NFL Odds: What Kind of Stats Will JJ Watt Put Up with the Cardinals?

When J.J. Watt suits up for his first game of the 2021 NFL Season, it’ll be the first time he won't be playing in a Houston Texans uniform. On March 1, Watt signed a two-year, $31 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals.

After missing half of the 2019 season with a pectoral injury, Watt showed that he could still be a contributor in 2020. In 16 games, Watt put up 52 combined tackles and five sacks.

With the Cardinals paying Watt $31 million, the hope is that he can play a bit better than that. Yes, he’s no longer his prime self, but that doesn’t mean he can’t still be a dominant force.

Although no prediction is guaranteed, Bovada has projected how they expect Watt to play in the 2021 NFL Season.

How Many Sacks Will Watt Have?

Odds via Bovada as of Friday, March 5

  • Over 8.25 -120
  • Under 8.25 -120

Throughout his career, Watt has displayed an ability to somehow constantly get to opposing quarterbacks. In 10 NFL seasons, Watt has recorded 16 or more sacks four times. He’s only done it once (2018) since he started battling injuries from 2016 going forward. However, if Watt plays the entirety or most of the 2021 NFL Season, he should be able to reach Bovada’s projection of 8.25 sacks.

The only time Watt has missed that mark while playing all 16 regular season games was in his rookie season and 2020. On the other hand, Watt’s five sacks last season could be attributed to the Texans being outright bad. After all, while Watt only played eight regular season games in 2019, he was on pace for eight sacks across a full season. Maybe a change of scenery will see him reach 8.5 sacks or more.

Watt Projected To Have 56.5 Tackles in 2021 NFL Season

Odds via Bovada as of Friday, March 5

  • Over 56.5 -120
  • Under 56.5 -120

After having 52 combined tackles in 2020, Bovada projects Watt to have around the same total at 56.5. In his NFL career, Watt has surpassed that total five times, however, four of those instances were between 2012 and 2015. The only time when Watt had 57 or more tackles since then was in 2018. This might look like a lot to ask from Watt, but he has to show he’s capable of getting close. After all, his signing did give the Cardinals a bump in Super Bowl odds, which shows what people are expecting of him.

Watt joins a Cardinals defense that boasts the likes of Chandler Jones, Budda Baker and Isaiah Simmons. Each of these players, including Watt, is capable of making big players or drawing extra attention. With that being said, Watt may see more opportunities to reach at least 57 tackles again.

On the other hand, the 31-year-old may not be at that level anymore. Injuries can take a toll on a player’s body and Watt has missed 32 games in the last five regular seasons. If he can still be a game-changer, he will need to prove it in his first season with the Cardinals.

Devon Platana
Devon Platana

After graduating with a Masters degree in Journalism, Devon joined USGS to improve his sports writing skills. As a lifelong sports fan, one of Devon’s favorite things to do is analyze statistics across all sports.