PITTSBURGH — Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt leads the NFL in sacks and is on another potential Defensive Player of the Year campaign. While Watt leads in traditional counting stats, he lags behind guys like Myles Garrett in more advanced metrics like pass rush win and pressure rate. Either way, Watt seems not to care. He won the award once, and wants to focus more on pushing forward against the Seahawks.
“I’m focused on beating Seattle, man,” Watt said when asked if he cares about the award.
Watt was the favorite at 3/1 on Dec. 19, according to Bet Online. But despite leading the league in sacks, he is now third with 15/4 odds or +375. Parsons is the new leader at 10/11 or -110, while Garrett is a close second at 11/10 or +110.
Watt’s odds haven’t dropped that much, he moved from +300 to +375, but the field has narrowed and Parsons and Garrett have both risen in recent weeks.
Watt’s 17 sacks lead Trey Hendrickson of the Cincinnati Bengals, who is in second place in the NFL with 16 sacks. Danielle Hunter of the Minnesota Vikings (15.5), Khalil Mack of the Los Angeles Chargers (15) and Maxx Crosby of the Las Vegas Raiders and Josh Allen of the Jacksonville Jaguars (13.5) round out the top five and are all ahead of Garrett and Parsons.
Regardless, the Steelers can help boost Watt’s profile with two wins in their last two games and sneaking into the playoffs. That certainly can help Watt bolster his case.
Watt won the award after the 2021 season, when he tied the NFL single-season sack total. Nick Bosa won the award last year, while Watt missed seven games with a pectoral injury.
Will Watt capture it in 2023? It seems likely the award will end up in Cleveland with Garrett, who had another standout performance against the Jets on Thursday Night Football to clinch a playoff spot for the Browns.