NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year debate: Puka Nacua vs C.J. Stroud; 2 stellar rookies making their mark

Two stellar rookies setting marks, leading playoff runs and fighting for the coveted award.

New Orleans Saints v Los Angeles Rams
New Orleans Saints v Los Angeles Rams / Ric Tapia/GettyImages
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Stroud's Journey Through the Season

When Stroud was preparing for a Week 14 game against the Jets, he was the clear frontrunner for the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. However, his injury during that game has raised doubts about his claim to the title.

After missing two weeks due to a concussion, Stroud was medically cleared and is back in action. His return comes at a crucial time for the Texans' playoff hopes and his chase for the OROY. While Stroud was out, the Texans managed to keep their playoff hopes alive by winning one out of two games.

Stroud's Return: A Boost for the Texans

Stroud's return significantly boosts the Texans as they continue their quest for a playoff berth. According to Next Gen Stats, the Texans currently have a 39 percent chance to make the playoffs. However, a win in their next game could raise those odds to 52 percent.

Stroud's performances have been the driving force behind the Texans' playoff run. His 21 touchdowns and only five interceptions make him one of the season's standout performers.

The OROY Race: A Nail-Biting Finish

While Stroud was recovering from his concussion, Nacua crept up in the OROY race. The Rams' receiver has had a fantastic season with 96 catches for 1,327 yards. He's =not far off from the rookie receptions record of 104, set by Jaylen Waddle, and the rookie yardage record of 1,473, set by Bill Groman of the 1960 Houston Oilers.

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If Nacua can break both records, he'll have a strong claim to the OROY. However, Stroud is still the favorite at -800, and a couple of good performances before the season ends could seal the deal for him.

Houston fans hope Stroud's winning performances coincide with a playoff berth for the Texans.