For the second year in a row, sports fans will be able to enjoy NBA and NFL games throughout a star-studded Christmas Day schedule.
Prior to last season, the NBA and NFL had not joined forces on the holiday since 2017. This year, the NFL is making up for lost time with an action-packed Christmas Day doubleheader to coincide with five NBA games.
As long as the COVID-19 issues that are running rampant across the NBA and NFL towards the tail end of 2021 don’t continue, fans should be able to plop down on the couch with their families and holiday snacks, dinners, and desserts for a whopping 12-plus hours of Christmas Day sports.
As you begin to plan out what your Christmas Day will look like in 2021, here’s a schedule for you to ensure that you don’t miss any of the holiday’s big games.
12 p.m. ET: Atlanta Hawks vs. New York Knicks
The New York Knicks looked strong throughout the 2020-2021 season, but lost 17 of their first 31 games to kick off their 2021-2022 campaign.
The Atlanta Hawks found themselves in a similar situation after a stellar run last year, clocking in at 14-15 through their first 29 games.
When Christmas Day rolls around, each team will look to kick off their holiday in a joyful fashion when they battle it out at Madison Square Garden.
Records aside, the talent on the floor should make this a fun appetizer as you get started on a sports-filled Saturday.
2 p.m. ET: “All Madden” Documentary on FOX
In case you haven’t watched a sporting event on FOX over the last few months, the network is preparing to premiere a documentary focused on football legend John Madden on Christmas Day.
“All Madden” will feature a who’s who of interview subjects, including Madden and his family, coaches like Bill Belichick, Bill Parcells, and Andy Reid, and superstar players like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Patrick Mahomes and more.
Whether you’re a fan of Madden’s coaching career, his immense impact on announcing, or his reach away from the field or the booth with the Madden NFL video game franchise, there’s something in this documentary for everyone.
If you’re not a basketball fan, “All Madden” will be a great way to ease into the NFL’s Christmas Day doubleheader.
2:30 p.m. ET: Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks
As we inch closer to the day’s main courses, NBA fans will get a nice holiday treat as the Celtics travel to take on the Bucks.
A combination of teams that many expected to be the Conference Finals matchup when this year’s postseason rolls around, the Bucks and Celtics find themselves in very different spots as December rolls along.
Milwaukee, with Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the charge, was 19-13 through their first 32 games, but wound up as the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference as of December 21.
Meanwhile, Boston was an underwhelming 15-16 through their first 31 games, creating loads of doubts for those who were excited about what Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and company could do this season.
A win on Christmas Day over the reigning champion Bucks would be a nice present for first-year Celtics coach Ime Udoka, but this one will be a gift for basketball fans around the country regardless.
4:30 p.m. ET: Cleveland Browns vs. Green Bay Packers
The Browns’ Week 15 matchup with the Las Vegas Raiders was a nightmare scenario, as both of the top two quarterbacks in Cleveland’s depth chart and numerous stars across the lineup were out of action.
It doesn’t seem like Santa Claus did the Browns any favors for Christmas this year, as the big man decided to give the team a game against the red-hot Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers to kick off the league’s holiday doubleheader.
As long as the Browns can escape the COVID-19-related woes that impacted them in Week 15, this should be a high-quality matchup for fans to enjoy Saturday afternoon.
If the Browns’ widespread outbreak continues, it should be light work for Rodgers, Davante Adams, and company.
5 p.m. ET: Golden State Warriors vs. Phoenix Suns
Give us this matchup for the Western Conference Finals when May comes around, please.
The Warriors and Suns put on a show in their first meeting to wrap up November, with the Suns taking down the red-hot Dubs in Phoenix. Fast-forward a few days, Steph Curry and the Warriors returned the favor in their home arena, albeit without Devin Booker in Phoenix’s lineup.
To make it even better, the two teams are tied for the top spot in the Western Conference as of December 21.
If these two squads are at full strength when Santa Claus comes to deliver goodies on Christmas Day, then this one will likely be the best game of the day across the board.
8 p.m. ET: Brooklyn Nets vs. Los Angeles Lakers
While the Suns-Warriors game has the potential to be the best of the day, the primetime tilt between the Nets and Lakers in Los Angeles will undoubtedly be the biggest of the bunch.
If all goes according to plan for the NBA, fans would see LeBron James and Russell Westbrook squaring up against Kevin Durant and James Harden. Westbrook collides with former teammates, and James looks to prove to basketball fans that he should be considered a better player than Durant.
Anthony Davis’ knee injury and Kyrie Irving’s continued struggles with COVID-19 protocols dwindle some of the star power in this one, but you should still consider this one “appointment television” when it tips off at 8 p.m. ET on Christmas Day.
8:15 p.m. ET: Indianapolis Colts vs. Arizona Cardinals
To close things out on that merry Saturday, the red-hot Colts will look to keep rolling after a big win against the New England Patriots, while Kyler Murray’s Cardinals will look to get back on track in a heated NFC playoff race.
Things could not seem worse for the Cardinals at the moment, as they went from being a win away from a playoff spot all the way down to losing to a Detroit Lions roster with one win to its name.
>>RELATED: The history of the NFL on Christmas Day
Meanwhile, things couldn’t look better for the Colts, and it looks like Indy could hop on running back Jonathan Taylor’s back en route to a playoff spot and potential AFC South title if they can keep up their current momentum.
This is the type of game you put at the top of your wish list, and you should thank Santa Claus for a perfect way to wrap up Christmas Day if you’re a football fan.
10:30 p.m. ET: Dallas Mavericks vs. Utah Jazz
Wrapping things up on the West Coast, the Dallas Mavericks and Utah Jazz will duke it out in Salt Lake City for your Christmas Day finale.
The Jazz are off to a hot start towards the beginning of their 2021-2022 campaign, winning 21 of their first 30 after going 52-20 last year.
On the other end, the Mavericks found themselves in ninth place in the Western Conference after going just 14-15 through their first 29 games
This one may seem underwhelming after watching the Suns and Warriors and then the Lakers and Nets, but it’ll be a nice way to wind down after a busy Christmas Day schedule across the sports world.