J.J. Watt: NFL Defensive Player Of the Year Favorite

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 08: J.J. Watt #99 of the Houston Texans (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 08: J.J. Watt #99 of the Houston Texans (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

J.J. Watt has missed the majority of the last two seasons with different injuries. Could he regain his form and compete for defensive player of the year?

J.J. Watt is listed as the favorite for NFL Defensive Player of the Year at 5Dimes, an online sports book. His odds currently sit at +565, which means if you bet $10 it would net you $66.50 if J.J. took home the hardware.

The only other Texan with odds available is Jadeveon Clowney, who is currently posted at +5500. A $10 bet would win you $550, which is certainly a nice chunk of change.

J.J. hasn’t played a significant amount of football since he played in all 16 games in 2015, and he took home the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year Honors that season. He did lead the NFL in sacks that season with 17.5 and helped the Texans win the AFC South Division that year.

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Since that 2015 season though, J.J. hasn’t been able to stay on the field for a significant amount of time. Following the 2015 season, he had back surgery to repair a herniated disc in July, and despite not being 100 percent, he played Week 1 anyway. His season ended after Week 3 and he underwent back surgery again.

In 2017, he expected to be fully recovered from his back woes and was ready to contribute towards another playoff run. He didn’t record a sack in the first four weeks of the season and suffered a tibial plateau fracture in his left leg Week 5 against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday Night Football. This rendered him out for the remainder of the season, and here we are going into the 2018 season, and JJ Watt is favored to win his fourth NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award.

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In order to win this award, he is going to have to remain healthy, which is a big if after two injury-plagued seasons. It is surprising to see that Watt is the favorite after hardly playing football for two straight seasons and having admitted that he grappled with retirement, and his career may be on the back end after suffering two different brutal injuries and never giving up on any play for five straight seasons.

It’s not surprising that Los Angeles Charger Joey Bosa has the next best odds behind Watt because his career seems to be just getting started. Bosa won NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2016 and recorded 12.5 sacks and 70 tackles in 2017. His 2017 numbers are similar to J.J.’s in 2013, which is the only healthy season after his rookie year that he did not win the NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Aaron Donald, last season’s NFL Defensive Player of the Year, has the third-best odds to take home this season’s award, and he may have usurped J.J. as the most dominant defensive lineman in the NFL. His peers certainly think so as he was the highest rated defensive lineman on the Top 100 Players of 2018 on NFL Network. Donald checked in at no. 7, yet J.J. remained in the top 100 at no. 84 despite hardly playing the last two season. Bosa moved up from No. 100 on the list following his rookie year to No. 37.

J.J. Watt’s campaign to take home his fourth NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award will rest on his ability to stay healthy. When he is healthy, there is no defensive lineman in the NFL as dominant as him, but two defensive linemen from LA will give him a run for his money this season.

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When he’s healthy he can be more dominant than anyone in the league. We here at House of Houston certainly think he can win it. What do you think?