The New Orleans Saints‘ weekly opponents have finally been released. New Orleans was in need of major upgrades on offense following the 2022 season. The Saints finished last year tied for the second-best record in their division. That isn’t the accomplishment you think it is, though, as every team in that division finished below .500.
However, New Orleans now (by far) has the best quarterback in the division. Derek Carr hasn’t ever really been mentioned among the best NFL QBs, but many inside the league believe he is better than he’s given credit for.
Here is a look at how Carr’s arrival in the Big Easy can play out based on the official NFL schedule.
New Orleans Saints Schedule
- Week 1: vs Titans
CBS | 1 p.m. ET (Sunday, Sep. 10)
- Week 2: at Panthers (MNF)
ESPN | 7:15 p.m. ET (Monday, Sep. 18)
- Week 3: at Packers
FOX | 1 p.m. ET (Sunday, Sep. 24)
- Week 4: vs Buccaneers
FOX | 1 p.m. ET (Sunday, Oct. 1)
- Week 5: at Patriots
CBS | 1 p.m. ET (Sunday, Oct. 8)
- Week 6: at Texans
FOX | 1 p.m. ET (Sunday, Oct. 15)
- Week 7: vs Jaguars (TNF)
Prime Video | 8:15 p.m. ET (Thursday, Oct. 19)
- Week 8: at Colts
FOX | 1 p.m. ET (Sunday, Oct. 29)
- Week 9: vs Bears
CBS | 1 p.m. ET (Sunday, Nov. 5)
- Week 10: at Vikings
FOX | 1 p.m. ET (Sunday, Nov. 12)
- Week 11: BYE
- Week 12: at Falcons
FOX | 1 p.m. ET (Sunday, Nov. 26)
- Week 13: vs Lions
FOX | 1 p.m. ET (Sunday, Dec. 3)
- Week 14: vs Panthers
FOX | 1 p.m. ET (Sunday, Dec. 10)
- Week 15: vs Giants
FOX | 1 p.m. ET (Sunday, Dec. 17)
- Week 16: at Rams
Prime Video | 8:15 p.m. ET (Thursday, Dec. 21)
- Week 17: at Buccaneers
FOX | 1 ET p.m. (Sunday, Dec. 31)
- Week 18: vs Falcons
New Orleans Saints Strength of Schedule
The NFC South is by far the worst division in football. The former defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers made the 2022 postseason with a losing record. Playing in a terrible division does have its perks, though, especially if you’re the most improved team in that division.
Based on last year’s records, the Saints have the easiest schedule in the NFL, facing opponents who combine for the 32nd-ranked strength of schedule.
New Orleans Saints Record Prediction
The Saints now have the best quarterback in the division, and it isn’t particularly close. Their rivals will be starting the likes of Baker Mayfield, who New Orleans’ defense held to under 200 yards and under a 50% completion rate last September, second-year man Desmond Ridder, who has a ton to prove, and rookie Bryce Young, whom the Carolina Panthers drafted with the No. 1 overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft.
The Saints’ defense is a top-half-of-the-league unit under Dennis Allen, and holding these division rivals down shouldn’t be too much trouble.
The passing game really held the Saints back last year, and Carr — unfairly maligned, in my opinion — is still an above-average passer who will play with a top defense for the first time in his career. That, combined with the easiest schedule (based on last year’s records), and the Saints should roll to the division crown and the postseason.
Michael Thomas is expected back and healthy. The team signed Jamaal Williams from the Detroit Lions, and though they may lose Alvin Kamara to six or more games this year, they have plenty of firepower to keep it moving.
The conference is especially weak, and their division is even weaker. The Saints improved at the most important position, and with Aaron Rodgers now in New York, the Saints may have a top-five quarterback in the conference.
Record projection: 10-7