J.J. Watt already has a lot of hardware in his trophy room: three NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards, one Bert Bell Player of the Year Award, and the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.
Why not add more? This season, Watt could earn the NFL’s Comeback Player Award or maybe even win the Defensive Player of the Year Award at the age of 33. The Arizona Cardinals defensive end is playing well enough three games into the season to be among the contenders.
While Comeback Player Award is not one a player ever wants to be eligible to win, since it means there must be an “off year” to return from, it is nice recognition. It also proves that the player has the mettle and determination to work hard to overcome adversity.
Watt’s NFL Awards Odds
According to BetMGM, Watt is +10000 to be named Comeback Player of the Year by the Associated Press. Last season, his first as a member of the Cardinals, Watt suffered a shoulder injury in Week 7, which required surgery. He reappeared for Arizona’s wild-card loss, but most of the 2021-22 season was a loss for the five-time Pro Bowler.
One sportsbook, Caesars Arizona, has Watt listed at +10000 to win Defensive Player of the Year honors, which is considerably higher than the odds for his younger brother TJ (+4000), who won it last season.
As of the start of October, the best J.J. Watt odds for Comeback Player Award are at DraftKings:+6000. Over at FanDuel, the odds are +1000.
Watt’s NFL Awards Odds Only Improve If Cardinals’ Defense Improves
While sacks are far from perfect as a statistical measurement of a defensive lineman’s play, J.J. Watt has recorded two sacks through three games for the 2022 Cardinals. He’s also successfully batted down one pass and is pressuring the backfield regularly to assist the Arizona run defense.
The Cardinals’ weakness this season has been defending the pass. Opposing quarterbacks have tossed seven touchdowns and averaged 281 yards in the air. Most troubling: the Cards are allowing 8.5 yards per pass attempt. The team is lucky to have eked out one win; luckily, there is time to fix the problems with the secondary and pass rush.
Two defenders doing their jobs have been safety Budda Baker and third-year linebacker Isaiah Simmons. Both are among the defensive players who currently have odds of winning Defensive Player Award honors.
Baker has five solo tackles, and he’s forced a fumble in the young season. His speed and lateral quickness make him one of the best safety’s in the NFL. He is currently at to win defensive player of the year.
DeAndre Hopkins’ Comeback Player Award Odds at +8000
It may seem silly to think that a player who caught eight TDs last season could be up for Comeback Player Award honors, but wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins missed seven games in 2021-22.
This season, Hopkins is forced to watch the first six games of the Cardinals’ schedule as he serves a suspension for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy. But when the former All-Pro returns, you have to believe Kyler Murray will be happy to toss the football in his direction.
At the start of October, sportsbooks are cautious on Hopkins since no one can foresee how much he will be targeted once he returns. FanDuel Arizona has his price at +10000 to win Comeback Player honors this season (BetMGM also has Hopkins at +10000). DraftKings likes his chances better, listing him at +8000.
Notable players to have won the NFL Comeback Player Award include Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Phillip Rivers.
With the Super Bowl coming to Arizona in February, the Arizona Cardinals have their eyes on the bigger prize, though…making it to the Super Bowl.
More on the Cardinals’ Super Bowl Odds…Arizona Cardinals’ Odds to Win Super Bowl 57
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