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Why C.J. Stroud is the Texans’ clear cut MVP

And why the Texans need to protect him.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Houston Texans Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

While the Houston Texans rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud isn’t undefeated, his will to win (aka IT) has pulled this team from the 3-4 win doldrums into playoff contention. His unfortunate concussion certainly derailed what was one of the most promising rookie quarterback seasons this century. And with it, the Texans clear shot at a playoff run.

Sure #TeamKeenum came in and rallied the troops against the Tennessee Titans when they played dress up and wore Houston uniforms on Halloween... except it wasn’t Halloween... silly BESFs...

But last weekend against the Cleveland Browns, it was clear the offense lacked the spark that Stroud brings when he’s on the field.

Stroud is making strides in returning to the field, but the question rises up: should he at this stage?

Nothing will shorten a storied career faster than too many blows to the head. Thankfully, this seems to be Stroud’s first (recorded) concussion.

Or was it?

Anyone who knows anything about concussions understands the risk of re-injury is far greater the sooner the victim takes another blow to the head. Did Stroud actually get concussed against the Denver Broncos, then more so against the New York Jets?

More importantly, is someone inside NRG more interested in winning right now than the potential for a long career of wins with Stroud? Did Stroud hide the severity of his injury against the Broncos? Or did a team staffer err on the side of winning vs player safety?

Sitting at 8-7, according to NFL.com, the Texans are the eighth seed in the AFC playoff race. Had they defeated the Browns, they’d currently be in and sitting alone atop the AFC South. That would have jumped the Texans to the fourth seed.

This weekend has the 8-7 Indianapolis Colts facing the overachieving 7-8 Las Vegas Raiders. Meanwhile the current AFC South leading Jacksonville Jaguars, also 8-7, are going against the hapless Carolina Panthers. While the Baby Horses may very well fall to the hot handed Raiders, the Panthers aren’t likely to topple the Glitter Kitties.

Which leaves the Battle Red Boys facing yet another “must-win to keep the playoff hopes alive” game.

With a healthy Stroud under center, the visiting BESFs are almost sure to fall to the Texans. Such a win would have Houston at 9-7. And, if the Baby Horses lose, H-Town is among the postseason teams by the end of next weekend.

Without Stroud, it’s a 50/50 toss up. Particularly with the whole “hard to beat a team twice in one year” thing and Case Keenum and Davis Mills’ combined inability to light up opposing defenses.

There’s also the cheap shot factor to consider: Would the BESFs go head hunting for Stroud, given the opportunity? You might want to believe a professional football team wouldn’t do such things, but this is the BESFs, and their ”opportunity” to end the career of a QB they don’t want to face twice a season for the next decade...

No player in the great city of Houston has the massive impact on the team that Stroud does right now. With him, this team is a playoff contender. Without him, they’re likely going to miss the post-season.

This is why Stroud is the clear cut MVP, for the team if not the league.

With Stroud on the field, is the 2023 iteration of the Houston Texans likely to win a Super Bowl? Do you believe that enough to put him in the game knowing there’s a high likelihood he might suffer a career-altering injury this Sunday?

Just as the Texans seemed to “stash” Dameon Pierce last season, the conversation of doing so with Stroud this year has merit.

Even if it means the only Bowl he sees this season is the Pro Bowl.