HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE AT STAKE AS PANTHERS AND GIANTS CLASH ON 'NBC SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL'
"The Giants have some problems that they have to solve." � NBC's Madden
"Right now Carolina is the team that is playing the better of the two." � NBC's Costas
NEW YORK � December 17, 2008 � "NBC Sunday Night Football," in its third season as the NFL's premier primetime package, heads to the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey as Eli Manning and the Super Bowl champion New York Giants (11-3) host the NFC South leading Carolina Panthers (11-3) in a game that will decide home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. Al Michaels (play-by-play), John Madden (analyst) and Andrea Kremer (sideline reporter) call the action. Coverage on NBC begins at 7 p.m. ET with "Football Night in America," with Bob Costas (host), Cris Collinsworth (co-host) Keith Olbermann (co-host), Dan Patrick (co-host), Jerome Bettis (analyst), Tiki Barber (analyst) and Peter King (reporter).
PANTHERS-GIANTS IN PRIMETIME: The Panthers are making only their second ever appearance on "NBC Sunday Night Football." They lost to the Cowboys 35-10 in Week 8 of the 2006 season. The Giants are making their fourth 2008 appearance on NBC. In the Thursday night opener, the Giants defeated the Redskins 16-7, in Week 10 the Giants beat the Eagles 36-31 and then lost to the Cowboys in Week 15 20-8. The Giants are now 3-5 overall since the NFL's premier primetime package moved to NBC in 2006.
PANTHERS VS. GIANTS: This is only the fifth meeting between these two teams including the Panthers 23-0 shutout of the Giants in the first round of the 2005 playoffs. Overall the Panthers lead the series 3-1. In their last meeting the Giants went into Carolina and beat the Panthers 27-13 in 2006.
MADDEN ON THE GIANTS: "The Giants have some problems that they have to solve. They have a good offensive line but they have to be able to run the ball. And if they can't, they just can't go out there and throw it all the time because their receivers can't get open."
COLLINSWORTH ON THE GIANTS: "There are some serious questions about the football team that two weeks ago looked like an absolute lock to at least go to the Super Bowl if not actually win the Super Bowl. Now all of it is in question."
COSTAS ON THE MATCHUP: "Right now Carolina is the team that is playing the better of the two."
"SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL EXTRA": Each "Sunday Night Football" game is available on NBC as well as streamed live on NFL.com and NBCSports.com, marking the first time complete NFL games will be widely available in the U.S. via live online streaming.
The live NFL.com and NBCSports.com coverage comes from NBC's TV coverage of Sunday Night Football. Complementing that stream are a number of extra features to enrich the viewing experience including additional camera angles, in-game highlights, picture-in-picture technology, live statistics and other interactive elements. "Sunday Night Football Extra" also includes in-game studio updates from NBC's "Football Night in America" team and NFL Network.
ROTOWORLD.COM'S WEEK 16 SLEEPER PICKS: Rotoworld.com managing editor Gregg Rosenthal, who was named 2007 Fantasy Football Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, picks his fantasy sleepers for Week 16.
1. Chad Pennington, Dolphins QB vs. Chiefs: "The only quarterback Kansas City has held under 250 yards in the last eight games is JaMarcus Russell."
2. Kevin Smith, Lions RB vs. Saints: "The rookie is still running like his pants are on fire, regardless of the team's record. The Saints have nothing to play for."
3. Sammy Morris, Patriots RB vs. Cardinals: "Expect lots of scoring chances in this game. Snowy conditions could lead to a lot of attempts for the Patriots."
4. Maurice Morris, Seahawks RB vs. Jets: "New York's vaunted rush defense has fallen on hard times. Is Kris Jenkins wearing down?"
5. Steve Breaston, Cardinals WR vs. Patriots: "New England just doesn't have many capable bodies in their secondary."
6. Brett Favre, Jets QB vs. Seahawks: "Despite recent struggles, Favre should bounce back against the easiest defense in the league to score fantasy points against."
SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Al Michaels, the commentator called "TV's best play-by-play announcer" by the Associated Press, is joined in the "Sunday Night Football" booth by John Madden, the most honored NFL broadcaster of all time with 16 Emmy Awards, and on the sidelines by Andrea Kremer, whom the Los Angeles Times has called "the best TV interviewer in the business of covering the NFL."
"FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA": The Washington Post calls NBC's "Football Night in America" studio show the "Gold Standard" of NFL studio shows and "must-see television for NFL fans." Bob Costas, the most honored studio host of all time with 19 Emmy Awards, hosts "Football Night in America" alongside co-host Cris Collinsworth, the most honored studio analyst in history; co-host Keith Olbermann, named one of the Top Ten Most Powerful People in TV News for 2007 by Television Week; newcomer and co-host Dan Patrick, reuniting him with Olbermann who together redefined sports highlights during their time together on ESPN's SportsCenter from 1992-97; and analysts Tiki Barber, a three-time NFL Pro Bowler for the New York Giants, and Jerome Bettis, one of the most popular players in recent NFL history. Peter King, who covers the NFL for Sports Illustrated and is considered one of the country's foremost NFL reporters, serves as a reporter for the "Football Night in America" studio show.
NBC's REMAINING 2008 NFL SCHEDULE:
("NBC Sunday Night Football" kickoff, 8:15 p.m. ET preceded by "Football Night in America," 7 p.m. ET)
Sunday, Dec. 21 � Carolina at New York Giants (Flex Game)
Sunday, Dec. 28 � Flex Week � teams TBA