In the last installment of the 2023 NFL Win-Loss Projection Part V, we got into the NFC and started with the North. You got an in-depth look at where each of those teams would finish the season and why, along with some key games on their respective schedules. Today we’re going to move to the NFC South and project where each team in the worst division in the NFC in 2022 will finish in the Win/Loss columns for 2023. There were plenty of big headlines in the NFC South this offseason including Derek Carr signing with the New Orleans Saints, and giving the “Big Easy” hopes for another Division Championship. The Carolina Panthers clawed their way to the #1 Draft Pick via a trade with the Chicago Bears, and selected Bryce Young. The Atlanta Falcons drafted the best running back in the draft even though they had a rookie in 2022 that rushed for over a thousand yards. And the Buccaneers lost a lot of wind and “revamped” their QB Room after Brady officially retired…again. Let’s see where they finish in 2023.
New Orleans Saints: 11-6
The New Orleans Saints WILL come marching in with veteran quarterback, Derek Carr. To me, this is the easiest “new division champion” projection of the year. The Bucs won the division last year with a (losing) record of 8-9, and every other team in the division was 7-10. The other QBs in the division are Bryce Young, Desmond Ridder, and Baker Mayfield (maybe?), and the Saints have a Top 5-10 Defense. This selection is a “no brainer”! Notable Wins: At Green Bay, and vs the Giants Week 15. Notable Losses: At Minnesota, and at the LA Rams.
Atlanta Falcons: 8-9
A record of 8-9 is one game better than last season: not terrible. Marcus Mariota was leading the Falcons last year, and now it’s second-year man, Desmond Ridder, who played in four games and completed 63.5% of his passes with 2 TDs and 0 INTs. Desmond may not be bad per say; he’s just unproven. They have two great RBs in Bijon Robinson and Tyler Allgeier, but outside of Drake London and Kyle Pitts, there’s no passing attack. Notable Wins: at home vs. Green Bay, and vs. Washington. Notable Losses: Week 2 at Detroit and Week 3 at Jacksonville.
Carolina Panthers: 6-11
The Panthers gave up a TON to get a QB (Bryce Young) that I feel will be a huge bust because at 5’9”, he’s going to get busted up. I said the same thing about Kyler Murray, btw, and how well has he done? Where’s my Gold Star! They have some solid additions to the offense, like Miles Sanders, Adam Thielen, and DJ Chark, but this is going to be a painful rebuild year in Carolina. Notable Wins: Houston at home after the Bye Week, and Indy at home the week after that. Notable Losses: At Detroit and in Jacksonville.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 4-13
Tom Brady is gone. Leonard Fournette is gone. If Tampa Bay is lucky, their defense is somewhere between 10th to 15th in the league. The Bucs are playing five division winners from last season (Minnesota, Philly, Buffalo, San Fran and Jacksonville = OUCH), and their Bye Week is Week 5, which means they’re playing 13 games in a row to “close out the season”. This Buccaneers ship is going to go down faster than the Titanic. Not even even having a great three-pack of Wide Receivers with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Russell Gage will help. Notable Wins: Chicago at home for the opener, and at home vs. Atlanta. Notable Losses: In a row? Lol Five.
This is the SIXTH of an eight part series that will cover each of the NFL divisions. Please continue to come back to find out who will be winning each division this year, making the playoffs and eventually getting to the Super Bowl. Next up is the NFC West with the 49ers, Seahawks, Rams, and Cardinals. Will it be back-to-back division titles for the 49ers, or have the Seahawks added enough weapons to take over? How will “Mr. Irrelevant” Brock Purdy, bounce back from injury? What about the Matthew Stafford to Cooper Kupp connection? Is Geno Smith the “real deal” with the addition of Jaxon Smith-Njigba? When I’m finished covering each NFC division, we’ll get into the post season. That way you’ll know if you should even bother to watch football this year. Thanks for the “read”!