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 Minnesota Vikings at Pittsburgh Steelers, Ed Werder at the Falcons – Cowboys game, and Bob Holtzman in Cincinnati for the Chicago Bears at Cincinnati Bengals. Other highlights:
Brett Favre, Ben Roethlisberger and the Pump Fake: The common trait between Brett Favre and Ben Roethlisberger is the pump fake, a deceptive quarterbacking art form that fools defenders into wrong assumptions about where the football might be headed. Jackson turns to defenders who have faced both quarterbacks to explain their pump and fakes.
Drew Brees and Chris Paul – New Orleans “Point Guards”: Experts contend a point guard in basketball is like a quarterback in football and vice versa, and in the NFL and NBA, New Orleans is home to two of the best players in these marquee roles for their respective sport – Drew Brees (NFL) and Chris Paul (NBA). The two describe the similarities in their jobs. Nichols reports.
Vikings vs. Steelers – A Flashback to the Tug of War: Thirty-four years ago, the Minnesota Vikings lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl IX. Two weeks later in Hawaii, the teams met in a made-for-television show called Superteams – culminating in an epic 16-minute tug-of-war that those involved called one of their most grueling athletic tests. The Vikings won. Greg Garber caught up with seven of the living nine players who competed that day, including Hall of Famers Franco Harris, Lynn Swann and Carl Eller.
Mayne Event – Peyton Manning’s Secret Language: In this week’s “Mayne Event,” Kenny Mayne travels to Indianapolis where he interviews Peyton Manning and his offensive linemen about the quarterback’s unique form of pre-snap communication on the line of scrimmage.
EA Sports Virtual Playbook – Undefeated Idol: With four undefeated teams (Colts, Broncos, Vikings and Saints), Countdown analysts, using the EA Sports Virtual Playbook, will argue which teams have the best chance of making it to Super Bowl XLIV in Miami.
Ditka’s Doghouse: In his self-titled segment, the erstwhile mercurial NFL head coach Mike Ditka sends an NFL player to “Ditka’s Doghouse,” much like he did to erring players during his coaching career.
Patriots in England: As the New England Patriots are in London to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Countdown looks into what awaits the Patriots as they head back “over the pond.”
Mark Sanchez – Film Room: Trent Dilfer goes in the film room to show how Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, after a 3-0 start, has spent the past three weeks playing like a rookie having thrown eight interceptions in a three-game losing streak.
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 7 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 Washington, DC) will review Sunday’s games and preview Monday Night Football. The 90-minute, pre-game show will lead into the kickoff of the Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins (8:30 p.m.) game, featuring Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski
Reporters Suzy Kolber (Eagles) and Michele Tafoya (Redskins) will cover the teams. Other highlights:
“Unmasked” – DeSean Jackson: In his second season, DeSean Jackson has turned into the Eagles big play wide receiver. Leading up to the Eagles’ divisional rivalry game with the Redskins, Jackson gets “Unmasked.”
“Soundtracks” – The Best of Eagles-Redskins Rivalry: In this week’s “Soundtracks,” Countdown relives some of the best moments in this NFC East rivalry.
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 7.
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:
Vikings @ Steelers: Steelers Offense – Jaworski spotlights how Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is seeing the field with clarity and consistently making correct decisions from the pocket.
Vikings @ Steelers: Vikings Offense – Hoge pulls out the ‘Coaches Clicker’ and examines how the Vikings defense has been successful on the most important downs and distance.
Saints @ Dolphins – Jaworski shows how New Orleans creates favorable matchups with its formations and player alignments.
Cardinals @ Giants – Hoge highlights how quarterback Kurt Warner’s ability to throw downfield with uncanny anticipation can negate the Giants’ pass rush this Sunday.
Eagles @ Redskins – Jaworski illustrates how the Raiders took advantage of Philadelphia’s tendencies on offense, breaking down their pass protection for quarterback Donovan McNabb.
Falcons @ Cowboys – Hoge shows how the Cowboys are able to manipulate opposing defenses in the running game with their tight ends.
Bears @ Bengals – Hoge unveils how the combination of play-action passes and quarterback Jay Cutler’s ability to throw with pressure in his face can offset the Bears’ protection problems.
49ers @ Texans – Jaworski explains how Houston Texans’ tight end Owen Daniels creates the biggest problem for opposing defenses.