With the release of the 2021 NFL schedule, what games are set to be played on Christmas Day? Which teams will be entertaining us on the holiday, what is the history of NFL football on that date, and what happened on Christmas Day in 2020?
Christmas Day 2021 NFL Games
The Cleveland Browns will take on the Green Bay Packers and the Indianapolis Colts will face the Arizona Cardinals. What is the schedule for the NFL games played on Christmas Day in 2021, and which channel will they be on?
Cleveland Browns @ Green Bay Packers | 4:30 PM | FOX/NFLN
The Packers have a 1-1 record on Christmas Day, while this will be the Browns’ first game played on the holiday. The Browns are currently in a fight for the AFC North but saw their chances take a dramatic hit after a tough loss against the Las Vegas Raiders. The organization had been hit with one of the worst COVID outbreaks so far this year.
The Packers, meanwhile, were the first team to clinch their division and are currently in a battle for the top seed in the NFC with the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals.
Indianapolis Colts @ Arizona Cardinals | 8:15 PM | NFLN
The Cardinals have a 1-1 record on Christmas Day, while this will be the Colts’ first game played on the holiday.
The Colts have been making a late surge for the AFC South behind the MVP-caliber play of Jonathan Taylor. They are only one game behind the Tennessee Titans as it stands and have won two in a row.
The Cardinals just lost their top WR option in DeAndre Hopkins to a torn MCL and are reeling from a blowout loss to the Detroit Lions. After having been atop of the NFC for most of the season, the Cardinals now find themselves the three seed in the NFL standings. They are in desperate need of a bounceback win.
What is the history of the NFL on Christmas Day?
Traditionally, the NFL has played on Christmas Day if it falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or Monday. However, in 2009 and 2020, the league also played games on a Friday. When Christmas Day falls on a Sunday, the league will move its usual schedule to Christmas Eve (Saturday). They will then schedule one or two games for Christmas Day/night. This last happened in 2016.
When did the NFL start playing on Christmas Day?
The first NFL game to be played on Christmas day was in 1971, when the league hosted two Divisional Playoff bouts. The second of those games required two overtime periods, making it the longest game in NFL history. Due to complaints received surrounding the disruption caused and the conflict with a religious holiday, the NFL did not schedule another game on Christmas Day for 17 years.
The NFL did not attempt another Christmas Day game until 1989. The Minnesota Vikings defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 29-21. Since then, one or two games have been played on Christmas Day when the holiday fell around the weekend.
Which NFL team has played the most games on Christmas Day?
Heading into the 2021 NFL season, the Dallas Cowboys have played a total of five games on Christmas Day. They have a 2-3 record. They had not played on Christmas Day since 2010, when they lost 27-26 to the Arizona Cardinals.
Just behind the Cowboys are the Tennessee Titans and Minnesota Vikings, who have played four games. Neither team has a winning record on Christmas Day, with the Titans 2-2 and the Vikings 1-3.
Which team has the best record on Christmas Day?
Five teams are unbeaten in Christmas Day games heading into the 2021 NFL season. The Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers are both 2-0. Additionally, the Los Angeles Chargers, New York Jets, and New Orleans Saints are 1-0 when playing on the holiday.
What happened in the 2020 Christmas Day NFL game?
Last season’s Christmas Day game was remarkable. The New Orleans Saints racked up 52 points, beating the Vikings by 19. A total of 85 points were scored in the game. The Saints never trailed, and the clubs combined for 47 points in the second half.
Yet, the most remarkable part of the game was the individual effort by Alvin Kamara. The Saints running back carried the ball 22 times for 155 yards and 6 touchdowns. The only other Saints player to find the end zone was Taysom Hill. In total, the Saints rushed the ball 45 times for 264 yards and 7 touchdowns. It will be challenging for any player to top those stats from Kamara in the 2021 Christmas Day NFL Games.