Zach Wilson and the NY Jets unfortunately mirror C.J. Stroud and the Texans

Are these two highly-touted QBs set for a duel? Or another rout of the Jets?
NY Jets, Zach Wilson
NY Jets, Zach Wilson / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages

I envy the NY Jets fans who somehow get excited each week, convincing themselves that this will be the week where everything suddenly and magically turns around. Zach Wilson back? “Wooo, time for him to ball out!”

The problem with that is in three years and 32 career starts, “Zach Wilson balling out” has climaxed at a paltry 245 yards, two touchdowns, and a game-losing turnover in the Kansas City Chiefs game.

Those were the best stats he’s ever had in a game in the NFL — the only time in 32 tries he threw multiple touchdowns and didn’t throw an interception (although he did lose the aforementioned crucial fumble). The career-high 105.2 passer rating he had that game was the only time he had a passer rating over 81.5 all season and just his second career game over 100.

For reference, there are six QBs who have a passer rating over 100 for the whole season and 30 with a rating over 81.5. Wilson's passer rating for the season is 73.8, which is the best he’s had in his career, and is currently 38th in the NFL. Reminder: there are 32 teams in the league.

Perhaps looking at Jake Browning’s 78 season attempts in four games and giving him credit for a 107.3 passer rating is a bit unfair, but there is nothing fishy about C.J. Stroud’s 101.2 passer rating (6th in the NFL). He’s played every game and leads the NFL in passing yards with 3,540 through 12 games.

Just imagine a 49ers defensive coordinator decides to leave Kyle Shanahan and become the head coach of a struggling team, taking one of Shanahan's passing game specialists with him to run the offense while he focuses on the defense.

That defensive-coordinator-turned-head-coach drafts a QB with the second overall pick of his first draft, and the rest is history! Right? Welp, those identical scenarios have turned out very different for former colleagues and current friends Robert Saleh and Demeco Ryans.

The NY Jets haven't found the same success with Robert Saleh and Zach Wilson

Saleh’s team sucks — under his watch, the Jets are 15-31 and his prized QB is the only one in history to be dead last in passer rating in two consecutive seasons.

Depending on how Wilson and Carolina Panthers rookie QB Bryce Young finish out their seasons, Wilson could extend this dubious distinction to a third straight last-place finish in three total years played.

Stroud, as we already mentioned, has proven to be a young star despite having a struggling running game and a largely unproven group of skill positions around him. He is arguably having the greatest rookie season in history and is objectively better than third-year veteran Wilson in every single measurable way to assess a football player.

Ryans' team is 7-5 with a legitimate chance to win his division and/or make the playoffs — they have established themselves as one of the most exciting teams to watch in the NFL, with some thrilling comeback wins over good teams like the Broncos (snapped their five-game win streak) and Bengals (when they had Joe Burrow).

It has been two months since the Texans finished a game with a margin larger than one score (30-6 victory against Pittsburgh in Week 4). Despite that fact, they have a +15 point differential in that span with a 5-3 record.

The Jets, on the other hand, haven’t had a full-team identity (part of the reason why they’re 4-8). They’ve lost close games, they’ve won some close games, but the constant since Week 8 has been defeat. Since Week 8, they are 0-5 with a point differential of -77.

When you consider that has been the lighter part of their schedule, where they’ve faced the likes of Aidan O’Connell, Desmond Ridder, or a struggling Bills team that had just fired their offensive coordinator, it really emphasizes the dysfunction surrounding this Jets organization as they struggle through yet another embarrassing display of complete irrelevance.

So will these two teams headed in completely different directions (despite identical backstories) continue on their paths? Do the New York Jets have any chance to win this game? Time will tell.