- Arizona Cardinals at +3300 to win Super Bowl after signing five-time All-Pro defensive end JJ Watt
- Nobody was predicting the Cardinals would land the three-time NFL Player of the Year Award winner
- An analysis of Watt’s fit with the Cardinals and why it doesn’t move their Super Bowl odds much is below
JJ Watt stunned the NFL Community Monday by signing a two-year deal for $31 million with the Arizona Cardinals, a team that didn’t even seem to be in the Watt Sweepstakes.
After signing Watt, the Cardinals’ were at +3300 to win Super Bowl 56, only slightly improved from the +3533 they were at yesterday in the Super Bowl odds.
When the Texans granted Watt’s request to be released on February 12, the Cardinals were not listed among teams considered to have a shot of landing him. The Pittsburgh Steelers were +175 favorites to sign Watt, followed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+200) and Green Bay Packers (+550). The Cardinals’ odds were not even listed.
Super Bowl 56 Odds
|Kansas City Chiefs||+525|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||+900|
|Green Bay Packers||+1000|
|Los Angeles Rams||+1300|
|San Francisco 49er||+1500|
|New Orleans Saints||+2000|
|Los Angeles Chargers||+3000|
|New England Patriots||+4000|
|Las Vegas Raiders||+5000|
Odds as of March 1st at DraftKings
Cardinals Now Have Super Rushing Tandem
In Arizona, Watt joins with Chandler Jones to give the Cardinals the NFL’s most formidable one-two pass-rushing combination. Since 2012, no tandem has more sacks than these two guys.
Jones leads the NFL in that period with 97 sacks and Watt has 95.5. In 2020, Watt posted five sacks, two forced fumbles and one interception that he ran back for a touchdown. According to ESPN’s Statistics and Information, Watt ranked 15th out of 119 rushers in pass rush win-rate.
The only negatives on Watt’s resume are that he is now 31, and he’s had difficulty staying healthy in recent years.
You’ve gotta be kidding me….
Rams: Top 5 Defensive Line led by Aaron Donald
49ers: Top 5 Defensive Line led by Nick Bosa
Cardinals: Chandler Jones & JJ Watt
Seahawks might want REALLY want take the offensive line acquisition this offseason seriously. https://t.co/X7aufhjCCS
— Jake Heaps (@jtheaps9) March 1, 2021
Why Watt was Interested in Arizona
Opponents can’t double-team Watt and Jones. This makes Watt even more dangerous. The Cardinals have an exciting young quarterback in Kyler Murray. He’s 23 and still improving. A slick passer and runner, Murray has the potential to be a quality ball control QB. That will keep Watt off the field a little bit more.
He played with Arizona receiver D’Andre Hopkins in Houston. He knows Cardinals’ defensive coordinator Vance Joseph who previously worked as an assistant in Houston.
A few days after the Texans released Watt, Hopkins put a doctored photo of him and Watt together in Arizona. Maybe we should have taken the hint.
— ESPN (@espn) March 1, 2021
Troll Fooled NFL About Watt’s Intentions
As fans were all clamoring for information about where Watt might sign, word started to spread that Watt had changed his Peloton bio to read “SB56…GB…CLE…BUF”.
Everyone took that to mean that Green Bay, Cleveland and Buffalo were the finalists.
That seemed reasonable because the Packers had been one of the early favorites, Cleveland is an up-and-coming team and the Bills have arrived as a contender.
A rumor online indicated J.J. Watt had announced his final three teams on his Peloton bio.
So he had to clear the air 😅 pic.twitter.com/IGg52WDpcd
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 1, 2021
The problem with the report: Someone other than Watt created the Peloton account.
Don’t feel too bad for Packers fans. Even though the Packers were considered favorites, members of the media in Green Bay were telling them that it was a longshot that Watt would sign with Green Bay.
Betting on the Cardinals Offers Some Value
Last season, the Cardinals ranked sixth in total yards gained, just ahead of the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Lightning. The Cardinals ranked 13th in team defense, seven spots behind the Bucs. Arizona ranked 10th against the pass last season, and we can expect that to improve with Jones and Watt now zeroing in on the quarterback.
Nobody is going to say the Cardinals are a prime Super Bowl contender, but they were an 8-8 football team with a quarterback who is just starting to understand how to take advantage of his game-breaking ability.
The addition of Watt and the continued development of Murray could be enough to turn 8-8 into 10-6 and a playoff berth. If you qualify for the playoffs, you have a Super Bowl shot. If you are a bettor who likes to take a flyer, the Cardinals (+3300) are an enticing option.
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