Sunday NFL Countdown: James Jones Comes Home; Frank Caliendo’s Star Wars Camp; Josh Norman Soundtracks; and More
ESPN Sunday NFL Countdown host Chris Berman, with analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson will preview NFL week 15 on December 20 at 11 a.m. ET. Reporter/host Wendi Nix will host select segments, NFL insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter will report the day’s headlines and news, with senior analyst Matthew Berry and special contributor Stephen A. Smith.
Trey Wingo, NFL Insiders Mortensen and Schefter and NFL Front Office Insider Louis Riddick, will host NFL Insiders: Sunday Edition at 10 a.m., preceding the two-hour Sunday NFL Countdown.
Reporter game assignments for week 15:
- Bills at Redskins (Jim Trotter)
- Texans at Colts (Michele Steele)
- Panthers at Giants (Britt McHenry)
- Broncos at Steelers (Josina Anderson)
- Cardinals at Eagles (Sal Paolantonio)
- James Jones – Coming Home: Home is a word with special meaning for Green Bay Packers wide receiver James Jones. Growing up homeless in San Jose, Calif. Jones lived between shelters and the streets, learning how to make the most of every opportunity. This season, he’s making the most of his second “homecoming” with the Packers. Michelle Beisner
- Soundtracks – Josh Norman: In-game audio featuring Panthers cornerback Josh Norman is the subject of this week’s “Soundtracks.”
- Frank Caliendo on Star Wars: During the opening weekend of LucasFilm’s much-anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens, comedian and impressionist Frank Caliendo offers a “Star Wars-themed” camp piece, including a faux appearance by Super Bowl-winning coach and MNF analyst Jon Gruden.
- Craig Robinson’s NFL Holiday Jingles: Actor and comedian Craig Robinson (The Office) sings topical holiday-themed NFL jingles for Countdown.
ESPN’s Monday Night Football: Detroit Lions vs. New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints host Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions on ESPN’s Monday Night Football on December 21 at 8:15 p.m. The MNF commentator team of Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and Lisa Salters call the game from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
Leading into the matchup, Chris Berman and Suzy Kolber host Monday Night Countdown at 6 p.m. on ESPN. NFL analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson and Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter review Sunday’s games and preview the MNF matchup with Berman in studio, while Trent Dilfer, Ray Lewis, Steve Young and Kolber offer analysis from New Orleans.
MNF is available on ESPN Deportes and will be streamed live on WatchESPN for fans with video subscriptions from affiliated providers. Highlights:
- Gruden’s Grill Session with Ben Watson: Saints tight end Benjamin Watson joins MNF’s Super Bowl-winning coach, Jon Gruden, in the bus for this week’s “Gruden’s Grill Session.”
- Rick Reilly Feature – The Detroit Lions Champions: Countdown’s Rick Reilly interviews six members of the 1957 Detroit Lions team – the last Lions championship team – to discuss how the franchise has changed over the years.
NFL Sundays on ESPN Radio Continue with a Doubleheader: Texans-Colts, Broncos-Steelers
ESPN Radio’s national coverage of Sunday afternoon NFL games continues Sunday, Dec. 20, with a doubleheader beginning at noon when T.Y. Hilton and the Indianapolis Colts host J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans. Dave Flemming will call the action with analyst Mark Dominik and reporter Michele Steele. At 4 p.m., Demaryius Thomas and the Denver Broncos will visit Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Marc Kestecher will provide commentary alongside analyst Bill Polian and reporter Ian Fitzsimmons.
NFL Matchup: Carolina at Giants; Arizona at Philadelphia; Cleveland at Seattle; and More
NFL Matchup host Sal Paolantonio and analysts Ron Jaworski and Merril Hoge preview the weekend’s NFL matchups via film-room X’s and O’s analysis Saturday, Dec. 19, at 8:30 a.m. on ESPN2 (re-air on ESPN, Sunday at 4 and 6:30 a.m.). Highlights:
- Matchup Extra – Carolina at Giants: Jaworski shows how last week on MNF, the Giants ran sluggo (slant & go) to counter their strong slant flat tendency. Receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. was able to split the quarters coverage after the safety committed to the slant. The Giants concept beat the Dolphins coverage, distorting coverage responsibility for the safety and corner.
- Film Room and Blitz Breakdown – Arizona at Philadelphia: Hoge looks back at the Cardinals-Eagles matchup in 2014 to explain why a play where quarterback Carson Palmer hit receiver Jon Brown for a 75-yard touchdown worked. Jaworski shows how the Cardinals defense designed a successful triple-A gap blitz, using safety Tony Jefferson as the third rusher, lined up from a distance without an offensive lineman to account for him.
- Matchup Vision – Cleveland at Seattle: Jaworski shows one of the designed plays by the Seahawks offense that takes advantage of quarterback Russell Wilson’s skill-set as one of the league’s best passers.