Cowboys’ Micah Parsons Set To Wreak Havoc Against Giants O-Line On ‘Monday Night Football’

For the first time in his promising career, Micah Parsons is the +350 favorite to win the Defensive Player of the Year award. He surpassed Myles Garrett (+450) as the betting favorite at Caesars Sportsbook last Wednesday after opening with the fourth-best performance to win the award behind Aaron Donald, TJ Watt and Garrett.

Punters are flocking to Parsons as he has received the most bets (19%) and the highest percentage of money (37%) to win the prize since it opened.

Those bets could pay off if he continues to be an absolute game breaker. Entering Week 3, Parsons leads the NFL in sacks (4.0), pressures (13) and is second in pressure percentage (22%). He’s also Pro Football Focus’ top-rated defender (92.2) this year.

Micah Parsons by the numbers — entering Week 3

Category

Statistical data

Class

Bags

4

1st

Pressures

13

t-1st

Pressure pct

22%

2nd

It begs the question, what if the Cowboys use him exclusively as a pass rusher? Parsons is lining up at outside linebacker on 79% of his snaps this year, up from 39% last year.

He’s also getting better. He rushes the quarterback in about two seconds on average (2.01), the fastest among the top 40 players in rushes this year, and significantly better than last year’s mark (2.36). If you look at the seven players with 10 pressures this season, there’s a big difference between Parson’s pressure time (2.01) and the rest of the group (2.46). That half second is an eternity if you’re a general. He also has more pressures under two seconds (5) than 17 entire teams.

Most pressures in 2022 — entering Week 3

The impact is obvious. The Cowboys have allowed negative yards (-3) this season on Parsons’ 13 carries. Dallas also held two potent offenses (Buccaneers and Bengals) about 10 points below their 2021 season average and escaped with a win against Cincinnati without Dak Prescott.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Parsons’ skill set. According to ESPN metrics powered by NFL Next Gen Stats, Parsons is outblocking on nearly 60% of his rushers this season, easily the best pass-rush win percentage in the league. Think about it. If the most fundamental piece to the pass rush is beating the offensive lineman, it’s absurd to do so much more than half the time. The kicker, too, as you can see at the diagram below (courtesy of ESPN Sports Analytics writer Seth Walder), he accomplishes this while getting double-teamed at one of the highest rates in the league, leaving him in a league of his own.

Parsons will make his Week 3 show on the big “Monday Night Football” stage in front of an all-time great to whom he is often compared. Lawrence Taylor told the New York Post: “I’m sure I’ll see what he has Monday night, because I’ll be there,” LT said. “I haven’t analyzed it. But I will on Monday.”

It could be a very good show. He faces a Giants offensive line that has allowed the highest pressure percentage in the NFL (49%) this year. While LT Andrew Thomas is Pro Football Focus’ top offensive tackle in the league, rookie RT Evan Neal ranks 65th among 66 players. The Cowboys have moved Parsons, so expect them to find the right fit. He has 38 snaps at right OLB this season and 55 at left OLB.

Giants coach Brian Daboll knows how much of a threat he is. “It’s a problem,” Dumbledore said. “He’s a dynamic football player. He can play a lot of spots, he does. You see him at fullback, you see him on the defensive end. He’s got a rare passing ability and we’ll have a good scheme for him. He’s fun to watch when you’re not ready play him… We obviously need to know where he is.”

Beyond Week 3, prepare for a historic season. Parsons already has the most sacks of any player through 18 career games and is getting better.

Most sacks in first 18 career games

(Since sacks became official in 1982)

If he continues, he will have more than LT comparisons. With Defensive Player of the Year in his sights, he can join Taylor (1981-82) and former Panthers star Luke Kuechly (2012-13) as the only players in NFL history to win Defensive Rookie of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in their first two seasons. Taylor won both awards as a rookie and added a second DPOY honor in his second season.

He has just two games on the year and 18 in his career. As Taylor’s Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells would say, “leave the anointing oil.”

I’ll probably put it on hold.

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