The Winner of the NFL Defensive Player of the Year Is…


At the moment Cowboys outstanding linebacker Micah Parsons is the heavy favorite to win the Defensive Player of the Year Award. He is at -1500, and the next closest to him on the odds board is 49ers EDGE Nick Bosa at +1300.

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But a third of the season remains to be played, there are still several huge games to come, and each of the top contenders for the award has an opportunity to shine.

Micah Parsons

Let’s begin with the favorite, Micah Parsons. He has 12.0 sacks, coming in six games of 2.0 sacks each. He got a pair of sacks in the blowout win over Minnesota and two more sacks on Thanksgiving.

Parsons also faces a very favorable schedule down the stretch. Using Cold, Hard Football Facts’ Offensive Hog Index as our guide, Parson should shine against the Colts (ranked 20th), the Texans (21st), the Titans (18th), and the Commanders (22nd).

A final season total of 18.0 sacks is well within his reach, and that would be enough to make him DPOY.

Nick Bosa

Nick Bosa has played one less game than Parson but has 11.5 sacks on the season, and he has sacks in five consecutive games. In fact only once all season has Bosa played in a game when he didn’t get to the quarterback.

It’s that consistency that has him in the DPOY race, and it’s why we might see him actually pass Parsons in sacks by the end of the year. Again, using Cold, Hard Football Facts and their Offensive Hog Index as our guide, Bosa gets Washington (ranked 22nd) and the Dolphins (ranked 16th). But he also has the Raiders and Seahawks, who are both in the top-10, so he may not have many big games left on the schedule.

Bosa will get his, because he always gets his, but putting together a huge game that will move him past Parsons is unlikely to happen.

Matthew Judon

The NFL’s current sack leader isn’t Parsons or Bosa – it’s Matthew Judon of the Patriots. He is at 13.0 for the season, however on national television and in a big loss to the Vikings, he failed to record a sack.

He has several big games remaining on the schedule – the Bills this Thursday, the Bengals on Christmas Eve, and then the Dolphins and Bills again to end the season. If he has big games against big competition and can lead the Patriots into the playoffs, he could turn some voters.

The problem for Judon is that Cold, Hard Football Facts ranks Buffalo No. 1 in the NFL in Offensive Hog Index, and the Bills have allowed just 23 sacks on the season. The Bengals have allowed 35, so Judon could have a huge game there. But like Buffalo, Miami has allowed just 23 sacks in 2022.

The Winner Is…

He has the numbers, he has the narrative, and he passes every eye test there ever was for judging NFL defensive players. The clear winner of the Defensive Player of the Year award will be Micah Parsons. And it won’t be the last of his young career.


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