NFL Regular Seasons Sacks Leader Odds Update: A Close Race
We're entering Week 13 of the NFL season, and the race for the sacks leader title is still anyone's for the taking. Some seasons have clear frontrunners from the onset of the campaign, but this year's batch of pass-rushers have vied neck-and-neck for weeks on end.
The Most Regular Season Sacks betting odds below, taken from the NFL odds at FanDuel Sportsbook, demonstrate how we still have plenty of players in contention for the title this season. Each of the seven players listed below has odds in the triple digits -- by comparison, just three players can say the same in the Defensive Player of the Year betting odds market.
|Los Angeles Chargers
|Las Vegas Raiders
This year's race is going to be a close one. Four different players have at least 13 sacks, while three more players are hot on their trails with at least 11.5 sacks.
Even the best pass-rushers in the league generally rack up their sacks in increments of one to two sacks per game -- not everyone can have a six-sack game like Khalil Mack did against the under-manned Las Vegas Raiders earlier this year. That means injured players are going to have an extremely difficult time keeping pace with their contemporaries.
Unfortunately, that puts both Cleveland Browns star Myles Garrett's and Raiders ironman Maxx Crosby's cases for the award in jeopardy. Garrett is dealing with a shoulder injury and left Week 12 in a sling. The team currently believes the star is day-to-day, but he is reportedly dealing with structural damage. Even if Garrett is able to play through the injury, it remains to be seen how effective he can continue to be. The same goes for Crosby, whose knee injury required a hospital visit last week and could need additional surgical attention after the season. Both players are having incredibly strong seasons, but their paths forward are murkier than those of their contemporaries.
Crosby and Minnesota Vikings sack leader Danielle Hunter will also be at a slight disadvantage compared to some of the other contenders, given that they'll be on bye in Week 13 -- every other player near the top of the sacks leaderboard still has a full six games left to play on the year.
Process of Elimination
After taking injuries and bye weeks into account, it does seem like some of these edge rushers have the edge over their contemporaries. We can start using the process of elimination to single out which of these studs have the clearest paths to a sacks-leader title in 2023.
Sadly, as good as Hunter's season has been, he faces an uphill battle to keep his spot at the top of the leaderboards. In addition to having a one-game handicap compared to his rivals here, the Vikings will face a slate of offenses that don't hand out many sacks to opposing defenses. His current total of 13.5 sacks means he'll still compete for the award, but it will be some seriously tough sledding.
Los Angeles Chargers veteran Khalil Mack faces similar challenges down the stretch. His upcoming schedule contains matchups with the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs, who give up sacks at the second-lowest and lowest rates in the league. He's also due for two dates with the Denver Broncos, whose shift to a run-focused approach has significantly curtailed the number of sacks Russell Wilson has taken in recent weeks. His sporadic but explosive sack production might not continue over the final weeks of the season.
Likewise, Dallas Cowboys ace Micah Parsons will face a brutal stretch of offenses as the season draws to a close, including matchups with the Bills, Miami Dolphins, Detroit Lions, and Philadelphia Eagles. Even a pass-rusher with Parsons' explosive athleticism could have trouble getting home against those offenses and quarterbacks.
Who Has the Best Chance?
Based on production to date and upcoming schedule, it looks like T.J. Watt and Josh Allen have the cleanest paths to winning the award.
The Pittsburgh Steelers' star, who is pacing to lead the league in sacks for the third time in four years, already leads the league with 13.5 and has a relatively friendly schedule the rest of the way -- the toughest offense he'll face over the next six weeks (in terms of sacks allowed) will be the Baltimore Ravens, who are taking sacks at the ninth-highest rate in the NFL this season. Watt shouldn't have much difficulty piling up sacks against teams like the Arizona Cardinals, New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts, and Jake Browning-led Cincinnati Bengals.
Josh Allen's 12 sacks currently trail Watt's league-high 13.5, but he and the Jacksonville Jaguars will also face a string of appealing opponents in the coming weeks, which could help him play some catchup. He, too, will square off against the Bengals and Ravens in the near future, while also drawing extremely favorable matchups against teams like the Browns, Carolina Panthers, and Tennessee Titans, who rank 10th, 5th, and 4th, respectively, in sack rate allowed. And unlike the Steelers, the Jaguars' offense is capable of creating blowout game scripts that force their opponents into negative, predictable passing game situations. A player of Allen's caliber can feast in that kind of setup, which could help him emerge as the frontrunner in this market.
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