Christmas Day 2023: Who’ll Be Playing the Christmas Special and Which Are the Favorites?

Christmas Day 2023 is poised to serve up a feast of football, with three NFL games slated to add that extra bit of magic to your festive celebrations. While most of us will be unwrapping presents and tucking into festive treats, the titans of the NFL will be locked in battle on the gridiron.

The week leading up to Christmas will see a flurry of activity, culminating in a full roster of 10 games on Christmas Eve. Then, on Christmas Day itself, three highly anticipated games are set to take place. Stay tuned as SportCo delves into the teams that will be hitting the field on this special day and the favorites tipped to emerge victorious.

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Las Vegas Raiders

Kicking off at 1:00 p.m. ET, the first game on Christmas Day is a fiery AFC West clash between the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, and their division rivals, the Las Vegas Raiders.

The Chiefs, led by the exceptional Patrick Mahomes, welcome the Raiders to Arrowhead - a ground that has proven challenging for Las Vegas.

The Raiders have managed only one victory in their last 10 visits, making the Chiefs the clear favorites in this encounter.

However, with the unpredictable nature of NFL games, especially the fierce divisional bouts, this game promises to be an exhilarating start to the day's line-up.

Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants

The second game of the day, kick-off at 4:30 p.m. ET, presents an intriguing NFC East match as the Philadelphia Eagles host the New York Giants at the Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles have maintained an impressive home record against the Giants, having not lost a home game to them since 2013.

Last season, they won twice against the Giants at their home ground, including a resounding 38-7 victory in the playoffs. This winning streak, coupled with their home advantage, positions the Eagles as the favorites for this game. However, the Giants, eager to turn the tide, are certainly not to be underestimated in what promises to be a thrilling divisional game.

San Francisco 49ers vs. Baltimore Ravens

Closing off an exciting day of football, the San Francisco 49ers meet the Baltimore Ravens in a rematch of Super Bowl XLVII, with kick-off set for 8:15 p.m. ET. This game will take place at the impressive Levi's Stadium, offering a fitting finale to a day of festive football.

The Ravens, boasting a 5-2 record against the 49ers in their history, are eager for a statement win in this Week 16 matchup. The stakes are high, as both teams are vying for critical positions in their respective conference standings.

Despite the Ravens' historical advantage, the 49ers, buoyed by their passionate home crowd and fortified by their tenacious roster, are ready to fight tooth and nail for a Christmas Day victory. Expect a fiercely contested game that will keep fans on the edge of their seats until the final whistle.

The Tradition of NFL Games on Christmas Day

The tradition of NFL games on Christmas Day dates back to 1971, a period following the AFL-NFL merger. Over the years, this tradition has grown, bringing joy and excitement to football fans during the festive season. While the NFL initially hesitated to schedule games on Christmas Day itself, the phenomenal success of these games, in terms of both viewership and fan engagement, led to a shift in approach. The first Christmas Day game was a memorable one, featuring the Dolphins and the Chiefs in what became the longest game in NFL history.

Throughout the years, there have been 27 Christmas specials, with the Dallas Cowboys holding the record for most appearances. However, as of 2020, the NFL decided to make games on the holiday more mainstream, allowing a wider range of teams to participate in the Christmas Day spectacle. 

This tradition adds a unique element to the festive season, merging the spirit of Christmas with the thrill of football creating unforgettable memories for fans across the globe.

The following teams have made the most appearances on Christmas Day as of 2022:

  • Dallas Cowboys - 5
  • Green Bay Packers - 4
  • Denver Broncos - 4
  • Miami Dolphins - 4
  • Tennessee Titans - 4
  • Arizona Cardinals - 4
  • Minnesota Vikings - 4
  • Kansas City Chiefs - 3

Final Thoughts

As we look forward to another exhilarating day of festive football, it's clear that the Christmas Day lineup is set to wow fans around the world. Each game is brimming with potential for unforgettable moments, dramatic twists, and outstanding performances. With these fiercely competitive matches on the horizon, the Chiefs, Eagles, and 49ers are all keen to gift their fans a Christmas Day victory to remember. Yet, the Raiders, Giants, and Ravens are equally determined to defy the odds and deliver a stunning upset.

If you're a betting enthusiast, be sure to check out the FanDuel NFL odds for these Christmas Day games and place your bets on who you think will emerge victorious. And for all football fans, get ready to unwrap a day of action-packed football as we celebrate the most wonderful time of the year!

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