Holiday games in the NFL are usually closely tied to the games scheduled on Thanksgiving every season.
However, as the calendar turns to December, many memorable moments on Christmas and New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day have allowed football junkies to revel in holiday cheer — or despair — by betting on Vegas NFL odds.
While the NFL routinely schedules games on Thanksgiving every season, there have only been 22 games played on Christmas Day.
The games scheduled for the 2021 season between the Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Browns and the Indianapolis Colts and Arizona Cardinals will be 24.
Each of those games will provide an ample opportunity to wager on BetUS as all four of those teams are currently in the playoff race.
Antonio Stretches For Glory
The Steelers, who had never played on Christmas Day before 2016, had games on the holiday two straight years. While the 2017 matchup against the Houston Texans was a forgettable dud, the 2016 game against division rival Baltimore still serves as promotional material for the league.
The Steelers trailed Baltimore by three with nine seconds remaining at Heinz Field following a back-and-forth battle. Ben Roethlisberger would find Antonio Brown on a pass short of the goal-line, and three Ravens defenders immediately met Brown.
Brown would extend the ball over the goal line with one arm while fighting them off, scoring a 31-27 victory that would propel the Steelers to an 11-5 record and second AFC North Title in three years.
That would end up being the last season Pittsburgh has reached the AFC title game, where they lost to the New England Patriots.
The Longest Playoff Game Ever Played
In a world where the NFL season extends into February, it will be hard for younger fans to grasp that the playoffs started in December. Two years removed from their Super Bowl IV victory, the Chiefs won the AFC West in 1971 with a 10-3-1 mark and hosted the Miami Dolphins in the Divisional Round.
What followed is still the longest game in NFL history.
Miami sent the game into overtime, tying the score at 24 when Bob Griese found tight end Marv Fleming for a five-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.
In overtime, neither team could find a finish. Kansas City kicker Jan Stenerud had his 42-yard field goal attempt blocked, while Garo Yepremian missed a 52-yard attempt short.
The Dolphins would win when Yepremian scored a 37-yard field goal with seven minutes and 20 seconds left in the second overtime. It would kick off a solid start for the early 70s for the Dolphins, who would go all the way to Super Bowl VI before losing to the Dallas Cowboys.
Kyle Boller had an okay career after being drafted in the first round by the Baltimore Ravens. He finished his career with 8,931 passing yards, including 48 touchdown passes and 54 interceptions, and a 69.5 quarterback rating.
Not great numbers by first-round pick standards, but a serviceable career. The Minnesota Vikings wish Boller had been home with his family on the holidays in 2005.
Minnesota, which was trying to keep its postseason hopes alive, got gashed by Boller. He threw for 289 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Ravens to a 30-23 victory over the Vikings. Derrick Mason was Boller’s top target, hauling in nine passes for 103 yards.
Bears Get A Special Present
The Chicago Bears claimed the NFC North title by torturing the rival Packers on Christmas day in 2005. Chicago grabbed four interceptions and scored a 24-17 victory over Green Bay.
The Bears surged ahead 24-7 and held off a late fourth-quarter comeback from Green Bay. Lance Briggs scored a defensive touchdown for the Bears, returning an interception 10 yards for a score.
It was the first time since 1991, the Bears swept the Packers in the regular season, so keep that stat in mind next time you wager with BetUS.