Bengals Host Broncos Monday Night On ESPN In Pivotal Playoff Game

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Next Monday night, Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals will play what is one of the most important games of the season for the team when it plays host to Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.

Cincinnati and Denver will face off at Paul brown Stadium Monday night on ESPN’s Monday Night Football. The Broncos (11 – 3) have already clinched the AFC West title. So for Denver, Monday night’s game will be a tune-up for the playoffs. For Cincinnati though, Monday night’s game means much more. Cincinnati currently sits at 9 – 4 – 1 on the season coming into Monday night’s game. And even if the Bengals win, it doesn’t guarantee a playoff spot for the team or even the division title. A handful of scenarios have to play out for Cincinnati to get the AFC North division title. And almost all of them require Cincinnati to win out at least Monday night.

The first way that Cincinnati can snag the AFC North title is to win out both Monday night and against the Steelers in Week 17. The second way that the Bengals can clinch the division title is to win at least one game between this week and next week and losses by both the Steelers and Ravens. In order to clinch a playoff spot, one of two scenarios has to happen. The first scenario is a win at least this week or next week against Pittsburgh. The other scenario would allow Cincinnati to lose both this week and next ONLY IF Kansas City, San Diego and Buffalo all lose at least once between this week and next. Making Monday night’s game all the more important for Cincinnati is the teams prime time record. Cincy is 18 – 41 all time in prime-time and 10 – 20 on Monday Night.  Taking an even deeper look at the teams’ numbers, Denver is only 4 – 3 on the road versus going undefeated at home. The team has gone 4 – 1 – 0 in its last five game. Cincy has only one more win on the road than at home, going 5 – 2 – 0 on the road and 4 – 2 – 1 at home. It is also 4 – 1 – 0 in its last five games. So it goes without saying that Monday night’s game will be one of the most important of the season for Cincinnati.

Adding to the interest of Monday’s games is talk of long term impacts of hits on Peyton this season and what it might mean in regards to his off season surgery. Manning will sit down with ESPN Monday Night Football play-by-play man Mike Tirico to discuss that and more as part of the night’s pre-game broadcast.  Sideline reporter Lisa Salters will have a discussion with Bengals QB Andy Dalton on the other side of the ball. She and Dalton will discuss what a win tonight would mean both for him and his teammates and getting over the playoff hurdles of the past three seasons among other topics. Both interviews are part of Monday’s pre-game show Monday Night Countdown. Suzy Kolber will anchor Monday night’s broadcast. She will be joined by NFL analysts Trent Dilfer, Ray Lewis, and Steve Young live on-site. Chris Berman will anchor live from ESPN’s studios in Bristol, Connecticut. He will be joined by NFL analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, and Keyshawn Johnson and ESPN NFL Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter. Monday Night Countdown kicks off at 6pm ET.

Kickoff for Monday night’s game is scheduled for 8:15pm ET. Mike Tirico will have the call from the booth. He will be joined by Jon Gruden, who just last week agreed to a contract extension with ESPN. The extension will keep Gruden in the booth alongside Mike Tirico through 2021, when ESPN’s next contract with the NFL comes up. Lisa Salters will be on the sidelines for Monday night’s game with all of the latest in-game news and reports. Monday Night Football is available for ESPN’s Spanish-speaking fans on ESPN Deportes and online via WatchESPN for those with video subscriptions from affiliated providers. More information on Mondays’ game and on all things NFL is available online at:

Website: http://espn.go.com/nfl/mnf
http://espn.go.com/nfl

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MNF
http://www.facebook.com/NFLonESPN

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Saints, Bears Face Off Tonight In Important NFC Match To Close Out Week Fifteen

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Week fifteen of the NFL’s 2014-2015 season closes tonight with what will be one of the season’s most important match ups.

