There’s no let up, no rest or time to take the foot off the gas. The World Cup has only just finished but it’s this period where the pedal hits the floor in the sports world.
The NFL season is ramping up with teams set to clinch playoff spots or face elimination, the NBA schedule is in full swing and the relentless soccer carousel keeps on spinning.
Here, Dailymail.com looks at the 10 reasons why the upcoming sports calendar will add to the Christmas cheer this holiday season.
1. NFL bonanza on Christmas Eve
The Jacksonville Jaguars and the New York Jets whetted football fans’ appetites Thursday for a jam-packed schedule of NFL action this weekend.
There’s a whopping 11 games in the league with wall-to-wall football for at least 10 hours on Christmas Eve.
And the Super Bowl-favorite Buffalo Bills are one of the teams to get things in motion at 1:00pm ET on December 24 as they travel to Chicago to face the Bears.
Super Bowl favorites the Buffalo Bills can win the AFC East if they seal victory on Christmas Eve
Josh Allen and Co. can win AFC East if they seal victory or rival the Miami Dolphins lose to the Green Bay Packers a day later.
A few hours later, the high-flying Philadelphia Eagles can claim the NFC East title with a win over the Dallas Cowboys.
Lane Johnson, Jordan Mailata and Jason Kelce recently swapped the field for the recording studio for the team’s Christmas album as they look to top the charts as well as the division.
Other games of note on a busy Christmas Eve are the Minnesota Vikings vs. the New York Giants, the Seattle Seahawks at the Kansas City Chiefs, the game between the Cincinnati Bengals and New England Patriots plus the Washington Commanders’ trip to play the San Francisco 49ers.
2. Tom Brady makes his Christmas Day debut
It’s hard to fathom that in Tom Brady’s long and illustrious career he’s never ever played an NFL game on Christmas Day.
In his latest podcast he admitted taking to the football field for the first time on December 25 will be a learning curve as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers travel to Arizona to face the Cardinals at 8:20pm ET.
Brady and his Bucs teammates will be desperate to return to winning ways after the heavy loss to the San Francisco 49ers and the 34-23 defeat by the Bengals last week.
Star quarterback Tom Brady will play an NFL game on Christmas Day for first time in his career
The losses took the Bucs’ record to 6-8 but the Cardinals have been poor, registering just four wins this season.
Despite Tampa Bay’s mixed bag this term the team still tops the NFC South, which might be more down to the dire state of the division, but nevertheless the seven-time Super Bowl champion is in still contention for Super Bowl LVII.
Brady has had a difficult year both on and off the field. How he could do with a win being his Christmas gift on Sunday.
3. NBA Eastern Conference battle
Basketball fans are used to the constant cycle of games but this Christmas they are treated to some mouthwatering clashes.
It doesn’t get much bigger than the Milwaukee Bucks vs. the Boston Celtics – the two teams with the best records do battle.
It’s also a rematch from the 2022 playoffs as the 2020-21 Eastern Conference champions against last season’s victors.
Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks face rival the Boston Celtics on Sunday
The showdown gets underway at 5:00pm ET, miss it at your peril. The Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo has, as expected, starred and is the league’s fourth-highest scorer.
The Celtics, under interim coach Joe Mazzulla, have one more win than their rival but Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have been standout performers. They’ve also welcomed back Robert Williams.
4. The Premier League returns
Set those alarm clocks! The early Premier League soccer starts are back with Tottenham vs. Brentford kicking things off following the World Cup hiatus.
That is just one of seven games on December 26 with Aston Villa hosting Liverpool and Arsenal welcoming West Ham the other standouts on Monday.
And that’s only just the beginning – there are 30 games across just 11 days with December 29 the only day when English top-flight soccer does not feature.
In amongst the ridiculous program third-placed Newcastle travel to league leaders Arsenal and there’s a heavyweight clash between Chelsea and Manchester City to round things off on January 5.
Will form from before the World Cup resume or will some teams be out of sorts following the winter showpiece? Erling Haaland, the division’s top scorer, will be well rested that’s for sure.
The Premier League returns in style on December 26 and Erling Haaland will be raring to go
5. Will there be more MLB free agency drama?
Deals are being made left, right and center in Major League Baseball. In fact, it’s hard to keep track of all the free agent moves.
The New York Yankees got their star man back as Aaron Judge agreed a $360million, nine-year deal while the Mets shocked the sport by swooping in to sign Carlos Correa this week.
The shortstop signed a $315m, 12-year deal just hours after his $350m agreement with the San Francisco Giants fell through over the physical.
