- ESPN’s Second NFL Playoff Game – Chiefs at Houston on Saturday
- Panthers Josh Norman Returns as Guest Analyst on Countdown
AFC South Champion Houston Texans Host Kansas City Chiefs in Wild Card Game
ESPN will televise the Kansas City Chiefs-Houston Texans Wild Card game Saturday, January 9, at 4:20 p.m. E.T. The AFC matchup will be simulcast on ABC, streamed live on WatchESPN and available in Spanish on ESPN Deportes. Monday Night Football’s Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and Lisa Salters serve as commentators and will call the game from NRG Stadium in Houston.
To kick off Wild Card Weekend, Chris Berman hosts an hour-long edition of Postseason NFL Countdown on Saturday, Jan. 9, at 12 p.m. on ESPN. Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson will provide analysis, Wendi Nix will host select segments and insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter will report the day’s headlines and news. Senior analyst Matthew Berry and special contributor Stephen A. Smith will also join the Countdown crew in studio at ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, Conn.
At 3 p.m., Postseason NFL Countdown returns as the on-site team of host Suzy Kolber and analysts Trent Dilfer, Ray Lewis and Steve Young join Berman and the studio crew from Houston. Additionally, Salters and NFL correspondent Ed Werder will provide updates on the Texans and Chiefs, respectively. This edition of Postseason NFL Countdown leads into Chiefs-Texans and will be simulcast on ABC. SportsCenter follows the game.
ESPN’s Wild Card marketing campaign includes this TV spot. ESPN’s Wild Card Weekend Schedule:
|Sat, Jan 9||5:30 a.m.||NFL Matchup||ESPN, WatchESPN
(Reair: ESPN2 at 8:30 a.m.)
|11 a.m.||Fantasy Football Now||ESPN2, WatchESPN|
|12 p.m.||Postseason NFL Countdown||ESPN, WatchESPN|
|3 p.m.||Postseason NFL Countdown||ESPN, ABC, WatchESPN|
|4:20 p.m.||NFL Wild Card Game:
Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans
|ESPN, ABC, WatchESPN, ESPN Deportes|
|7:25 p.m.||SportsCenter||ESPN, WatchESPN|
|Sun, Jan 10||12 a.m.||Primetime||ESPN, WatchESPN|
|6:30 a.m.||NFL Matchup||ESPN, WatchESPN
(Reair: ESPN2 at 7:30 a.m.)
|10 a.m.||NFL Insiders – Sunday Edition||ESPN, WatchESPN|
|11 a.m.||Postseason NFL Countdown||ESPN, WatchESPN|
|12 p.m.||Fantasy Football Now||ESPN2, WatchESPN|
|8 p.m.||Primetime||ESPN, WatchESPN|
Saturday and Sunday Editions of Postseason NFL Countdown; Panthers Josh Norman on Sunday at 11 a.m.
- Postseason NFL Countdown at 12 p.m. on ESPN: Countdown’s Chris Berman visits head coach Andy Reid and the Chiefs to find out how the team went from 1-5 to finish the season with a 11-5 record, earning a spot in the playoffs.
- Postseason NFL Countdown at 3 p.m. on ESPN and ABC: Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt will visit MNF’s Super Bowl-winning coach Jon Gruden in his bus for Saturday’s special post-season edition of “Gruden’s Grill Session”
Sunday at 11 a.m.
Panthers cornerback Josh Norman joins Berman, carter, Ditka, Jackson and Johnson on the Countdown set as a special guest analyst.
- Norman on Odell Beckham Jr.: Norman will walk the viewers through the sequence of plays that culminated in his on-the-field tussle against Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. during the Panthers at Giants game on Sunday, Dec. 20.
- Seahawks’ Late Season Surge: Michelle Beisner travels to Seattle to uncover the secrets to the Seahawks late season surge into the 2015 NFL Playoffs via interviews with Seahawks defensive ends Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett.
NFL Matchup Previews all Wild Card Games
ESPN NFL Matchup with host Sal Paolantonio and analysts Merril Hoge and Ron Jaworski will air on Saturday at 5:30 a.m. (reairs at 8:30 a.m. on ESPN2) and Sunday at 6:30 a.m. (reairs Sunday at 7:30 a.m. on ESPN2). Highlights:
Kansas City at Houston
- Matchup Extra & Jaws Playbook: Hoge explains a throw by Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith to receiver Jeremy Maclin on a skinny post for a touchdown and shows some of the nuances that led to the play being successful. In his self-titled playbook, Jaworski describe how the Texans ran a well-executed concept that exploited the focus on receiver DeAndre Hopkins and found tight end Ryan Griffin open underneath for a 37 yard gain.
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati
- In the Red-zone & Passing Thought: In the red zone, Jaworski explains a staple play employed by the Bengals offense featuring receivers Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones as well as Tyler Eifert that backup quarterback AJ McCarron exploited for a successful play. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers throw the ball deep on third-and-three or shorter plays more than any other team in the NFL. Jaworski describes a 31-yard reception by receiver Markus Wheaton on Third-and-one play.
Seattle at Minnesota
- Matchup Extra & Blitz Breakdown: Hoge explains one of the reasons for the Seahawks late-season resurgence by showing a play where quarterback Russell Wilson looked off a defender to complete a pass to receiver Doug Baldwin. Jaworski shows how the Vikings defense attacks the protections with safety Harrison Smith and linebacker Anthony Barr blitzing from the edge.
Green Bay at Washington
- Coaches Clicker & Jaws Playbook: Packers fullback John Kuhn has seen his numbers of snaps rise since head coach Mike McCarthy took over the play calling duties. Hoge revisit the week 14 matchup against the Cowboys where the Packers had a lot of success in 20 personnel runs. And Jaworski shows how the Redskins designed a play using wide receiver Jamison Crowder on a wheel route on third down and explains how quarterback Kirk Cousins connected with the receiver for a 28-yard gain.
NFL PrimeTime will also air two live shows – late Saturday at midnight (9 p.m. PT) with host Trey Wingo and analysts Merril Hoge and Jeff Saturday; and Sunday at 8 p.m. with Berman and Jackson.
ESPN.com and ESPN Insider
ESPN.com and ESPN Insider continue to provide coverage of the 2015 NFL Playoffs. Highlights:
- Senior writer Elizabeth Merrill investigates “How Johnny Manziel failed his last audition;”
- Jason Wilde writes about the longtime Packers attendant who has, in a unique way, worked his way into the hearts of the players;
- NFL Nation’s Kevin Seifert scouts the referees who will officiate the weekend’s NFL Wild Card