It's very likely that the Atlanta Falcons or New Orleans Saints will be hosting a playoff game in the 2023 NFL Season. We may see a collective eye roll from the NFL landscape if this happens. Every once in a while, the NFL has a very weak divisional winner, and with the way the league seeds their playoffs, the division winner automatically earns a home playoff game.
Well, coming into the 2023 NFL Season, many looked at the NFC South as being one of the weakest divisions in football. And guess what? They were right. The NFC South is horrid, actually. Each team in the division has a losing record, and the worst team in the NFL, by far, the Carolina Panthers, are in the NFC South.
The biggest issue with this division is not the roster talent itself, as the Falcons, Saints, and Buccaneers all have talented rosters to a degree. The quarterback situation is pretty poor for each club. Desmond Ridder has not shown many signs of improvment in year two. Taylor Heinicke is Atlanta'a backup, and well, he's a backup.
Derek Carr has been a total bust of a signing for New Orleans. They could have gotten the same exact QB play from Andy Dalton or Jameis Winston for a fraction of the price. Baker Mayfield is a low-end starter with frisky upside, and rookie QB Bryce Young look overwhelmed and is not in a good situation.
The QB situation is the biggest factor that drives the success, or lack thereof, in divisions. And the likely scenario is Derek Carr or Desmond Ridder hosting a playoff game. On the season, Carr has thrown 10 touchdowns against five interceptions for a pedestrian passer rating of 88.5. The Saints have the 18th-best scoring offense in the NFL, so this QB and offense is the epitome of irrelevant.
Desmond Ridder has thrown seven touchdowns against eight interceptions, and the Falcons score the 22nd-most points per game on offense in the NFL. Both teams are wholly uninspiring, and it;s frankly ridiculous that one of them are likely hosting a playoff game. It's not yet fair to count out the Buccaneers, who sit at 4-7, but the 5-6 Saints and 5-6 Falcons might be the definition of the "Battle of Mid."
Hopefully, one of these teams can get on a streak and at least end the season at 9-8 so it doesn't look totally insane that they get to host a playoff game.