The NFL recently announced its 2020 schedule, giving dates for football fans to circle their calendars.
While the feasibility of the season begins on time in the midst of a sport that is dramatically changed by COVID-19 remains a mystery, fans hope. On paper, many exciting battles await.
From Tom Brady’s debut as an Tampa Bay Buccaneer to a quarterback duel between Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes on the opening night, a good match according to the 2020 schedule. For UVa fans, the schedule also includes some interesting battles featuring former UVa standouts.
These are the five NFL games that must be watched for UVa soccer fans.
Chief at Chargers
Joe Reed’s second rookie season match took place at home against former Kansas City safety teammate Juan Thornhill. The second-year defender made 58 tackles and three intercepts as rookies for the Chiefs before the ACL injury made his season short.
Even without Thornhill, the Chiefs launched their high-powered attacks into the Super Bowl championship. With Thornhill back in line, the Chiefs defense must continue to improve after a solid performance in 2019-20.
Chargers, on the other hand, will enter the fresh start quarterback after deciding to move from the old signal caller Phillip Rivers. Virginia Tech’s prominent former Tyrod Taylor is a choice, like beginner Justin Herbert.
Given Reed’s flexibility as a kickback, running back and wide receiver, he will likely see the pitch at least in some capacity as a beginner. Assuming Thornhill is fully healthy, Chargers and Chiefs will have a healthy Wahoo and have an impact on their rosters.
Darius Jennings, a former UVa wide receiver, also signed a contract with Los Angeles in the offseason and will compete for a listing place.
Falcons in the Vikings
After five seasons in the league, Anthony Harris has developed into one of the top defensive backs in the NFL. He intercepted six passes in 14 games last season and also collected 60 tackles. Harris soon turned 29, and he developed into a top NFL defender before his 30th birthday.
On October 18, Harris and the Vikings welcomed Kurt Benkert, Matt Schaub, LaRoy Reynolds, and Olamide Zaccheaus into the city. The Falcons boast four former Cavaliers with their list.
Benkert and Schaub will compete for reserve quarterback positions this season, while Reynolds is likely a special team contributor. Zaccheaus in running to create a list as a wide receiver. It is possible for all four players to make an active list or training team, and it is likely that at least some players landed on the 53 player list.
For UVa fans who want to see former Wahoo compete, Harris is a rookie star and the Falcons have many UVa connections.
Jets at Chargers
There is some uncertainty regarding Bryce Hall’s immediate availability for the Jets, but he hopes to be healthy with the training camp. It would not be surprising to see the Jets slowly restore Hall to health through preseason matches and even the first few weeks of the season.
If Hall returns and plays close to his form at UVa, the Jets have a striking need at cornerback so he can see a meaningful shot as a beginner. There is no guarantee he will take the field on October 18, but Hall’s thoughts fit in with rookie Chargers and his former teammate Joe Reed should excite UVa fans.
Even if Hall doesn’t fit Reed, watching the beginner’s corner take wide receivers like Keenan Allen and Mike Williams will be a sight to behold. If Hall plays for the Jets in 2020, watch the October 18 match.
Jets at Chiefs
If Hall is healthy, the November 1 match is ideal for UVa fans. Hall could be a solid part in the secondary for the Jets, and Thornhill proved himself as a quality player last season.
His former team-mate will get ready in Kansas City on the first day of November. If nothing else, it’s fun to watch Chiefs playing at home at the end of the season.
Chief at Buccaneers
In November, Thornhill will be so healthy that there are no worries about injuries last season making him absent on the field later this year. Watching a talented defender against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is worth the time commitment. Last season, Thornhill made four tackles in wins over Brady and the New England Patriots.
In addition to the presence of Thornhill, the battle between Brady and Mahomes had to make a must-watch TV for Wahoo who loved football.