For most defensive ends, a game that brings five tackles, four tackles for a loss, three sacks and two pass deflections would be considered a career game.
But for J.J. Watt, it's just another day at the office. Watt continued his defensive dominance on Thanksgiving Day against the Detroit Lions, dominance that not only makes him hands down the NFL's defensive player of the year, but also should be a reason to give Watt consideration for the NFL's MVP award.
If he were to win such an award, he'd join Alan Paige and Lawrence Taylor as the only defensive players to win the MVP—quite impressive company to be in, as both are Hall of Famers.
Watt's argument is a simple one to make, as he's the top player on Houston's defense, which is currently ranked fourth overall in both yards allowed and points per game. Already this season, Watt has recorded 55 tackles, 14.5 sacks, 13 pass deflections and two fumble recoveries.
With Watt, there's a good chance that Houston's defense wouldn't be at the level it's at. Watt doesn't have any interceptions of his own, but has been indirectly instrumental in many of Houston's 11 interceptions as a team this season.
When teams game-plan against the Texans, they game-plan around J.J. Watt in the same way that a defense game-plans around some of the best quarterbacks in the league. While the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks and Pittsburgh Steelers might all be ranked ahead of the Texans in terms of team defense, but what player on each of those defenses can you point to as being so vital to the defense?
The MVP is judged to be the most outstanding player in the league during a given season, and the player who has the most value to a team. Matt Ryan has great value for the Atlanta Falcons, while Aaron Rodgers is extremely valuable to the Green Bay Packers.
But J.J. Watt's value to the Houston Texans is just as big as those two quarterbacks, likely a lot bigger.