As the New York Jets look to break a five-game losing streak, they are turning back to quarterback Zach Wilson for Sunday’s home contest against the dangerous, playoff-chasing Houston Texans at MetLife Stadium.

Wilson was sidelined for the last two games as Tim Boyle took the snaps against the Miami Dolphins and Atlanta Falcons. The first-rounder will now look to provide a strong finish to what has been a challenging season.

As he prepares to provide a morale-boosting run, Wilson said: “Everybody knows I care about this team. Everyone knows I’m gonna do everything I can for the guys in this locker room, no matter the situation.”

Wilson and his Jets teammates should prepare themselves for drama on Sunday when the Texans roll into New York. Houston’s last eight games have all been decided by one score and have gone right down to the wire before being decided in dramatic fashion.

This game will be a battle of young quarterbacks taken second overall in the NFL Draft. Wilson was chosen by the Jets in 2021 and C.J. Stroud became a Houston Texan in 2023. And the latter is on pace for a season for the ages. Stroud could break through 5,000 passing yards this year and he is very likely to become the most prolific rookie passer in NFL history.

Stroud will be without key wide receiver Tank Dell, who broke his leg last week. But he and his remaining receiving corps will seriously test an always-tough New York defense. In their Week 13 win over the Denver Broncos, Nico Collins led the Texans with nine catches for 191 yards and a touchdown.

The Texans won’t be the first team that has been slowed by the Jets’ defense this season. But the presence of Stroud makes it likely they are going to get their share of points. And that means New York must step up on the offensive side of the ball where they have not reached 20 points in a game since October 15.

New York Jets Player to Watch

Xavier Gipson – Wide Receiver

The rookie who won New York’s opening night contest against the Buffalo Bills on an overtime punt return back in September has the skills to provide the spark the Jets are looking for. Gipson is an explosive weapon who could provide the chunk plays to kick-start New York’s offense. He caught five passes for 77 yards in last week’s loss to Atlanta with a long of 36. Getting him involved against a ball-hawking Houston secondary will be key.

Atlanta Falcons Player to Watch

C.J. Stroud – Quarterback

Houston’s rookie has become the talk of the NFL town and he leads the league with 3,540 passing yards. If he ends this season as the league’s number one in that department, he will be the first rookie to achieve that feat since Davey O’Brien, of the Philadelphia Eagles, in 1939! But it’s not just the numbers that have headlines being written about Stroud – he comes alive in big moments and has served up some game-winning drives for the cardiac Texans.

Stat Attack!

The Jets defense continues to be one of the best in the NFL, ranking in the top 10 in yards allowed per game (312.7) and takeaways (19).

Keys to the game

As is the case in every NFL game, taking care of the football will be paramount. Zach Wilson must be prepared to take his shots because those chunk plays are needed to spark the Jets. But he must also proceed with caution because the Texans are coming off a victory powered by three interceptions of Denver’s Russell Wilson. Derek Stingley Jr. is particularly dangerous as he has four picks in his last three games.

In defending the Texans, the Jets need to make a Houston team that has struggled to run the football consistently in 2023 a one-dimensional attack. That will allow New York to do what they have done for much of this challenging season – they can get after an excellent quarterback on the other side and make life difficult for Stroud, as they did for the likes of Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert earlier this season.