Here’s one thing I can guarantee you: unfortunately for the Denver Broncos there will be a new sack champion in the NFL this season. Broncos linebacker Elvis Dumervil led the league with 17 sacks last year and got a fat new contract this offseason for doing so.
But in what has been the biggest injury so far in NFL training camps, Dumervil tore his pectoral muscle and will miss a large majority of the season. Normally, the recovery time is four to five months for such an injury. The team is hopeful he will get back near the tail end of the season and probably will hold a roster spot for Dumervil and not place him on injured reserve. Denver’s in big trouble without him, considering defensive lineman Darrell Reid had four sacks last year, the most of any other returning Broncos player.
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But this story isn’t about Broncos futures but about our NFL predictions for betting on which player will supplant Dumervil with the most sacks in the NFL in 2010. BetUS offers odds on this prop and three players are currently co-favorites at +900: the Cowboys’ DeMarcus Ware, the Vikings’ Jared Allen and the Bears’ Julius Peppers.
Ware won the sack title in 2008 with 20. He led the Cowboys with 11 sacks last year but also led the NFL in quarterback pressures with 45. That’s pretty impressive considering he was nicked up nearly all season – Ware was supposed to miss a few games with a severely sprained neck late in the year but played through it. He also had back stiffness, a chipped bone in his left wrist and a stress fracture in his left foot. Yet he played all 16 games. With an emerging Anthony Spencer at the other outside linebacker spot it will be tough for teams to double up on Ware. Spencer had six sacks and 36 quarterback pressures last year.
Allen was the 2007 sack king when he had 15.5 with the Kansas City Chiefs and was runner-up to Dumervil last year with 14.5. Allen is probably the best defensive end in the league and is one of two players to record three straight 14-plus sack seasons since sacks became an official stat in 1982.
Peppers was the big free agent prize this offseason, leaving the Panthers for a six-year, $91.5 million deal with the Bears with $42 million guaranteed. He had 81 sacks in eight seasons with Carolina -- 10½ last year. Peppers, however, tends to take plays off and has never led the league in sacks. He’ll get you his 10-11 but probably no more – he’s a bad bet.
I would argue the best value is Houston Texans defensive end Mario Williams at +2000. The 2006 No. 1 overall pick has proven durable, not missing a game so far in his career. He did only have nine sacks last year after 26 total the previous two seasons. But Houston doesn’t have a good secondary and is good against the run – thus opposing QBs should be throwing a lot. And Williams, who had been bothered by a hip injury in camp, looked dominant in the preseason opener against the Cardinals, sacking Arizona QB Matt Leinart twice.
Another good value bet is Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs at +3000. He finished with a career-low 4 1/2 sacks last year but was bothered by injuries. This offseason he lost 20 pounds and apparently is shining at camp. "He's going to be quicker and more explosive on the pass rush. We've seen that out here," coach John Harbaugh said.
Doc’s Sports is on an 11-2 run for member’s NFL picks in the NFL Preseason this year and last and we are very excited about the rest of the 2010 slate of exhibition games. Our picks against the NFL line for the entire NFL Preseason are just $49. Also, our Early Bird Special for the NFL full season is just $695 and that will get you all the picks from the first kick in preseason to the Super Bowl (normal price will be $950). Check our home page daily for NFL handicapping articles and up-to-the-minute updated odds.