This You Gotta See: Vikings-Bears, a Bulls restart and Illini go for Braggin’ Rights
But all of it — including five NBA games scheduled for Christmas Day — is up in the air as the sports world braces daily for coronavirus-related disruption.
So, what do you call five nationally televised NBA games in a row on Christmas Day, anyway? A quintuple-header?
And what do you call the very same lineup of games when you don’t have a clue which stars are going to play — or even which teams will be able to play — as positive COVID-19 tests pop up here, there, everywhere in the NBA and across the American sports landscape?
“Potential disaster” seems about right.
But that’s not just Christmas Day, when the Nets, to name one team, may or may not try to pull together a squad to face the Lakers despite everybody who’s anybody on the Eastern Conference favorites entering the week in coronavirus protocols. Lately — and, presumably, for weeks (months?) to come — it’s every day.
We know the Bulls, of course, already have had a couple of games postponed. Is this the week a scheduled game against the Raptors (on Wednesday) actually happens? We’ll see.
We know the Bears — like several other NFL teams — have had more regulars in protocols than the average player has fingers and toes.
The Blackhawks have had a game postponed each of the last two weeks. College and high school schedules are in constant flux, too. Take DePaul’s, for one sad example. The Blue Demons not only are unable to play their scheduled Big East opener against Creighton on Monday but — according to conference rules — have to take a loss in the standings by forfeit. For a long-beleaguered program off to a strong start, that’s a tough break.
And winter hasn’t even officially started yet?
For now, here’s what we think is happening:
Cowboys at Giants (noon, Fox-32)
QB Daniel Jones is out again for the G-Men due to pain in his neck. Backup Mike Glennon is in again, which, given the long drink of water’s shoddy play so far, is a real pain in the neck.
WNBA draft lottery (2 p.m., ESPN)
Who’s No. 1? The Fever, Dream, Mystics and Wings are in the running for the top pick — likely Kentucky’s Rhyne Howard or Baylor’s NaLyssa Smith.
Packers at Ravens (3:25 p.m., Fox-32)
The NFC North leaders are cruising. The AFC North leaders are trying to stave off what might be an inevitable collapse. And the Bears are thinking, “What we wouldn’t give to be trying to stave off an inevitable collapse.”
Lakers at Bulls (7 p.m., NBCSCH)
Russell Westbrook could be back for the Lakers, and DeMar DeRozan for the Bulls. Tell your cousin Earl to stay ready, though — either squad might need him.
Saints at Buccaneers (7:20 p.m., Ch. 5, Peacock)
With a victory, the Bucs clinch the NFC South title for the first time since 2007. That’s so long ago, Tom Brady wasn’t even receiving junk mail from AARP yet.
Raiders at Browns (4 p.m., NFL)
The Raiders might be the worst team still alive in the playoff hunt, but the Browns had far bigger COVID-19 numbers as game time neared. Does the home team have a QB in the house?
Vikings at Bears (7:15 p.m., ESPN)
The Vikes don’t have to beat the Bears just once down the stretch; they get the Bears twice and desperately need a pair of “Ws.” But you know what they say: Just take it one Matt Nagy mistake at a time.
Washington Football Team at Eagles (6 p.m., Fox-32)
A pair of 6-7 teams and some Tuesday-night pigskin? Whatever sizzles your bacon, baby.
WCBB: Stanford at South Carolina (6 p.m., ESPN2)
Eight and a half months ago at the Final Four, the Gamecocks missed a layup attempt and a putback try in the closing seconds and lost to eventual champ Stanford by one stinking point. This season’s No. 1 looks for some payback.
CBB: Seton Hall at DePaul (7:30 p.m., FS1)
The Blue Demons can’t finally make a little noise in the Big East if they’re taking “Ls” without even stepping onto the court. Warning, though: The Hall looks an awful lot like the best team in the league.
CBB: Illinois vs. Missouri (8 p.m., BTN)
Mizzou has won three straight in the annual Braggin’ Rights rivalry, but stick this on your bulletin board under the word “guarantee”: The overmatched Tigers are going down hard. (You’re welcome, Brad Underwood.)
49ers at Titans (7:20 p.m., NFL)
Each team is coming off a game just four days earlier, which sounds really hard to do. Then again, the Bears pulled it off on Thanksgiving and, oh, yeah, never mind, that was against the Lions.
Stars at Blackhawks (7:30 p.m., NBCSCH)
After an 0-9 October that was even more miserable than it sounds, the Hawks have a chance at a second straight winning month. Hey, it beats a high stick in the eye.
“Billy Williams: The Sweet Swinger” (7 p.m., Marquee)
Sometimes, killing ’em with kindness is the way to go. Most times, though, Williams did it with his bat. An hour-long documentary produced by MLB Network and narrated by actor and Chicagoan Andre Braugher reflects on the life of the Cubs Hall-of-Famer.
Browns at Packers (3:30 p.m., Fox-32, NFL, Amazon)
Will deep-down-the-depth-chart Nick Mullens be forced into QB duty again for the Browns? And will he remember to politely extend season’s greetings to Packers fans after telling them he “still owns” them?
Warriors at Suns (4 p.m., Ch. 7)
You have to appreciate the way these teams just win all the time without a shred of diva drama. Not that the NBA appreciates them enough to put their game — one of five today — in prime time.
Colts at Cardinals (7:15 p.m., NFL)
Don’t sleep on the Colts, who are 4-2 on the road and have outscored their hosts by 10.7 points on average. Unless you ate yourself into an unholy stupor today, in which case, fine, have yourself a merry little snooze.