J.J. Watt may not be having a defensive MVP-like year in 2013, but that does not mean the Texan’s defensive end is any less dangerous for the Kansas City Chiefs this Sunday.
Watt, simply put, is a beast.
In 2012, his second year in the league mind you, Watt went out and four forced fumbles, snagged two fumble recoveries and notched 20.5 sacks. You read that right, 20.5.
He was a dominant force for the Texans, and in fact, his performance was good enough to see him win the 2012 AP NFL Defensive Player Of The Year award.
Some would say the Chiefs’ Justin Houston is on track for that honor in 2013, but for now, Watt is the reigning defensive MVP in the NFL.
The Chiefs offensive line will be tasked with stopping him this Sunday at Arrowhead.
Per a press release, Chiefs’ quarterback Alex Smith talked about Watt and Houton’s defense in general:
“They have a lot of good players on defense, a lot of good players. He’s certainly one of them. He’s the reigning defensive MVP, player of the year or whatever, an elite player up front, he is. They have a lot of them. They have a lot of good players across the board, but I think it starts with those guys up front, they do a great job of playing run and the pass and especially him. I think most guys get credit for sacks, but you see him do a great job against the run. They create pressure in the pocket there’s a reason statistically why they’ve been doing so well.”
Tight end Sean McGrath also discussed the Texans:
We know our challenge this week is the Texans and we have a challenge in front of us. They’re great up front, from their d-lineman. Number 99 (J.J. Watt) isn’t a bad player. It’s the linebackers and the secondary, so I mean we have to come out and be prepared to execute the game plan on Sunday.”
According to ESPN, Houston’s defense is first in the league in net passing yards allowed and second in total defense. The Texans are only giving up 131.3 passing payers per game, but they are 25th in the league in rushing yards allowed with 121.5 per.
That means one of the keys of this game will be running the ball, and thankfully for the Chiefs, that’s something they do well. Jamaal Charles is one of the best all-around running backs in the game, and he’s spearheaded a Kansas City rushing attack that’s 12th in the NFL, putting up 119 yards a game.
The Chiefs will also have to stop Watt though, and that could prove to be a task for an offensive line that has struggled in pass protection at times. Kansas City has allowed 16 sacks so far this season, according to pro-football-reference.com
While he hasn’t had a tremendous season—he’s only notched 3.5 sacks and he didn’t even get onto the box score last weekend against the Rams—he’s still a player that the Chiefs will have to find before every snap.
After all, he’s still a player who can do this:
At least for his part though, Chiefs’ head coach Andy Reid doesn’t seem to be all that worried. When asked if he does anything different when going up against a guy like Watt, Reid responded with a joke:
“If I have to go up against JJ Watt, we’re in trouble,” Reid said. “He’d slam me all over the field.”
“He’s the defensive player of the year, reining defensive player of the year, well deserved. He’s a great football player. We understand that and respect him for that. We’ll study him and come out and we’ll play.”
Note that the joke came with a tremendous amount of respect afterward though, and that’s exactly how the Chiefs are going to have to approach Watt’s abilities this weekend.