Houston Texans Quarterback C.J. Stroud Expected Back for Week 17

The Houston Texans should have their franchise passer back in the fold for this week's AFC South showdown with the Tennessee Titans. Rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud officially cleared concussion protocol, opening the path for him to make his first start since Week 14.

Stroud missed two starts after suffering a head injury in the fourth quarter of the Texans' 30-6 loss to the New York Jets. It was unquestionably the worst start of his young career; he netted a minuscule 53 yards on 27 dropbacks in the blowout loss.

The Texans managed to split their games against the Titans and the Cleveland Browns in Stroud's absence, so they remain in the thick of the playoff hunt. At 8-7, they're in a three-way tie for the AFC South lead with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Indianapolis Colts. The Texans face the Colts in a crucial Week 18 showdown.

Stroud was on pace for one of the greatest rookie seasons the quarterback position has ever seen, so his return could be enough to put the Texans over the top as they push for the playoffs. His 279.3 passing yards per game and 7.0 net yards per attempt are third-most in the league, and his 1.1% interception rate leads all passers. Regardless of how the rest of the season plays out, Stroud has already proven he's the Texans' quarterback of the future.

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