2023 New Orleans Saints Predictions with Season Win Total Odds
The New Orleans Saints were the biggest underachievers in football last year.
These Cajun bastards had a Top 5 defense, a Top 10 offensive line, and a crop of skill players that included Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram, Jarvis Landry, Chris Olave, and Michael Thomas*.
A team with that talent should be competing for conference titles.
Instead, the 2022 Saints put on a master’s seminar in how quarterbacking incompetence and coaching buffoonery can submarine an NFL team’s season.
Andy Dalton and Jameis Winston put an exclamation point on the idea that neither is an NFL-caliber starting quarterback by combining for a QBR in the 40’s and 22 fumbles and interceptions.
New Orleans’ offensive yards per point was a dreadful 17.2, No. 26 in football, and the Saints were No. 31 in turnover differential. The result was a 7-10 campaign that featured a lot of ugly, low-scoring slugfests.
This season may be Dennis Allen’s last chance. No one expected Allen to be as good as the man he replaced, Sean Payton. But Allen is now 15-38 in his career as a head coach. And if he doesn’t cobble together a winning record this season, it may be his final one.
Doc’s Sports offers NFL expert picks for every game on our NFL predictions page.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS 2023 OFFENSE
If Derek Carr had been the Saints quarterback last year, they would’ve won at least 11 games.
Carr is one of the most underrated quarterbacks in football. It is easy to point to his lack of success in Oakland (and Las Vegas) as proof of ineptitude. That completely disparages the total clusterf@#K that the Raiders organization has been, though, and sells Carr short.
Carr is an accurate veteran arm. He can make big-time throws, he is a very good leader and he has displayed incredible toughness and durability.
Alvin Kamara’s impending suspension for an off-field incident should once-again rob the Saints of their best offensive weapon. Kamara hasn’t played a full season since his rookie year. He is still versatile and explosive and will be the first option ahead of Jamaal Williams.
Anything the Saints get from oft-injured Michael Thomas is a bonus. Chris Olave looked very good as a rookie and should develop into a No. 1 option in the passing game. That’s kind of it for vertical weapons, though.
The offensive line is rock solid and manned by five first- and second-round picks.
And Taysom Hill is back to provide plenty of gadget opportunities.
Pete Carmichael has a sterling track record as an offensive coordinator. His two attacks without Drew Brees have been less than stellar, though, finishing No. 28 and No. 19 the last two years in total offense, respectively.
(*Michael Thomas is a waste and only played three games last season. His contract extension was one of the worst deals in NFL history and he’s only played in 10 games in three years. He’s a dud.)
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS 2023 DEFENSE
When you consider just how little the Saints got out of their offense last year, there is an argument to be made that the Saints had the best defense in football.
They lost their co-defensive coordinators (Kris Richard and Ryan Nielsen) and three starting defensive linemen, including Marcus Davenport. That means the Saints will be running out a younger (and cheaper) version for new DC Joe Woods.
The linebacker trio of Pete Werner, Demario Davis and Zack Baun is as good as any in football. And Cameron Jordan is still performing at a Pro Bowl level at the age of 34.
New Orleans’ secondary is also among the best in football. They have five of their top six players back, including Pro Bowl-caliber starters in Tyrann Mathieu, Marcus Maye, and Marshon Lattimore. If former Raiders first round pick John Abram can resurrect his career, he would further strengthen this group.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS 2023 SCHEDULE
Sun, Sep 10 1:00 PM vs. Tennessee Titans
Mon, Sep 18 8:15 PM @ Carolina Panthers
Sun, Sep 24 1:00 PM @ Green Bay Packers
Sun, Oct 1 1:00 PM vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sun, Oct 8 1:00 PM @ New England Patriots
Sun, Oct 15 1:00 PM @ Houston Texans
Thu, Oct 19 8:15 PM vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Sun, Oct 29 1:00 PM @ Indianapolis Colts
Sun, Nov 5 1:00 PM vs. Chicago Bears
Sun, Nov 12 1:00 PM @ Minnesota Vikings
Sun, Nov 26 1:00 PM @ Atlanta Falcons
Sun, Dec 3 1:00 PM vs. Detroit Lions
Sun, Dec 10 1:00 PM vs. Carolina Panthers
Sun, Dec 17 1:00 PM vs. New York Giants
Thu, Dec 21 8:15 PM @ Los Angeles Rams
Sun, Dec 31 1:00 PM @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sun, Jan 7 7:00 PM vs. Atlanta Falcons
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS 2023 SEASON PICKS AND PREDICTIONS
It isn’t just my opinion that the Saints underachieved last season. They fell 1.7 games short of their Pythagorean Wins Expectation last year. That means they were closer to a 9-8 team, and that mark would’ve been good enough for first place and a spot in the playoffs.
The Saints’ poor OYPP, their turnover differential and their number of starts lost to injury all point to a positive regression for this group as well.
The defense is not going to be able to carry the load this year. New Orleans is still solid on that side of the ball, but they won’t have a Top 10 unit again this year.
That puts the onus back on Carr and, to a lesser extent, Kamara.
New Orleans enters the season as the favorite to win the NFC South at +130. They are a soft favorite, though, with Atlanta nipping at their heels.
Those favorite odds and one of the league’s easiest schedules are why New Orleans’ season win total is set at 9.5. I think that is a great number, and there isn’t much value here.
If I am going to be wrong with this team, I will be wrong on them being better than expected. I would lean on the ‘under’. A horrible salary cap situation meant they lost more talent than they acquired this offseason. And they were just a seven-win team last year.
The talent is there! This absolutely could be a surprise team if the defense stays in the Top 12 and if Carr, Thomas and Kamara perform at elite levels, as all of them have in the past.
If not, it will be another frustrating year in The Bayou.
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