Ranking all 14 opposing quarterbacks on the Saints’ 2023 schedule

Is Trevor Lawrence the best quarterback the New Orleans Saints are going to face in 2023? Could it be one of the highly-drafted rookies? Or are we believing in Jared Goff and Kirk Cousins continuing to play at a high level?

No matter how you look at it, the Saints don’t exactly have a challenging list of opposing quarterbacks. There isn’t anyone in the group you’d call a future Hall of Famer. There are even a couple of quarterback competitions to sort out in training camp. The only certainty we have right now is that the Saints defense could benefit from some favorable matchups with inexperienced or inefficient quarterbacks in the fall.

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So here’s a quick ranking of the passers New Orleans is set to compete against in 2023, ranked from who appears to be the most-challenging to, well, the least-daunting opponents:

Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars

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Lawrence made big strides last season under tutelage from a new coaching staff, and now he’s going into his third season with an improved supporting cast — including former Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley.

Jared Goff, Detroit Lions

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The Lions have done a great job propping up Goff with offensive coordinator Ben Johnson calling plays, and even though he won’t have Jameson Williams for six games due to a suspension he’ll still have plenty of weapons to work with. Detroit drafted Hendon Hooker but Lions coach Dan Campbell says they see 2023 as a redshirt year for him.


Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings

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Cousins is going to play with confidence so long as he’s got Justin Jefferson in the lineup, but the Vikings aren’t hurting for weapons after swapping Adam Thielen for first-round receiver Jordan Addison. They still played with a very thin margin of error last year and it feels like Cousins could regress at a moment’s notice, though.

Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams

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Stafford struggled to get the Rams offense moving last year, and that’s before he was shut down with an injury. He has even less talent to work with now than he did a year ago after L.A. kicked off a fire sale. All signs point to this being the downslope of his career.


Daniel Jones, New York Giants

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Jones played like a below-average quarterback last year, only throwing 15 touchdown passes in 16 games, but the Giants (and some media in postseason awards voting) graded him on a curve given how badly he performed through his first three years. He can surprise teams with his athleticism, and he’s gotten the better of the Saints before, so this could be another trap game against a mediocre opponent.

Anthony Richardson, Indianapolis Colts

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Yeah, Richardson is going to be a problem. He’s a smart, confident passer who can make plays from the pocket and hurt defenses when he’s on the move. He just needs to keep getting reps. He landed in a fantastic spot to learn on the job with all-world running back Jonathan Taylor in the backfield with him and an assortment of receivers to work with. He should be the most challenging rookie quarterback the Saints see this year.


Bryce Young/Andy Dalton, Carolina Panthers

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Does anyone believe the Panthers are really going to start Dalton over Young, the number-one draft pick? Come on. The sooner that charade is over, the better, but maybe Carolina is really planning to throw Dalton to the wolves for a few weeks and let Young stand back and watch.

CJ Stroud, Houston Texans

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Stroud is stuck on an actively-rebuilding roster with few weapons around him, but he’s immensely talented and should still be a tough out. The Saints have struggled with little game tape on rookie quarterbacks at times and Stroud could cause some headaches for them despite the lack of help in Houston.


Ryan Tannehill/Will Levis, Tennessee Titans

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Tannehill floundered badly last year under an ugly Tennessee offensive line and unimpactful receiving corps, leading to a heavy focus on offense in the NFL draft — including a trade up for Levis, who will be competing for last year’s third-round pick Malik Willis for the No. 2 job. We’ll see how this shakes out but if we’re guessing today Levis will separate himself and push Tannehill for the starting job, but neither of them are really someone who keeps defenses worried.

Desmond Ridder, Atlanta Falcons

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Ridder was unimpressive last year despite having some strong support at the skills positions, and though the Falcons have continued to load up around him he needs to show he can take advantage of it. This is probably a make-or-break year for him with Atlanta having little financial commitment to him as only a third-round pick.

Jordan Love, Green Bay Packers

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Love spent a couple of years itching for practice reps behind Aaron Rodgers and doesn’t have much to show for it. Green Bay has talked him up, though, so we’ll see what he can do. His limited preseason and in-season appearances haven’t inspired a ton of confidence.


Justin Fields, Chicago Bears

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Is Fields bad? He’s thrown nearly as many interceptions (21) as touchdown passes (24) through 27 games while fumbling 28 times. He’s one of the better rushing threats you’ll find around the league at quarterback but he’s only averaging 152 passing yards per game. He’s also just 24 years old and the Bears invested heavily in his supporting cast this offseason, but at some point he needs to show tangible improvement.

Mac Jones, New England Patriots

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Is Jones bad, too? There was smoke connecting the Patriots to some of the quarterback prospects in this draft class, and he took a step back after his Pro Bowl campaign as a rookie while trading barbs with Bill Belichick through the media. He’s played 31 games and thrown 36 touchdowns against 24 interceptions, also fumbling 5 times. The Saints have beaten him before.


Baker Mayfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Mayfield is probably cooked. He was run out of Cleveland and Carolina on a rail. The Rams didn’t bring him back after his 1-3 stint to end their season. Tampa Bay appears to be actively tanking this year while eating a ton of dead money from Tom Brady’s departure. Even if he has some weapons around him, Mayfield isn’t really threatening anyone.

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire