations and run-based sets to condense the opposing defense, creating mismatches for wide receiver Brandon Marshall on the outside.
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