- Bovada has weighed in on on which Watt will have more sacks in 2018, favoring TJ
- The younger Watt had a massive Week 1 with four sacks against the Browns
- JJ was quiet against the Patriots with just two tackles
Week 1 couldn’t have gone more differently for the Watt brothers.
TJ was a dominant force in the Steelers’ tie with Cleveland. He totaled 11 total tackles, logged four sacks, and even blocked a field goal.
JJ, however, was uncharacteristically quiet. The Patriots did a good job of neutralizing Watt. He was in on just three tackles and failed to log a sack.
Now TJ is leading the sack race between the two, and Watt has plenty of ground to make up.
TJ Watt and JJ Watt 2018 Total Sacks Odds
|Who Will Have More Sacks in 2018||Bovada Odds|
|T.J. Watt, PIT||-240|
|J.J. Watt, HOU||+165|
The 4-0 lead TJ built over JJ could prove to be difficult to overcome. At least that’s what Bovada is banking on.
There are a number of things at play here too. For one, TJ is playing in just his second NFL season. Many players undergo a massive leap from year one to year two, and this could be just the tip of the iceberg for him.
TJ Watt vs JJ Watt Week 1 Comparison
|Week 1 Comparison||Solo Tackles||Sacks||Snap %|
While this would be a meteoric rise for the younger Watt, take JJ’s first and second seasons. He went from 48 solo tackles to 69, and shot up from 5.5 sacks to 20.5.
TJ also is playing on a defense where he can be the feature piece. When healthy, the Texans feature so many quality pass rushers, that JJ isn’t just competing with his brother, but Whitney Mercilus and Jadeveon Clowney too.
That’s the other key. When healthy.
JJ Watt vs TJ Watt Statistical Comparison
*JJ Watt has one career interception
^TJ Watt’s stats taken from 2017 season. J.J. Watt’s are career averages per game averaged over a 16 game season
Despite being a generational defensive talent, JJ Watt’s career has hit a bit of a standstill.
After logging 17.5 sacks in three of four seasons, Watt played just eight games combined in 2016 and ’17. And in those games? Watt came away with 1.5 sacks.
Since 2011, despite missing 24 games, @HoustonTexans DE @JJWatt still leads the @NFL in tackles for loss (136), quarterback hits (219), fumble recoveries (13) & multi-sack games (21). Watt also is 2nd in sacks (76.0) & 1st in passes defensed by a defensive lineman (47) #Dominant pic.twitter.com/vAzMUkyop2
— Texans PR (@TexansPR) September 4, 2018
Now the question surrounding Watt is if he can stay healthy for a full season.
On Sunday against the Patriots, he was chipped and chopped at every opportunity. It’s one thing to handle that as a 24-year old, but after multiple back surgeries in 2016 and a broken leg last year it becomes even tougher.
O-Lines and Mobile QBs Standing in the Watts’ Way
When it comes to quality offensive lines, the younger brother has the advantage here too.
TJ and the Steelers face five teams ranked 20 or worse in PFF’s offensive line rankings. They get to face two of them (the Ravens and Bengals) twice. They also face the Broncos, who finished last year at 23, but started this year at 19.
J.J. Watt never had 4 sacks in one game like his brother TJ did today in Cleveland
— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) September 10, 2018
The Steelers also face some more stationary quarterbacks. They get the last week of the Ryan Fitzpatrick experience, Joe Flacco (twice), Andy Dalton (twice), Matt Ryan, Tom Brady and Drew Brees.
In Houston, JJ and the Texans face four teams that are worse than 20 in the rankings. They also see three who were below 20 in 2017, but are above it to start the year (including the Colts twice).
TJ Watt has been an absolute force today. Elite vs run, hustling as a pass rusher. One sacks vs TE Darren Fells and one on a coverage sack, but he's such a good athlete he can take advantage of those spots constantly.
— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) September 9, 2018
Now that Tom Brady is in their rear-view mirror, they also see plenty of mobile quarterbacks. Marcus Mariota, Dak Prescott, Andrew Luck and Alex Smith are just some of the names the elder Watt will have to contend with.
Can JJ match TJ’s 2018 sack total?
Barring an injury to little brother, it’s going to be tough for JJ to catch him.
With the ever-looming injury cloud, a slew of impactful defenders to compete with, and more mobile QBs to chase, big brother is in tough.
Take TJ to come out on top in 2018.