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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. Chris Mortensen will also provide headlines and league news, and Steve Young will contribute his weekly Sunday segment, “Young is Restless.”

The two-hour NFL pre-game program will include reports from Rachel Nichols covering the Tennessee Titans at the Baltimore Ravens, Sal Paolantonio at the Meadowlands for the Seahawks at Giants, and Darren Lyn covering the Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans game.

Washington: Favoring the Left?

The Washington Redskins’ run game has been one of the keys to the team’s 3-1 start. Lead running back Clinton Portis and the rest of the offense like to run left – in fact, they run to the left approximately 75 percent of the time. Reporter Greg Garber speaks with political analyst, Paul Begala and the Redskins to explain why Washington is favoring “the left” so much.

The Great Debate: NFC East

There are four great teams residing in the NFC East – New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles – but which team will end up winning the NFL’s deepest division? Countdown stages “The Great Debate” to answer the question as the four analysts present arguments for each team.

T.O. and Chad Johnson

Terrell Owens and Chad Johnson face off this week, two wide receivers known as much for their sound bites as they are for their prowess on the field. T.O. feels he isn’t getting the ball enough, while Johnson plans to score a touchdown and kiss the star in the middle of the field at Texas Stadium. We look back at the week through T.O. and Johnson’s eyes.

Marshawn Lynch Unmasked: Beast Mode

When asked to describe his attitude going into his rookie season in 2007, Buffalo Bills running back Marshawn Lynch exclaimed, “Beast Mode.” His teammates feel like the description fits Lynch’s running style and Lynch went so far as to have grills made for his teeth that say “BEAST MODE” in diamonds. The Bills running back is “unmasked” this week.

Mayne Event: Usain Bolt Tryout

Usain Bolt, the gold medal winner in the 100 and 200 meter dash at this summer’s Olympic Games is fast … really fast. But is he “football fast?” In this week’s Mayne Event, Kenny Mayne puts Bolt to the test thanks to the help of another world champion, Giants quarterback Eli Manning. The experiment yields some very interesting results.

EA Sports Virtual Playbook: Jaguar’s Quarterback David Gerrard

In EA Sports Virtual Playbook, Carter breaks down why using David Garrard on the quarterback draw has become one of the most vital plays in the Jaguars’ playbook.

Ditka’s Doghouse

In his new self-titled weekly segment, coach Ditka -- known for his volatile personality and demeanor -- sends an erring player to “Ditka’s Doghouse,” much like he did during his coaching career.

Tale of the Tape: Titans vs. Ravens

Two of the best defenses in the NFL match up this Sunday in Baltimore. Jackson puts the Titans and Ravens’ defenses to the “Tale of the Tape” with the goal of answering the question: which defense is better?

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 Sunday in “Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em.” Berry and Hoge will also highlight weekly trends and sleepers.

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 5 action. The list of game picks will be posted on after the show.


Monday Night Countdown Delivered by UPS with Berman, Carter, Ditka, Jackson, Johnson, and Mortensen (in Bristol) and Stuart Scott, Young and Emmitt Smith (at the MNF game in New Orleans) will review Sunday’s games and preview Monday Night Football. The 90-minute, pre-game show will lead into the kickoff of the Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints (8:30 p.m.) game, featuring Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski and Tony Kornheiser.

Reporters Michele Tafoya (Vikings) and Suzy Kolber (Saints) will cover the teams. Other highlights:

“Unmasked:” Adrian Peterson

The Vikings running back was the 2007 Offensive Rookie of the Year and he’s off to another fast start. See what drives this sophomore sensation to be the best as Countdown goes under the helmet with Peterson.

ESPN the Magazine’s “For Love or The Game:” Scott Fujita

Saints linebacker Scott Fujita will be the subject of Monday’s “For Love or The Game” Countdown segment that matches a player’s significant other against a teammate to see who knows them best. This week, Fujita’s wife, Jaclyn, and his teammate Charles Grant battle to see who really knows Fujita better.

EA Sports Virtual Playbook: Reggie Bush in space

Countdown’s Carter takes you on the virtual playing field to show how the Saints create big plays for Reggie Bush in the passing game.

“Soundtracks:” Adrian Peterson

Get a unique look at what it’s like to be a star running back in the league as Adrian Peterson – wired in the Vikings Week 2 loss to the Colts – is the focus of this week’s edition of “Soundtracks.”


QUARTERBACK CONUNDRUM – Former Super Bowl winning quarterbacks Young and Trent Dilfer offer their views on topical issues in the NFL.

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.

In addition, Monday Night Football’s Tirico, Jaworski and Kornheiser will preview the night’s match-up, with Mortensen covering breaking news from around the league and the Countdown analysts offering their “Lead Pipe Lock” predictions for the game.


State Farm NFL Matchup (Sunday at 3 a.m. and 7:30 a.m.), with host Sal Paolantonio and analysts Ron Jaworski and Merril Hoge 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:

Redskins @ Eagles

After a loss in Week 1 against the Giants, the Redskins have come back with three straight wins. Jaworski takes a look at his Playbook and deciphers how Washington’s “D” has successfully confused opposing quarterbacks by disguising its coverage.

Titans @ Ravens

The Titans are off to their best start in franchise history in large part because of their defense. Hoge focuses on defending the run and shows how Tennessee finds different ways to sneak eight defenders into the box.

Buccaneers @ Broncos

The Buccaneers are known for their coverage-heavy defense, but when our experts popped in the tape they found something completely different. Jaworski breaks down a Buccaneers “D” that knows how to get unblocked defenders to the quarterback with zone blitzes.

Steelers @ Jaguars

This matchup of smash-mouth AFC teams is right in Hoge’s wheelhouse. The former running back pulls out the Coaches Clicker and reveals what the Jaguars must do to run against the Steelers.

Vikings @ Saints

Saints head coach Sean Payton can design plays with the best of ‘em, and this Monday against the Vikings, the Matchup team expects him to put his entire passing arsenal on display. Jaworksi illustrates how the Saints will get big plays through cunning offensive design.

Seahawks @ Giants

The Seahawks running game finally came together in large part because of Matt Hasselbeck. Hoge gives the Seahawks’ signal-caller credit for Seattle’s successful rushing performance against the Rams and then points out the key elements needed against the Giants.

Bengals @ Cowboys

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo looked confused at times last week against the Redskins, and the offense appeared to be out of sync. Was this game the exception or the rule? Jaworski breaks down how opposing defenses need to attack the Cowboys’ passing game.

“State Farm I’m There:” Muhsin Muhammad

In this week’s “State Farm I’m There” segment, NFL Matchup will take viewers on the field with the Panthers’ all-time touchdown receptions leader, Muhsin Muhammad.

Quick Hits:

* Watch as Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson uses power and agility to put the first blemish on the Broncos’ perfect record;
* Hines Ward has had a history of making big hits against the Ravens, and last Monday Night was no exception. Watch as the Steelers’ receiver puts Ed Reed on his back.


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