The origin of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones' powers is different (at least, in the comics; possibly/probably also in the TV series); and so is the nature of their powers: Cage has unbreakable skin, Jones doesn't; Jones can leap/fly, Cage cannot.

But where their powers do coincide - physical strength - how do they compare? That is, what can the one do as a feat of physical strength that the other cannot and vice-versa?

Among other things I'd be interested in how much force they're supposed to be able to lift off the ground (assuming the ground can resist anything and not just have them sink into it).

I would like answers both about the comics and the TV series.

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    Clearly both are over 9,000!!!! – Skooba Nov 11 '17 at 13:56
  • @Skooba: I'm sorry? – einpoklum Nov 11 '17 at 15:52
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    In the TV show, I’ve generally gotten the impression that Jessica is stronger, but Luke is notably more resistant to damage (and has more mass as a counterweight). So he can do some things (like punching through a brick wall) that Jessica probably would be physically capable of, but would probably cause some injury were she to do them. – Adamant Nov 11 '17 at 18:44
  • @Adamant : But it's not quite clear-cut, is it? Also, how much stronger? – einpoklum Nov 11 '17 at 19:34
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    As strong as the plot requires? For both of them? We are talking about superhero shows, after all - I’d be shocked if any of the writers knew how much Jessica or Luke could bench press. ;) – Adamant Nov 11 '17 at 20:22

Note: so far, I watched the Defenders Season 1 and I am currently watching the first season of Jessica Jones. I will edit my answer as I progress in the show. I didn't plan to finish watching Luke Cage past the third episode.

tl;dr: Jessica is consistently shown to be stronger than Luke Cage.

Let's take a third character as a reference before comparing Luke Cage and Jessica Jones:

Daredevil in a fight

Daredevil, alias Matt Murdock, is strong, athletic, and agile. He also trained to fight with the help of Stick. He is definitely stronger than an average man but he is not seen as being beyond human limits. As a proof, we can see him struggling during his first fight on the dock (Season 1 Episode 1), and he spends the next episode recovering. He got better as the show progresses, able to take on several opponents, but he is systematically seen panting and exhausted by his fights. More importantly for our comparison of raw strength, after a few seconds lying on the ground, most opponents get up for a second round. It takes several blows to eliminate an opponent.

Luke Cage in a fight

At first sight, it is clear from Luke Cage and his tight T-shirts that Luke is fit and spent some time body-building. He was probably already way above average, probably stronger than Daredevil, but not beyond human possibilities, before the experiments that gave him.

In a fight, for example the one in his bar in Jessica Jones Season 1, Luke is able to knock out most enemies in one or two blows. I would argue that his unbreakable skin gives him a slightly supernatural strength: it is quite common to break one's fist when punching someone, but Luke Cage does not have this problem, and can hit people tirelessly with all his power. He also seems to not be easily exhausted.

Jessica Jones in a fight

On the other side, Jessica seems to be a frail woman. But her superpowers give her a strength far beyond human limitations. In a fight, she can effortlessly eliminate any opponent in one blow.

We can also witness her strength in Jessica Jones' sixth episode of the season 1 when she lifts a big man with one arm to interrogate him. In the pilot episode, she also stops a running car with her bare hands.

Here is a video of the fight scene in Luke Cage's bar:

Note that he is surprised by her strength.

Conclusion: at this point of the analysis, it seems that Jessica has the advantage on the question of physical strength.

Luke vs Jessica

I am aware of only one altercation between the two lovers in the Marvel Netflix Universe. This happens at the end of the sixth episode of the first season of Jessica Jones. In this episode,

Luke Cage learns the name of the bus that supposedly killed his wife. Jessica, aware of the whole story, knows that the man is innocent and tries to stop Luke.

While Luke is walking towards the bus driver, Jessica tries to stop him with her two hands. But this does not stop Luke. I find it quite inconsistent, considering Jessica had lifted men with one hand in the past. Sure, Jessica does not want to hurt her friend, but she is determined to stop Luke before a catastrophe arises.

The scene (you can stop after 30 seconds if you want to avoid spoilers):

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    I'll also add links to the scenes I am making references to after I leave work. – Taladris Mar 19 '18 at 6:23
  • Throwing someone through a tempered glass window requires a significant amount of strength. I'd agree she's stronger, but he's definitely well above human levels himself. – Mwr247 Mar 19 '18 at 14:15
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    There is a fight between Jessica and Luke towards the end of the JJ season, where they both try to push each others away. Luke wins - although it is unclear has Jessica used all her strength. – Yasskier Mar 19 '18 at 19:20
  • There was also a fight near the end of the first season where he's prevailing, but in part because she doesn't want to hurt him badly but he's tougher than her, so she can't batter him into submission. – FuzzyBoots Dec 6 '19 at 21:44

Netflix: Jessica

If you're referring to the TV show, Jessica appears to be a bit stronger. She is shown lifting & stopping vehicles with little effort, whereas Luke must exert himself to lift smaller objects like debris.

Comics: Luke

In the comic books, however, there is no comparison. Luke, in the comics, is FAR stronger than his wife. According to Marvel Comics official handbook, Luke can press 50 tons. Jessica, at least 2 tons and no more than 25. Much license has been taken with Marvel characters between the comics, and the movies and TV shows.

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