Tonight on ESPN, The New Orleans Saints (5 – 8 – 0) take on the Chicago Bears (5 – 8 – 0) in an NFC conference face-off. A win tonight for the Saints would have major playoff implications. That’s because after Sunday’s win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Panthers are now also at 5 – 8 – 1. A Saints win would push New Orleans to 6 – 8 – 0 so far on the season. A win would be especially big for the Saints as right now the NFC South in whole is the league’s worst division. For Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears, a win tonight would tie Chicago with Minnesota in the NFC North at 6 – 8 – 0.  It’s not much, considering that Chicago has essentially been marked out of the playoff picture.  But a win would mean not being the worst team in its division. The Saints are only 1- 4 in their last five games while Chicago has struggled just as much going 2 – 3 in its last five games. However Chicago is in the midst of a two-game skid. So the Bears will be looking to snap that streak. And being at home, Chicago will be especially hungry for a win tonight.

Coverage of tonight’s game on ESPN kicks off at 6pm ET on Monday Night Countdown. Host Suzy Kolber will be joined by NFL analysts Trent Dilfer, Mike Ditka, Ray Lewis, and Steve Young. Chris Berman will be live in studio from ESPN’s headquarters for the broadcast. He will be joined by analysts Cris Carter, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson alongside ESPN NFL Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter. Mike Tirico will have the call for tonight’s game. He will be joined in the booth by analyst Jon Gruden. Lisa Salters will have all of the latest reports throughout the game from the sidelines.

Kickoff is scheduled for 8:15pm ET. ESPN’s Spanish-speaking viewers can catch the game on television via ESPN Deportes. And fans on the go can watch the game online via WatchESPN as long as they have subscriptions from affiliated providers. More information on tonight’s game and all things NFL is available online at:

Website: http://espn.go.com/nfl/mnf
http://espn.go.com/nfl

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MNF

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

AFC Foes Pats, Chiefs Face Off In A Battle Of East Versus West Monday Night On ESPN

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

This Monday night on ESPN, Alex Smith and the struggling Kansas City Chiefs host Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in a battle of East versus West in the AFC.  Monday night’s edition of Monday Night Football on ESPN will be an important one for the Chiefs who are currently winless at home. The Pats on the other hand, are even at 1 – 1 on the road.  Pats tight end Rob Gronkowski said this week that he is looking forward to taking on a more active role with the Pats. So fans can potentially expect to see him in a much more active role Monday night when New England comes to Arrowhead Stadium. And that means the possibility of an even more tough fight for the Chiefs Monday night.

Looking at things on an even deeper level, the Chiefs and Pats are almost even in terms of total points scored so far this season and total yardage, too. And Tom Brady has the second-highest winning percentage on Monday Night Football, with a record of 13 – 5.  That is second only to Payton Manning, whose MNF record sits at 13 – 4.  The Patriots have scored more points than the Chiefs so far this season.  But the Chiefs have outperformed the Patriots in terms of Passing Yards, Rushing Yards, and total yardage overall.  But that lead is minimal at best. Taking all of this into consideration, Monday night’s edition of Monday Night Footabll on ESPN could prove to be a close one for both teams in this battle of the AFC East and AFC West.

Mike Tirico will have the call for Monday night’s game.  He will be joined by Jon Gruden in the booth and Lisa Salters on the sidelines for additional commentary.  Before kickoff of Monday night’s game, the Monday Night Countdown crew will recap all of the action from Sunday’s games.  Suzy Kolber will host the broadcast, which will come live from Arrowhead Stadium.  She will be joined by NFL analysts Trent Dilfer, Ray Lewis, and Steve Young.  Chris Berman will join the broadcast live from ESPN’s headquarters alongside ESPN NFL analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, and Keyshawn Johnson and ESPN NFL Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter.  It all starts at 6pm ET.  Kickoff is scheduled for 8:15pm ET.

The topics slated for Monday night’s edition of Monday Night Countdown are listed below.

  • Gruden’s Grill Session with Alex Smith: Super Bowl-winning coach and MNFanalyst Jon Gruden visits with Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith.
  • Rick Reilly – Drew Bledsoe: If not for an injury to then-Patriots starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe in 2001, the Tom Brady era in New England may never have happened.  In his weekly feature, Countdown’sRick Reilly looks at where Bledsoe is now, 13 years after losing his starting job to Brady and eight years since retiring from the NFL.
  • Soundtracks – Best of Brady and Gronk: As the Patriots look to get their offense turned around, Countdownlooks back at the best of in-game audio between quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski in Soundtracks.

