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Ravens to face rookie C.J. Stroud in Week 1 after being named Texans starting QB

Houston will have the first-year signal caller under center when they come to Baltimore to open the 2023 season.

Miami Dolphins v Houston Texans Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

When the Houston Texans come to town in Week 1 of the 2023 regular season on September 10, the Baltimore Ravens starting defense will be facing off against No. 2 overall pick C.J. Stroud.

The rookie was named the opening-day starting quarterback for Texans by Head Coach DeMeco Ryans following the team’s 17-13 victory over the New Orleans Saints in their preseason finale on Sunday night.

“C.J. will be our Week 1 starter in Baltimore,” Ryans said, “It’s been over the course of the entire process of OTAs, training camp, preseason games, seeing the complete product and knowing C.J.’s desire to continue to get better. We know we’re not where we need to be as a team overall. We all have to continue to get better and it’s just having the mindset to do that and C.J., along with all our other guys, know we have to get better in that regard.”

According to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley, the Ravens are an impressive 14-2 when they have faced rookie quarterbacks at home in the confines of M&T Bank Stadium under Head Coach John Harbaugh who is about to embark on his 16th season at the helm of the team.

The most recent first-year signal caller that came into their house and walked out victorious came in Week 18 last season when the Tyler Huntley-led Ravens fell 16-13 to Pittsburgh Steelers and 2022 first-rounder Kenny Pickett who led a game-winning touchdown drive in the fourth quarter.

Pickett had already had 10 starts under his belt for the Ravens’ AFC North rivals heading into that matchup including a Week 13 start in the first meeting between the two teams that he could finish because of a concussion he sustained in the first half.

Stroud won’t have the same benefit of any semblance of non-exhibition experience when he travels to Charm City for the season opener because he will be making his first career regular-season start.

In three preseason games, the former Ohio State University standout and Heisman Trophy finalist saw limited action and went 11-of-20 for 89 passing yards and 1 touchdown to 1 interception and only ran the ball three times for just 5 rushing yards.

Ravens’ second-year Defensive Coordinator will undoubtedly have some creative coverages and pressures schemed up that Stroud has never seen before in college or against vanilla preseason defenses. His unit will keep the rookie on his toes and even confuse and confound him at times in a game where the home team will be heavily favored to win.

It will also serve as a less-daunting litmus test for the Ravens secondary that battled injuries at cornerback during the preseason and training camp and might be without their best player at the position as three-time Pro Bowler Marlon Humphrey will only be a few weeks removed from foot surgery.

The Texans projected starting wide receivers are comprised of veteran Robert Woods, third-year pro Nico Collins, veteran Noah Brown, and rookie Tank Dell, none of which are expected to pose as serious of threats as their Week 2 opponent, the two-time defending division champion Cincinnati Bengals.