Carlos Correa shocked the MLB world by signing for the Mets instead of the Giants this week
His big reveal with the Mets could well happen over the festive period.
The Mets have already unveiled Justin Verlander after he inked a $86.7m, two-year deal following World Series glory with the Houston Astros.
Nathan Eovaldi, previously of the Boston Red Sox, and ex-Chicago White Sox pitcher Johnny Cueto could reportedly be the ones next on the move, according to MLB Network.
6. Young pretenders’ big test
The surging Memphis Grizzlies, who are vying for the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs, play their first ever game on Christmas Day against the reigning champions.
It’s a chance for the young pretenders to see how they rate alongside the Golden State Warriors.
Ja Morant and Co. currently sit second in the Conference standings after winning 20 games and losing 11 so far this season.
Ja Morant (L) and Memphis Grizzlies could make statement against the Golden State Warriors
The game comes during a significant stretch for Memphis. The Grizzlies slipped to a 105-91 loss to the Denver Nuggets earlier this week but beat the Phoenix Suns 125-100 on Friday night.
The Grizzlies travel to San Francisco December 25 evening with the tip-off at 8:00pm ET.
Just like over on the east coast, the mouthwatering matchup is a rerun from the 2022 playoffs. There’s heat between the two teams after players got involved in a war of words.
The Grizzlies have the chance to lay down a marker with Steph Curry and Co. struggling to find their rhythm. A chance to grab the popcorn.
7. Possible Western Conference Finals matchup
The NBA’s Christmas Day schedule ends with the Nuggets welcoming the Suns to Denver.
Both teams are in contention to be battling it out for Western Conference glory next year and this matchup promises to deliver the goods.
Reigning two-time MVP Nikola Jokic remains one of the game’s most impactful players, but he’ll be facing another tough center in Phoenix’s Deandre Ayton.
The Phoenix Suns face the Denver Nuggets in a huge Western Conference matchup on Sunday
The showdown comes just two days after the Suns-Grizzlies clash as well.
The Arizona-based franchise is also closing in on a new owner with mortgage lender Mat Ishbia on the verge of finalizing a record $4billion purchase.
The Suns will want to give the potential new owner a happy Christmas.
8. College football hits crunch time
It’s a big couple of days in the world of college football.
After Tennessee and Clemson fight it out for Orange Bowl glory on December 30, four teams try to guarantee their place in the CFP National Championship final.
Michigan faces TCU in the first playoff of December 31 at the Fiesta Bowl at 4:00pm ET and then Ohio State squares off with Georgia at 8:00pm ET in the Peach Bowl.
Football fans can get a glimpse of Alabama quarterback Bryce Young ahead of 2023 draft
Georgia, the undefeated reigning national champion, is the favorites to come out on top in the finale on January 9.
Prior to that, football fans will be able to tune into the Sugar Bowl and catch a glimpse of Bryce Young, who is projected to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 draft.
Alabama coach Nick Saban revealed all his players are available for the game against Kansas State on New Year’s Eve as Young and promising linebacker Will Anderson chose not to opt out to prepare for the draft.
9. Soccer transfer window opens
The possible destination of US star Christian Pulisic will be one to keep an eye on amid speculation over his Chelsea future.
The winger made an impression for the USMNT at the World Cup following very limited game time with his club prior to the tournament.
The 24-year-old has been linked with a move away since the summer after falling down the pecking order under Thomas Tuchel and his situation hasn’t improved under new boss Graham Potter.
It may eventually come down to how long much longer Pulisic is prepared to wait with Manchester United, Newcastle, Arsenal and Serie A teams circling.
Other USMNT stars could also be on the move once the transfer window opens on January 1 with the likes of Yunus Musah and Antonee Robinson fetching admirers following their displays in Qatar.
The possible destination of USA’s and Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic will be one to keep an eye on
10. Big NHL midweek matchup
It seems only fitting to end the stellar Christmas sports lineup on the ice.
Sandwiched between a slate of competitive matchups in the NFL, NBA and Premier League, sports fans can witness a possible NHL Eastern Conference Finals clash.
The Boston Bruins, who have been sensational at 27-4, face the New Jersey Devils twice in five days.
After Friday night’s showdown – that the Bruins won 4-3 – the two teams will do battle on December 28 and after that it’ll be more clear who’s got the edge.
If recent outings are taken into account the Bruins would be expected to sweep the Devils and make a statement should the pair meet again in the business end of the season.
The Boston Bruins face New Jersey Devils on December 28 in what could be repeated next year