BYU Football: 5 Biggest NFL matchups featuring former Cougars

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – JANUARY 03: Quarterback Taysom Hill #7 of the New Orleans Saints carries the ball for yardage during the second half of their game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on January 03, 2021 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

There are plenty of great matchups between former BYU Football players this upcoming NFL season.

It is always tough to cheer for two teams at once, but that may be the case for BYU fans quite often this upcoming season. With 24 players currently in the NFL and a majority of those likely making final rosters, every single week will feature games where former Cougars will be going against each other. But which ones will be the best to watch?

The first thing to consider is actual matchups. For example, we know that the New York Jets and Carolina Panthers will face off in Week One, however with both Zach Wilson and Brady Christensen playing on the offensive side of the ball in different positions, the matchup intrigue is not very high.

In determining the best games I took into account potential stats/impact (QB is more intriguing than OL), potential encounters (LB’s are more likely to tackle a RB than a DB), history between players (same position, played together, etc…), and the likelihood players will be on the field (some will be backups making the matchup less appealing). I will be assuming that Taysom Hill is the starting quarterback in these scenarios.

#5 Chicago Bears vs Detroit – Week Twelve (Thanksgiving Game)

This game gets the nod over the No. 6 matchup because it is on Thanksgiving. Given that the Bears only have two nose guards on their roster, there is a good chance that Khyiris Tonga will get a lot of snaps. Seeing him try to blow up the running lanes of the Lions could make things very interesting for Jamaal Williams. It could also be fun to see Jamaal try to block Tonga from getting to Jared Goff if Tonga breaks through the line.

#4 San Francisco vs Detroit – Week One

This game may be tough to watch because either Fred Warner and Corbin Kaufusi (hopefully) will have a great game or Jamaal Williams will have a great game. Jamaal Williams just joined the Detroit Lions and will hoping to make a big impact immediately.  Corbin Kaufusi is the same position but for the 49ers. Fred Warner is arguably the best linebacker in the NFL and will try to cement that status by taking down his former teammate. There is potential for there to be quite a few encounters between these three players in this game and it will be interesting to see who comes out on top.

#3 New York Jets vs New England Patriots- Week Two

Zach Wilson vs Kyle Van Noy and Harvey Langi. Langi may not get as many snaps as Van Noy, but there could be situations where both players are trying to take down Wilson or intercept his passes. Given the play making tendencies of Van Noy, the success of one player could come at the cost of the other. It’s hard to see a way that all three players have a good game here.

#2 New Orleans Saints vs New England Patriots – Week Three

I have to give the slight edge to Taysom in this over Wilson because of Taysom’s playstyle. Taysom is much more likely to be outside of the pocket or running up the middle than Wilson. This will naturally lead to more potential conflict between Van Noy/Langi and Taysom than Wilson and those defenders.

#1 New York Jets vs New Orleans Saints – Week Fourteen

Yes, I just said that games that feature two players that play on the same side of the ball are not as interesting for fans to watch, but this is the exception, and it is going to be the most interesting matchup of the year. Zach Wilson vs Taysom Hill. There are so many storylines that will go into this game of two former BYU Cougars facing off against each other. Perhaps the best part is that fans can hope that both guys have great games without it really making the other look bad.

Honorable Mention:
Kansas City vs Las Vegas – Week Ten (Bushman vs Sorensen/Anderson)

Washington Football Team vs Los Angeles Chargers – Week One (Milne vs Davis)

Indianapolis Colts vs Tennessee Titans  – Week Three (Herring vs Isaiah Kaufusi)