A couple of things to pass along for the Patriots/Jets week ahead for ESPN's Monday Night Football match-up:
Monday Night Football: New England Patriots Host New York Jets in Key AFC Matchup
In one of the marquee matchups of the entire NFL schedule, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots (9-2) will host Mark Sanchez and the New York Jets (9-2) in a battle of the AFC’s top teams on Monday Night Football on Dec. 6 at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN HD. The winner of this critical game will take the lead in the AFC East with just a month left in the regular-season. Mike Tirico and analysts Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski will call the game, and Michele Tafoya and Suzy Kolber will provide updates on the teams from Gillette Stadium.
Monday’s telecast will begin with a Frank Gifford vignette highlighting then-Jets head coach Bill Parcells’ return to Foxboro Stadium Oct. 19, 1998, to face his former Patriots team for the first time on Monday night. Dubbed Tuna Bowl III, the Jets beat their AFC East rivals 24-14 and Parcells went on to lead New York to its first division title since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970.
Monday’s game marks just the fourth time two teams with 9-2 records or better are playing each other on MNF, and the first time since 1990. All three previous occasions featured the San Francisco 49ers under quarterback Joe Montana: Bears (10-2) vs. 49ers (10-2), 1987; Giants (9-2) vs. 49ers (9-2), 1989; and Giants (10-1) vs. 49ers (10-1), 1990.
Additionally, ESPN NFL analyst and former All-Pro Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi will be honored by his former team at halftime. Bruschi’s 189 regular-season games played are the most by a Patriots linebacker. He retired in 2009 after being part of nine postseason appearances, eight division titles, five conference championships, and three Super Bowl titles.
ESPN’s “game around the game” will begin with ESPN Radio/ESPN2’s Mike and Mike in the Morning live from Showcase Live at Patriot Place at 6 a.m. Studio coverage will begin at noon on SportsCenter, followed by NFL Live at 3:30 p.m. and NFL PrimeTime at 4 p.m. The 90-minute Monday Night Countdown pregame will begin at 7 p.m. with host Chris Berman and analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, Keyshawn Johnson, Chris Mortensen, and NFL Insider Adam Schefter. Stuart Scott and analysts Matt Millen and Steve Young will contribute from the stadium.
Sunday NFL Countdown: Cold Tubs; DJ Porter Spins Ray Lewis Audio
Chris Berman, Mike Ditka, Cris Carter, Tom Jackson, Keyshawn Johnson and NFL Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter will preview the day’s NFL matchups Sunday, Dec. 5, at 11 a.m. Highlights:
* Cold Tubs -- The NFL is surrounded by modern medicine and emerging therapeutic treatment, however, as reporter Rachel Nichols uncovers, the most-utilized method for a player’s recovery remain steeped in old school therapy of tubs filled with ice bags.
* DJ Steve Porter on Ray Lewis -- The Baltimore Ravens linebacker’s pre-game speeches have become quite popular among players and fans. Leading up to the Ravens fierce division battle vs. the Steelers, popular DJ Steve Porter, a regular on the show, takes a musical spin at the best audio from Lewis.
* Jets vs. Patriots (The Prize Fight): Tom Jackson (9-2 Jets) vs. Mike Ditka (9-1 Patriots) will recreate the pre-fight fanfare leading up to the Monday Night Football prize fight for the best team in AFC, much like dueling heavyweight pugilists before a marquee bout.
NFL Matchup’s X’s and O’s
Host Sal Paolantonio and analysts Merril Hoge and Ron Jaworski will preview the X’s and O’s in three key games this weekend on Sunday’s NFL Matchup at 3 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. (5:30 a.m. on ESPN2). Highlights:
* Raiders at Chargers: Jaworski delves into the coach’s tape from Week 5 to spotlight how the Chargers will combine the use of play action and wide receiver routes with splits to attack the Raiders defense.
* Falcons at Buccaneers: The Falcons ran cover-zero three times in the first half of their Week 9 match-up against the Bucs. Jaworski goes ‘Inside The Match-up’ to show how the Bucs offense should create favorable one-on-one matchups against Atlanta’s defense.
* Steelers at Ravens: In Week 4, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco threw the game winning touchdown to T.J. Houshmandzadeh with 37 seconds remaining in regulation. Jaworski highlights how the combination of pass protection and precise wide receiver route running beat the Steelers overload blitz and pass coverage on defense.