One of the biggest conversations surrounding the New Orleans Saints since the NFL schedules dropped for the 2023 season, is that the Saints have one of the easiest schedules on paper. With the state of the NFC South and some people having doubts about the NFC North.
With the weaker schedule, the Saints are not going to have much of a leash if they follow up last year with another disappointing showing. The addition of Derek Carr should also make things easier as well.
To have a better understanding of what to expect this year, we took a look at every game and ranked them from easiest to hardest:
Week 4 vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
An early season home game against a Baker Mayfield-led Bucs team is one that the Saints need to take advantage of. Dennis Allen has always seemed to have this offenses number when it was Tom Brady running the show. Winning this one and setting the tone early in the division will be key and not a game that they will be taking lightly, despite the expectations in Tampa being extremely low.
Week 6 at Houston Texans
This is just simple, the Texans are rebuilding and this will be early on in the tenure of CJ Stroud. While the future is looking bright in Houston, things will likely need a while to get set and they still don’t have a ton of offensive weapons. Will Anderson is NFL ready, but that isn’t enough to make that defense fully scary. In a year or two this could be a scarier team, but the Saints should be able to handle business.
Week 1 vs Tennessee Titans
The season opener, home debut for Derek Carr should be a game that goes the Saints’ way. They were a 7-10 team that didn’t do a ton to immediately improve the roster, looking more and more like a team that is leaning towards a rebuild era. The Superdome should be rocking to usher in this new era, giving the Saints a big advantage. It’s a team with a lot of uncertainty towards how competitive they will be.
Week 17 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This is pretty much the same case as the home game earlier in the season, but being an away game does make it slightly more difficult for New Orleans.
Week 14 vs Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers have a rookie quarterback, the same case as a couple of teams on this list, but the surrounding roster is the second best in the NFC South in my opinion. They added some solid coaches in the off-season as well. I don’t know how far Bryce Young can take them in year one, but they’re a slightly scarier team than the rest of the division based on who is around him. That defense could be really good this season, the offense is just a bigger question mark.
Week 18 vs Atlanta Falcons
While the Falcons are a young team that could potentially find their groove by the end the of season, it’s far more likely that the Saints will have a lot more to play for in the last week of the season. The Falcons added some good young talent to the team, but mostly no one that will make them a threat to win the division by themselves in 2023. The offense has potential to be scary, but this team will really only go as far as Desmond Ridder can take them. A home game to end the season isn’t too threatening as of right now, however.
Week 8 at Indianapolis Colts
Whether it be Anthony Richardson or Gardner Minshew starting behind center at this point of the year, the Colts are a rebuilding team. They seems to be building a good roster to fit their new coaches scheme, but are probably a year or two away from being a full threat. This being an away game bumped it up a little bit on the list, but the Colts are another team that’s hard to gauge in terms of year one threat.
Week 2 at Carolina Panthers
There will be some outside noise adding to this one, likely being the home debut of Bryce Young, which would make this one a little bit more interesting for New Orleans in terms of a threat. It should be a rowdy crowd, early in the season, it’ll be interesting to see how the Carr and the rest of the Saints react and adjust.
Week 16 at Los Angeles Rams
The Rams have fallen hard since their Super Bowl win. The futures of stars and coaches have been up in the air, injuries have made people weary of Matthew Staffords abilities. They also didn’t have much money or many high value draft picks to really make their team better in the offseason. There’s not a lot of faith in this team any more, as they’re just kind of waiting out this era. They do still have some good players on the roster that could take a game over if there’s any gas left in the tank.
Week 12 at Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons are still a bit away from being real playoff threats, but again, they added some interesting pieces on offense. The defense as well, adding a few former Saints, could make the young team interesting.
Week 5 at New England Patriots
Bill Belichick hasn’t found a ton of success after Tom Brady left, but they had a good offseason and you can never really count them out. The good news for the Saints is that it’s early in the season, so potential big impact rookies Christian Gonzalez and Keon White won’t really be fully adjusted. Overall, this really comes down to what you think of Mac Jones. Jones is coming off of a down season and will have to win a lot of people back this season.
Week 3 at Green Bay Packers
Will Jordan Love be any good? That’s really what this season is riding on in Green Bay. With the departure of long time quarterback Aaron Rodgers, no one knows what to expect out of the Packers this season. That said, they should still have a solid defense and early on in the season that could make things tough for the Saints as they figure out their identity.
Week 9 vs Chicago Bears
Justin Fields came into his own last season, and by all accounts is on pace to make another big leap in 2023. They finally figured out how to use him and the offense is looking the scariest it’s been in a long time. Especially for a defense that has had a history of struggling against mobile quarterbacks. They added D.J. Moore from Carolina and improved the offensive line a little bit to add to the team’s intrigue. They likely won’t be a playoff threat immediately, but could also be one of the more surprising teams in the league.
Week 15 vs New York Giants
The Giants started out 2022 as hot as anyone else before coming down to earth and finishing the season 9-7-1. Head coach Brian Daboll showed that he can’t looked over and that the Giants will be regularly competitive at some point in the near future. They improved their roster in the offseason and having more time to come together at the team could have them surprising people again in 2023.
Week 13 vs Detroit Lions
The Lions are another team that is on the cusp of being a very threatening team. Dan Campbell has switched the culture up, finishing last season 9-8 after starting 1-6. They had an aggressive offseason that should have the defense looking much improved, which was the biggest hole on paper. This team will be fun to watch every week that they aren’t playing the New Orleans Saints. The biggest question is if Jared Goff can have another good season, or if it was a flash in the pan.
Week 7 vs Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars finished last season off with a 6-1 record before losing in the playoffs, with Trevor Lawrence looking like he’s finally arrived as a top quarterback in the NFL. They didn’t change a lot this offseason, so they will be a team that is used to each other. The big addition will come with Calvin Ridley coming off of his year-long gambling suspension. Unless there’s some serious hangover from last season, this should be one of the better teams in the league.
Week 10 at Minnesota Vikings
It’s the Marcus Davenport revenge game, which will find the Saints against what is easily the best team on their schedule on paper. It’s also an away game that comes one week before the Saints have their bye week. Justin Jefferson is the best wide receiver in the league and has a new running mate in Jordan Addison. The defense, no matter how you feel about Davenport, looks improved as well. This will be a tough one for New Orleans.