Monday Night Football is available to all Spanish-speaking audiences on ESPN Deportes.  And anyone that can’t be near a television Monday night can still catch the game online via WatchESPN.

More information on ESPN’s Monday Night Football is available online at:

Website: http://espn.go.com/nfl.mnf

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MNF

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

AL Central, NL Central Matchups Take Center Stage This Weekend On ESPN’S MLB Coverage

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell closes out its 25th season of MLB coverage this weekend when the NL Central leading St. Louis Cardinals host division foes the Cincinnati Reds.

Sunday night’s matchup will be the closer in a three-game series between the NL Central foes. Dan Shulman will have the call for Sunday night’s broadcast. He will be joined by analysts John Kruk, Curt Schilling, and reporter Buster Olney for commentary. Coverage of the game is scheduled to begin at 8pm ET. Before Shulman and his SNB colleagues bring audiences Sunday’s season-ending broadcast, Karl Ravech and MLB Hall of Famer (and Cincinnati Reds great) Barry Larkin will have all of the latest baseball headlines on Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown presented by Chevrolet live at 7pm ET. For those that won’t be near a TV, the game will be simulcast on ESPN Radio affiliates nationwide and online at WatchESPN. Spanish-speaking audiences can catch the game on ESPN Deportes and ESPN Deportes Radio.

Tonight, ESPN2 will have another matchup with even bigger playoff implications as the Kansas City Royals host the Detroit Tigers in the opener of a three-game series between the AL Central foes. Detroit currently leads the Royals by only half a game. And it looks to end its current two-game skid as it comes into Kansas City today in that series’ first game. This weekend’s series looks to be a close one as the Royals and Tigers are evenly matched. Detroit is 43 – 35 on the road while Kansas City is 41 – 36 at home. Interestingly enough, Kansas City is 4 – 6 in its last 10 games while Detroit is 7 – 3 in its last 10 games. Dan Shulman and company will be on hand for tonight’s broadcast. Hakem Dermish and analysts Alex Cora and Mark Mulder will have all the latest from around the league before the game at 7pm ET on Baseball Tonight. Fans can also catch the series’ second game live Saturday on their local ESPN Radio affiliate. Jon Sciambi will have the call for that game. He will be joined by Jim Bowden for additional commentary. The duo will also have full coverage of Sunday night’s game between the Cardinals and Reds.

More information on this weekend’s MLB coverage is available online at

Website: http://espn.go.com/mlb
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ESPNBaseballTonight

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Tigers Host Giants Live Sunday On ESPN’s SNB Broadcast

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell will come live from Motown this Sunday night.

The Detroit Tigers will host the San Francisco Giants live on ESPN this Sunday night in the third game of a three-game series between the teams. ESPN’s Dan Shulman will anchor Sunday night’s broadcast. He will be joined by analyst John Kruk and reporter Buster Olney for additional commentary throughout the game. As with each week’s broadcast of Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell, Sunday’s telecast will be preceded by Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown presented by Chevrolet at 7pm ET. MLB Hall of Famer Barry Larkin will join host Karl Ravech for the show.

This weekend’s inter-league matchup will prove to be an interesting one for both teams as the Tigers have proven so far this season to be better on the road than at home. The team is 35 – 30 at home but 42 – 33 on the road. However, it is coming into tonight’s game on the heels of an 11 – 4 drubbing of Cleveland yesterday at home, giving the team even more motivation going into this weekend’s series as it hosts the Giants. San Francisco will pose its own threat for the Tigers this weekend. It has proven to be almost as good on the road as it is at home going 38 – 33 at home and 38 – 31 on the road so far this season. San Francisco comes into tonight’s game after having a day to rest up yesterday following Wednesday’s 9 – 2 loss to Colorado. So the team will be ready to go against Detroit.

Sunday night’s game is the third in a three-game series between the Tigers and Giants. The series’ first game is tonight with first pitch scheduled for 7:08pm ET. Game two is scheduled for Saturday afternoon. It is currently expected to start at 1:08pm ET. ESPN Radio will have full coverage of the game beginning at 12:30pm ET.

