We’re a little past the halfway point of the NFL season, and there has been a ton of surprises. One of which has been the Houston Texans, who after winning three games in 2022, already have five wins and are currently in an AFC postseason position. However, not many are confident in the fact that a team with a rookie quarterback and an unproven defense is going to make the playoffs. Well, I beg to differ, and a lot of that has to do with the man takes lemons and makes lemonade, C.J. Stroud!
It’s been a weird few years for the Houston Texans, who just a few years ago were ready for a set future with Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins. Years later, after a pathetic D-HOP trade and the whole Deshaun Watson mess that no one could stand, the Texans were one of the worst teams in the league with the number two overall pick, and they had no idea how much that was going to change their franchise.
They took C.J. Stroud, quarterback out of Ohio State, and then traded back into the draft to select Alabama pass rusher Will Anderson. So there was a lot of hype around the Texans, but with an ‘unproven’ and ‘non-NFL ready’ quarterback at center, nobody expected any crazy amount of success.
Well, they should have! The Texans have been amazing. The offense has been succeeding, the defense hasn’t been horrible, and the team is above .500, and already have more wins than they had in 2022. And it all starts and ends with Stroud. Last season, Houston ranked 30th in points per game under Davis Mills, and this season they rank 10th.
But his impact doesn’t just end there. In fact, it’s incredible what he’s doing. You’d think Houston’s offensive explosion would be because of Dameon Pierce. This season, Pierce has under 330 yards and a touchdown in seven games. The offense has had to be carried by Stroud. And that’s what he’s done.
Tank Dell, a close to 1400 yard receiver in his last year in Houston (NCAA), has definitely helped Stroud succeed. But look at his other weapons. Nico Collins, a receiver who had 927 yards in his first two seasons in the league combined, is on pace to get to that total if he stays healthy THIS SEASON. Noah Brown, a wide receiver in Dallas who played 66 games there, is on pace to have more yards in Houston than he did in his entire career in Dallas, and he also leads the NFL in yards per reception with over 20. He turned those players into stars. Because that’s what he does; takes nothing, and turns into something.
We’re over appreciating how good C.J. Stroud is at football. The rookie LEADS THE NFL in passing yards, with an amount that is the most per game ever by a rookie. He’s on pace for close to 30 touchdowns, and he’s made some incredible comebacks and great plays in the biggest moments, like against Tampa Bay and Cincinnati. But one thing stands out to me in particular; his turnover rate. He’s thrown just two interceptions, with an interception percentage of 0.6%. That percentage now ranks as the 5th best in NFL history.
And he could very well rank just behind Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers for least amount of interceptions in a season for a player with at least 400 pass attempts. That’s crazy. We have seen promising rookies in the past who have thrown for yards and touchdowns, but it usually results in turnovers and inconsistency. Stroud has been amazing all season, and as a young rookie is going to give a 36 year old Aaron Rodgers and a 39 year old Tom Brady a run for their money with this interception record. Again one last time: A ROOKIE!
So even if the Texans weren’t good, Stroud’s ability to lead his team in the biggest moments, to make minimal talents stars and to do all of this while turning the ball over at an ungodly low rate, it is clear and obvious that Stroud should 100% be in the MVP discussions, and will be a problem for the rest of the league for years to come!
The only thing that is going to possibly hold Houston back is their defense. Houston allows over 20 points per game, does an awful job in the completion percentage allowed department, and they have one of the lower sack totals. However, it’s not terrible enough to off-set their amazing offense…at least I think. I mean look, this is the team that picked off Joe Burrow twice in the second half. I don’t think their bad enough to hold this team back. Especially with their remaining opponents averaging under 20 points.
And that schedule. It’s another reason why this team will succeed. They have the 6th easiest schedule remaining in the league by Pro Football Network, and it makes sense. They play the Cardinals, Titans (twice), Jaguars, Browns, Broncos, Jets and Colts. Only one of those teams is healthy and above .500; the Jaguars. And they happen to be the team who lost to Houston earlier this season by 20 points. The Texans could very well win a decent amount of those games, and maybe even get to 10 or 11 wins and give the Jaguars a run for their money for the AFC South title.
As you can tell, I’m very high on the Houston Texans but for good reason. They are going to make the playoffs in 2023 and I’m almost 100% sure of it. They could even win their division. But no matter what happens this season, I think Texans fans should be excited for what the future holds, especially with their QB under center!
Wiz Talk with Chase
Cool Sports Network
Twitter: Chase Coburn (@coolsportskid)
Sports 4 Kids: youtube.com/sports4kids126
Chase’s Sports News YT: youtube.com/@csn504