Will the NY Jets be able to slow down C.J. Stroud?

Stroud is having arguably the best rookie QB season ever — can he be stopped?

NY Jets, C.J. Stroud
NY Jets, C.J. Stroud / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

C.J. Stroud is having one of the best rookie seasons for a quarterback in the history of the NFL. It has to hurt NY Jets fans extra to see a Kyle Shanahan defensive coordinator leave the team, take one of his offensive coaches, draft a QB second overall, and see it actually work out.

The early returns are sky-high, as Stroud currently leads the league in passing yards, has a 101.2 passer rating (fourth among qualified QBs), has the second-best TD:INT ratio in the NFL (4:1), and broke the record for the most completions without an interception to start a career in NFL history. Simply put, he’s a franchise quarterback.

If you were to cut all of Stroud’s stats in half across the board, he’d have 1,770 yards in six games with 10 touchdowns, let’s round up 2.5 to three interceptions, with 133 (rounded up 132.5) completions on 209 throws (63.3%).

Zach Wilson, in 10 games this season, has 1,944 yards, six touchdowns, seven interceptions, and 190 completions on 321 attempts (59.2%).

I think the scariest thing is that Stroud has been able to do this without a consistent rushing attack (bottom 10 in the league) or any skill position players on the level of Garrett Wilson.

The NY Jets will have their hands full with C.J. Stroud

Stroud has taken turns making Nico Collins, Tank Dell, Noah Brown, and Dalton Schultz fantasy superstars from week to week while Dameon Pierce adds nothing on the ground, and the defense tries to complement this prolific offense.

After allowing 31+ points for the first and second times of the Sauce Era in back-to-back weeks, the Jets bounced back very nicely with another dominant performance against the Falcons.

They forced their third safety of the season, extending their lead as the only team in the league to force more than one safety this year, but it didn’t matter because the offense was so bad.

I won’t even remind you that two weeks ago, the Jets defense put the pressure on Tua and forced two consecutive drives to end with an interception before the offense was so bad that the only points they contributed in that half were seven for the Dolphins.

A fun fact is that this week’s Jets starter, Zach Wilson, has never thrown a pick-six in his career. So if the Jets defense treats Stroud like one of the best QBs in the league and forces the amount of turnovers they did against Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, and Jalen Hurts, that might be enough to win the game.

But is it as easy as just “forcing turnovers” on this Texans offense? Obviously not, as Stroud is the only player in the NFL with 20 or more touchdowns to have five or fewer interceptions. He’s also only fumbled twice all season (lost one of them), so he has sure hands when he gets brought down.

According to Pro Football Reference, the Texans allow pressure 23.7% of the time (10th most in the league), which is great news for the league-leading Jets defense, which pressures QBs 28% of the time.

We’ll ignore the fact that on the other side of the ball, the Jets’ offense allows pressure 28.6% of the time (second most in the league) against a Texans defense that pressures QBs 24.9% of the time (sixth in the league).

All in all, I have faith in this elite Jets defense, and I think they will subdue this explosive attack. The big question will be, can the Jets offense score a touchdown? If so, how many?