Anyone that is not near a TV Sunday night can still catch the game live on ESPN Radio. Spanish-speaking audiences can also catch Sunday’s broadcast live on ESPN Deportes and ESPN Deportes Radio.

More information on ESPN’s MLB coverage is available online at http://www.facebook.com/ESPNBaseballTonight. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Orioles To Host Yankees On Sept. 14th Edition Of Sunday Night Baseball

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Football season is officially underway.  College football and NFL stadiums alike are now rocking every week with rabid fans on both sides of the ball.  While football has taken center stage, audiences should be reminded that the 2014 MLB season isn’t over just yet.  With time ticking away before the playoffs start, ESPN has announced that the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees will face off live on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell on Sunday, September 14th.

The teams’ matchup on September 14th will be the last in a four-game series between the teams that weekend.  The series kicks off Friday, September 12th with a double-header between the AL East rivals. Whether or not audiences are Yankees fans, the scheduled game will be an important one as it is believed that it will be the last appearance by Yankees great Derek Jeter on Sunday Night Baseball.  It will also be the last for Jeter at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, which is itself celebrating its 25th season this year.

Dan Shulman will have the call for the game.  He will be joined live by analyst John Kruk and reporter Buster Olney for additional commentary.  Fans that won’t be close to a TV to catch the game on  September 24th can still catch it on their local ESPN Radio affiliate.  Jon Sciambi and Chris Singleton will have the call for audiences listening on the radio.  It will also be available online via WatchESPN and on TV and radio for Spanish-speaking audiences on ESPN Deportes and ESPN Deportes radio.  As with every Sunday Night Baseball broadcast on ESPN, the matchup between the Orioles and Yankees will be preceded by ESPN’s Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown presented by Chevrolet live at 7pm ET.

Tomorrow night, audiences can catch the third game in a three-game series between the Indians and Royals.  The Royals currently sit atop the AL Central Standings while the Indians are third in the division, 3.5 games back.  Game two is tonight at 7:10pm ET.  Next Sunday night, September 7th, ESPN will carry the third game in a three-game series between the Giants and Tigers.

More information on ESPN’s MLB coverage is available online at http://www.facebook.com/ESPNBaseballTonight.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN Networks Covering A’s, Braves Weekend Series

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Two of the top teams in Major League Baseball will face off this Sunday night on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell.

The Atlanta Braves will host the Oakland Athletics in a three-game series beginning tonight.  ESPN will carry the third game of the series live Sunday night on its weekly Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell broadcast.  Coverage begins at 8pm ET with Dan Shulman at the helm.  He will be joined by analyst John Kruk and reporter/analyst Doug Glanville for commentary.  Looking at the numbers, this weekend’s series is sure to be a close one, despite the vast difference in the teams’ records.  The Athletics currently sit atop the MLB standings at 73 – 48 while Atlanta currently sits at 61 – 60.  Oakland has proven to be much better at home than on the road so far this season.  The A’s are 40 – 21 at home and 33 – 27 on the road.  On the other side of the ball, Atlanta’s home/road record so far this season has been just as rough.  The Braves are 34 – 28 at home so far and 27 – 32 on the road.  Atlanta has gone 3 – 7 in its last ten versus Oakland’s 5 – 5 record in its last ten.  Sunday night’s game will be preceded by ESPN’s weekly pre-game show Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown presented by Chevrolet at 7pm ET with host Adnan Kirk and analyst Eduardo Perez.   Those that won’t be near a TV Sunday evening can still catch the game online and on the radio via ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Deportes Radio, and WatchESPN.

Along with Sunday’s coverage of the series’ third game, ESPN Radio will have coverage of the series’ first and second game Friday and Saturday night.  Jon Sciambi will have the call for Saturday’s game.  He will be joined in the booth by Chris Singleton for both broadcasts.  Adnan Virk, Rick Sutcliffe, and Eduardo Perez will have a wrap of Friday’s game live on ESPN and WatchESPN at 10pm ET.

More information on ESPN’s MLB coverage is available online at http://www.facebook.com/ESPNBaseballTonight and http://espn.go.com/mlb.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.