Building the Ultimate Christmas Day NFL and NBA Viewing Schedule

Buckle up, folks.

We’ve got an absolutely loaded sports schedule on Christmas Day this year. Not only do we have the standard five NBA games throughout the day, but because Christmas falls on a Sunday this year, we also have three NFL games to fill in the gaps.

This might be a bit overwhelming for those die-hard sports fans out there with just one television in their living room. That’s why we’ve put together the ultimate Christmas Day 2022 viewing guide to help you navigate through the nonstop action this holiday season.

Merry Christmas, and happy viewing.

12 p.m. ET: New York Knicks vs. Philadelphia 76ers (ABC)

The appetizer.

Is it a loaded charcuterie board or chips and guacamole? Not exactly. It’s more like a basket of bread and butter, but you’re still going to nibble on a few slices while the Christmas ham finishes in the oven.

The early NBA game features the least intriguing matchup of the slate, as the 76ers and Knicks are both middling teams in the Eastern Conference right now. Throw it on in the background as a warmup for the NFL slate.

1 p.m. ET: Miami Dolphins vs. Green Bay Packers (FOX)

Ok, now we’re talking.

The early NFL game is the best matchup of the day, and it’s not very close. Both the Dolphins and Packers could be clinging to their playoff lives at this point, so the loser will have a steep hill to climb after Christmas Sunday. We’re going to skip the Los Angeles Lakers-Dallas Mavericks matchup at 2:30, so hopefully Aaron Rodgers and Tua Tagovailoa provide some fireworks.

5 p.m. ET: Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks (ABC)

Jayson Tatum and Giannis Antetokounmpo talk after a game.
Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks embrace after a game | Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

This might be the only must-watch game on Christmas Day this year. Not only are the Celtics and Bucks the best two teams in the Eastern Conference. They’ve been the best two teams in the entire NBA all season, and this star-studded battle could go a long way in determining the No. 1 seed in the East. Jayson Tatum and Giannis Antetokounmpo are also the top two players on the NBA MVP odds board as of this writing.

What more could you ask for?

The afternoon NFL game at 4:30 will feature the putrid Denver Broncos and the equally dead Los Angeles Rams, so we can skip that one altogether. Spend an hour with the family in between the early NFL game and the best NBA game of the day.

8:20 p.m. ET: Arizona Cardinals vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NBC)

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I almost put the 8:00 NBA game between the Memphis Grizzlies and the Golden State Warriors in this slot, but Stephen Curry won’t be suiting up on Christmas. If you choose to watch Ja Morant over a mediocre NFL game, I won’t blame you.

But Tom Brady is still Tom Brady, and his Buccaneers are now fighting for their playoff lives. Whether you’re rooting for him to win Super Bowl No. 8 or enjoy celebrating his failures, you need to watch Brady in his last Christmas game ever.

10:30 p.m. ET: Denver Nuggets vs. Phoenix Suns (ABC)

The nightcap. Pour yourself a whiskey and grab the last slice of pie for this one.

It’s always a joy to watch Nikola Jokic play basketball, and the Suns are always fun to watch whether you love or hate Chris Paul. Is it the premier game of the day? Not by a long shot. But it will be the only game on TV past 11:30 ET.