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Will Anyone Break NFL Season Sacks Record in 2024?

The NFL has grown massive global popularity, primarily because of the success of the league’s offenses. Offensive records are broken yearly as the league has expanded the rules and imposed harsher penalties on defenses. Fans watch the NFL expecting to see gaudy offensive explosions for their fantasy football players and touchdowns for their favorite teams. Still, there’s an underappreciated art form flying under the radar on defense – the sack.

There is a long list of defensive superstars in NFL history who made a living sacking the opposing quarterback. For starters, a sack is when a defensive player tackles the quarterback while behind the line of scrimmage. The sack has been an official statistic since 1982.

Will Anyone Break NFL Season Sacks Record in 2024?
T.j. Watt #90 of the Pittsburgh Steelers / Patrick Smith / Getty Images North America / Getty Images via Afp

The single-season sack record was set by Michael Strahan of the New York Giants in 2001 at 22.5. Twenty years later, T.J. Watt of the Pittsburgh Steelers tied the record with 22.5 sacks in the 2021 season.

There are a dozen current NFL defensive superstars that can dominate a game, but can anyone break the sack record in 2024? Here’s a deeper dive into the 2024 NFL sack leader odds.

 

2024 Odds to Break NFL Sack Record

There’s an extensive list of NFL Hall of Famers and all-time greats who have never accomplished what Strahan and Watt have done. In 2021, the NFL added a 17th game to the schedule. This has resulted in more records being broken, but the sack record remains resistant.

 

NFL Single-Season Sack Record

  • T1 Michael Strahan 22.5 (2001, NYG)
  • T1 T.J. Watt 22.5 (2021, PIT)
  • T3 Justin Houston 22 (2014, KC)
  • T3 Jared Allen 22 (2011, MIN)
  • T3 Mark Gastineau 22 (1984, NYJ)
  • T6 Chris Doleman 21 (1989, MIN)
  • T6 Reggie White 22 (1987, PHI)

 

The sack record has stood for 22 seasons. In recent years, offenses like Andy Reid’s in Kansas City and Kyle Shanhan’s in San Francisco have adopted the most effective model, focusing on quick passing and yard-after-catch (YAC) opportunities.

This play-calling is being adopted across the NFL, making it more difficult for pass rushers to get to the quarterback. However, here are the players with the best chance to break the single-season sack record in 2024 despite these challenges.

 

T.J. Watt, Steelers (+400)

Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end T.J. Watt has the best odds to break the record he shares with Strahan. This is a fair price, and rightfully so. When Watt tied the record, he played in just 15 games and left with an injury in the first half of another. Strahan played in all 16 games when he set the record.

Last season, Watt played in all 17 games, finishing with a league-high 19 sacks. He was the runner-up for Defensive Player of the Year. Alex Highsmith’s emergence on Pittsburgh’s defensive line has made it more difficult for opposing teams to double-team Watt. He is a generational player and the favorite to break the record.

 

 

 

Myles Garrett, Browns (+425)

Last season, Cleveland Browns defensive end and the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Myles Garrett finished with 14 sacks. He was on his way to pushing for the record with 13 sacks through the first 11 games of the season. He injured his shoulder in Week 12 and played through the injury the rest of the season but was not as effective the rest of the way.

Garrett is an elite defensive player because of his ability to stop the run. Among Watt, Dallas’ Micah Parsons and Garrett, he was the only one with a win rate of 30% against the run.

Garrett had 16 sacks in 2021 (17 games) and 2022 (16 games). Over the last three seasons, he has finished in the top three in pass rush win rate. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is excellent at designing plays to give Garrett opportunities to win at the line of scrimmage.

 

Micah Parsons, Cowboys (+500)

Next on our list is Micah Parsons of the Dallas Cowboys. According to the latest Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY) odds at BetUS, the Cowboys’ star defensive end is the current favorite to win the award in 2024.

According to Next Gen Stats, the most resounding stat that separates Parsons from Watt and Garrett is that he faced a double team on 35% of his pass rushes – compared to Garrett (29%) and Watt (14%) in 2023. Despite the more frequent double-teams, Parsons had a pass rush win rate of over 35% compared to Garrett (30%) and Watt (25%). He has led the NFL in this category in his first three seasons!

Garrett and Watt have benefited more from terrific teammates and coaching schemes than Parsons. The best player on the defensive line In Dallas alongside Parsons is DeMarcus Lawrence, who is in the late stages of his career at 32 years old.

Opposing offenses understand the weekly assignment is to double-team Parsons and not allow him to wreak havoc throughout a game. Parsons hasn’t posted a gaudy sack total yet in a season, finishing with 13 (2021, 16 games), 13.5 (2022, 17 games), and 14 (2023, 17 games).

 

Maxx Crosby, Raiders (+600)

Maxx Crosby would be a sneaky contender to break this record if the team he played for was elite. His motor never turns off and his production correlates. He plays more snaps than anyone, but he is only slightly above average in pass rush win rate.

He would have a realistic shot at the crown, but the last I checked, Crosby is still a member of the Las Vegas Raiders, who are projected to win just six games in 2024. With his opponents likely playing with a lead more often than others on this list, Mad Maxx won’t have as many opportunities as his counterparts to rack up a high sack total.

It should be noted the Raiders signed Christian Wilkins to a massive deal this offseason to help Crosby along the defensive front, but it’s difficult to back a guy on a losing team.

 

Trey Hendrickson, Bengals (+700)

Trey Hendrickson of the Cincinnati Bengals makes this list, but he’s another guy I’m not willing to believe can break the single-season sack record. Unlike Crosby, he plays on a winning team, but Hendrickson has rushed the passer at a much lower frequency than the other names mentioned here. Credit to him for finishing 2023 with a career-high 17.5 sacks, but I’m not sure he will exceed that again. Last season was the first time he played all 17 games in seven seasons.

 

Best Bet to Break the Single-Season Sack Record in 2024

Staying healthy is paramount for a player to break this record. Parsons has proven he can stay on the field, playing 17 games in back-to-back seasons. His sack totals haven’t been eye-popping compared to his running mates in this category, and a significant reason is that former defensive coordinator Dan Quinn would have Parsons rush the passer at a much lower rate.

With Mike Zimmer now calling the defensive plays in Dallas, we should expect him to utilize his best talents. Zimmer has made a living off of simulated pressures, which are designed to trick offensive lines. Parsons could deliver a historic season in his first season with a new DC.

If staying healthy is the key to breaking this record, T.J. Watt has the best chance in 2024. He would have the record already if he were credited for a sack in the final game of 2021 that was up for discussion. Many people believe Watt was snubbed of his second DPOY award in 2023, and he was reportedly upset.

Rightfully so, as Watt became the only player in NFL history to lead the league in sacks and pressures in three seasons. He had more pressures, QB hits, tackles for losses and tackles. Most importantly, more sacks than anyone on Earth in 2023. I’d be confident in online betting of backing the league’s most dangerous defender for the last six seasons with a chip on his shoulder entering 2024.

 

 

Questions of the Day

What is the NFL single-season sack record?


Michael Strahan set the single-season sack record at 22.5 in 2001. T.J. Watt tied the record in the 2021 season.

Who is projected to have the most sacks in 2024?


T.J. Watt is projected to have the most sacks in 2024.

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