As the cold days of winter holidays start, the pro sports world is perhaps at its hottest. The National Football League (NFL) is in the thick of its regular season as playoffs loom and the National Basketball Association (NBA) seasons are well underway and the stars are shining. While relaxing over the holidays, it’s the perfect time to catch a game, in person, or on TV. Here’s what to look out for.
NFL: Playoff picture takes shape as top teams clash
In Week 13, the New England Patriots met the Green Bay Packers, arguably the two best teams in the league right now. The Aaron Rodgers-led Packers slightly edged Tom Brady’s Patriots in a possible Super Bowl matchup. The two teams are still at the top as other contenders are trying to hold their season together. The Arizona Cardinals are reeling from the loss of their starting QB Carson Palmer to a torn ACL, but are still in a good position. The Denver Broncos are playing out their schedule of easier opponents after a massive loss to the Patriots in Week Nine. Look for the surging Seattle Seahawks and Philadelphia Eagles to make moves in the coming weeks and possibly shake up alignment in the playoffs. The teams will meet Week 14 in Philly, which should be one of the best matchups of the season between the intense Seattle defence and the high-powered Eagles offence. Make sure to catch as many games as possible every Sunday—the playoffs begin Jan. 3.
NBA: Toronto Raptors ascend to league’s highest tier; Christmas Day games continue fun tradition
After a heartbreaking loss in the first round of the playoffs last season, the Toronto Raptors have become one of the best young teams in the NBA. They’ve started this season with a staggering 13 wins and only four losses. A large part of their success is due to the play of guards DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, and Lou Williams. However, DeRozan just suffered a knee injury that may sideline him for three to four weeks. Regardless, if you have an opportunity to attend a Raps game over the break, it will be worth your while. One of the most fun holiday traditions in pro sports is the NBA’s Christmas Day games. Every year starting at noon, the league schedules some of the best possible matchups, and in the last few years the teams have worn special jerseys for the day. This year most of basketball’s biggest superstars take the court on Christmas Day. The San Antonio Spurs, Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls, Washington Wizards, and Golden State Warriors are some of the teams in action on the day.