Although the NFL has definitely seen a resurgence in the workhorse running back over the last few seasons, the league still features more pass-heavy offenses than ever before. As a result, it’s vital for defenses to game plan as such. And as we all know, nothing limits the damage of a potential aerial attack like imposing one’s will on the opposing quarterback.
Today’s National Football League is chock-full of elite pass rushers. However, when it comes to taking down the QB, some individuals are definitely better than others. According to Vegas oddsmakers, these players are the odds-on favorites to lead the NFL in sacks in 2018.
Odds courtesy of Sportsbook.ag as of August 13, 2018.
J.J. Watt, DE, Houston Texans (+1400)
Due to the fact that Watt only played five games last season, the three-time Defensive Player of the Year failed to record a sack in 2017. However, the Texans defensive end is hardly a stranger to getting the best of opposing quarterbacks, having led the NFL in sacks twice in his career. If Watt is 100% healthy in 2018, and that’s the word on the street, expect him to be near the top of this category.
Everson Griffen, DE, Minnesota Vikings (+1200)
Despite being 30 years old, Griffen was as dominant as ever in 2017. The Vikings defensive end recorded 13 sacks — tied for fourth in the NFL — and earned his third straight Pro Bowl selection. With Minnesota having one of the top defenses in the league, it’s easy to imagine Griffen having another big year statistically in 2018.
Calais Campbell, DE, Jacksonville Jaguars (+1200)
Like Griffen, Calais Campbell proved that, sometimes, age is just a number. Last season, his first as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars, the 31-year-old defensive end finished the year with 14.5 sacks, went to his third career Pro Bowl, and was named an All-Pro for the first time. The Jags are so strong on the defensive side of the ball, and that will only benefit Campbell moving forward. We see a lot of sacks in his future.
Joey Bosa, DE, Los Angeles Chargers (+1000)
Bosa has played just two NFL seasons, but he’s quickly established himself as one of the premier pass rushers in the game. In 2016, the former Ohio State standout had 10.5 sacks — in only 12 games — and won the Defensive Rookie of the Year award. Last season, Bosa took his game to the next level, recording 12.5 sacks and earning his first Pro Bowl selection. In 2018, well, let’s just say the sky’s the limit.
Chandler Jones, LB/DE, Arizona Cardinals (+900)
Chandler Jones had the best season of his career last year. He deflected three passes, forced two fumbles, played all 16 games, and led the league with 17 sacks. As the NFL’s reigning sack leader, it makes sense that Jones would be the favorite heading into 2018. We’re curious to see if he can live up to the billing.
Statistics courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.
Other notable players to watch:
- Yannick Ngakoue (+1400)
- Demarcus Lawrence (+1600)
- Ezekiel Ansah (+1600)
- Khalil Mack (+1600)
- Cameron Jordan (+1800)
- Mario Addison (+1800)
- Von Miller (+1800)
Follow Jason on Twitter: @JasonAlsher.