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Which losses should the Saints regret most from the 2023 season?

The New Orleans Saints missed the playoffs by one game. Their 9-8 record put them just one win outside of both the NFC South title race and the competition for a wild-card seed. If the Saints were 10-7, they wouldn’t even have to worry about any tiebreakers. They’d be hosting a home playoff game.

While their record is a good reflection of exactly how the team performed this season, which losses should the Saints look back at with the most regret? It’s easy to point to defeats to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Green Bay Packers early in the 2023 season. Those are the teams who were directly ahead of the Saints in the playoff race. However, the Buccaneers were simply the better team when they travelled to New Orleans. The 26-9 final tally speaks for itself.

The Saints should regret the Green Bay Packers game more, though. New Orleans had a large lead headed into the fourth quarter. Even with Derek Carr’s injury, the Saints should have won that game. The struggling offense may have been the story of the year, but the normally-reliable defense was its backbone. Losing that game was on Dennis Allen’s defense, which allowed back-to-back 80-yard touchdown drives. The quarterback doesn’t play on that side of the ball.

The team should also regret their midseason loss to the Minnesota Vikings. I don’t think this one takes much explanation. Losing to Joshua Dobbs was bad. At the time, it seemed to be a part of Dobbs’ story of beating the odds. Less than a month later he was on the bench. New Orleans shouldn’t have lost that game. If the Saints defeat the Packers or Vikings they’re in the playoffs. Instead, they’re watching the postseason from home for another January.

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire