TJ Watt Injury: What it Means for the Steelers and His DPOY Pursuit
The Pittsburgh Steelers won a wild season opener on Sunday against their AFC North rivals the Cincinnati Bengals.
Pittsburgh won the game 23-20 in overtime on a successful 53-yard field goal by Chris Boswell, but not before both he and Bengals kicker Evan McPherson missed field goals in overtime.
The game was even four seconds away from not going to overtime, but Bengal QB Joe Burrow, who threw four interceptions and lost a fumble, found Ja’Marr Chase in the end zone with just four seconds remaining in the game to send it to overtime.
Burrow was awful and the Steelers were lucky to win the game, but not all is positive going forward.
Mitch Trubisky didn’t exactly look great either. The former Chicago Bears QB was 21-for-38 with 194 passing yards and one touchdown. Najee Harris only rushed for 23 yards and left the game with an injury, but is expected to play this week.
The bigger concern was the injury to reigning Defensive Player of the Year TJ Watt. The veteran linebacker suffered a pectoral injury midway through the game, after already recording a sack and six tackles to go along with his fifth career interception.
The Steelers originally expected him to miss the rest of the regular season.
Watt’s Injury Isn’t as Bad as Expected
The news was much more positive for Watt and the Steelers on Tuesday as head coach Mike Tomlin stressed that, while TJ Watt will miss this Sunday’s game, he will return later this season. He’s expected to be out for six games.
Watt announced the news himself in a Tweet, posting a GIF of Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator stating his signature phrase: “I’ll be back.”
“We’re encouraged and we’ll just continue to look at the situation and gain opinions and do what’s appropriate,” Tomlin said on Tuesday. “We’re probably in a lot better place than we were after the game. And usually that’s the case.”
Newcomers Jamir Jones and Malik Reed are expected to fill in for Watt.
“Those guys are not going to be T.J. (and) it’s not realistic to think that they’re going to be T.J.,” Tomlin said. “But we expect them to be varsity.”
TJ Watt Now at +3000 to Repeat as DPOY
While TJ Watt’s injury is serious and he will miss considerable time, his betting odds to repeat as DPOY should give an indication as to how sportsbooks feel about his likelihood to return to action sooner rather than later.
TJ Watt began the season at +700 to win the DPOY and was the co-betting favorite along with Cleveland Browns’ Myles Garrett. Despite the perceived severity of his injury, Watt is still listed at +3000 to win the DPOY. Only 11 players, including Michah Parsons (+700) and Aaron Donald (+700) have shorter odds to win the award.
Other favorites include Nick Bosa (+1500), Joey Bosa (+2000), and Maxx Crosby (+2800).
Check out some more betting news.