Best NFL Christmas Day games including 85-point classic

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There will be a record four games on Christmas Day this year in the NFL, with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami Dolphins, Green Bay Packers, Las Vegas Raiders, Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Rams, Arizona Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers all in action. Christmas Day games usually tend to have something special about them, and there have been some memorable match-ups in the past.

Football fans are starting to get used to involving NFL games as part of their Christmas plans, and with some classics over the years, it comes as no surprise.

The NFL has been semi-reluctant to scheduled games on Christmas in the past, but following the success of 2020 and 2021, a record four games will be enjoyed on December 25 this season. And there have been games in each of the last two years that have stood out in recent history, and some absolute classics since the first Christmas games in 1971.

There have only ever been 26 games played on Christmas Day, with the league typically avoiding games on the festive day unless it falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or Monday. But despite that there has been some memorable matches, and here Express Sport take a look at the best ever games on the big day.

2020: Minnesota Vikings 33–52 New Orleans Saints

The Christmas Day clash in 2020 was perhaps the most memorable for many reasons, but it helps that it was the highest scoring to ever fall on December 25. But the main reason it’ll stick long in the memory is that Alvin Kamara scored six touchdowns, a joint-NFL record.

The running-back stunned the NFL by scoring six rushing touchdowns during the game, and the performance helped the Saints claim its fourth consecutive NFC South title. He became only the third player to ever score six touchdowns from scrimmage, as tt had only ever been done by Ernie Nevers in 1929, and then by Dub Jones in 1951.

Taysom Hill grabbed the other touchdown for the Saints as they posted 49 points from just rushing touchdowns and extra points, with only one field goal attempted, and made. The Vikings also scored two rushing touchdowns through Dalvin Cook and Mike Boone, but even their three passing touchdowns weren’t enough, and the Saints ran riot.

2016: Baltimore Ravens 27–31 Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers-Ravens rivalry was taken to new heights back in 2016, as the pair met in a crunch Christmas clash. The Ravens thought they’d taken it until Ben Roethlisberger decided to turn it on in the fourth quarter.

The Ravens were 17-10 ahead after three quarters, in what had been a rather composed game. But in the fourth quarter all hell broke loose, as 31 points were scored.

Thankfully for the Steelers, 21 of those were theirs, and they stunned their rivals to win 31-27, in a Christmas classic. Antonio Brown and Xavier Grimble caught in the endzone, while Le’Veon Bell picked up a rushing and receiving touchdown to claim the win.

2010: Dallas Cowboys 26–27 Arizona Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals scraped a dramatic win over the Dallas Cowboys back in 2010, as their late field goal won the game with seconds to play. They trailed 26-24 when they managed to work their way into field-goal range, and kicked to win with 10 seconds left.

However, it was game that constantly changed narrative, as the Cardinals were up 14-0 early on. Their defence looked like it couldn’t be breached, and they quickly lead 21-3 heading into half-time. A late Cowboys touchdown made it 21-10 before the half, and they started to believe.

The Cowboys dominated the second half, with the Cardinals being outscored 14-3 until the final drive of the game. But that’s all they needed, as they held off a dejected Cowboys side.

2000: Dallas Cowboys 0–31 Tennessee Titans

The Tennessee Titans beat the Dallas Cowboys in the first Christmas game of the new millennium, and it remains the only ever shutout to occur on December 25. But although the scoreline looks like one-way traffic, it wasn’t that way until the third quarter.

The Titans turned four third-quarter turnovers into 24 points, with only a single field-goal registering points for the rest of the game. It was a crazy onslaught in the third, when their defence really kicked in.

It was a brilliant season for the Titans, who finished the regular campaign with a 13-3 record, winning the AFC Central title for the first time in seven years. However, they lost the divisional play-off game 24-10 to the Ravens.

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