Which NFL Team can go Worst to First in 2023? Derek Carr revives the Saints

New Orleans Saints defensive end Carl Granderson (96), defensive tackle Shy Tuttle (99), defensive tackle David Onyemata (93), linebacker Demario Davis (56), linebacker Kaden Elliss (55) and defensive end Cameron Jordan (94) against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.

Football season is nearly upon us, and what better way to get ready for the season than with a deep dive into the futures market? There are plenty of different markets to choose from, and a lot of them we have already covered like our NFL Super Bowl 2023 best bets, AFC Championship picks and NFC Championship picks. But in this article we’re going to cover which team can go from worst to first in back-to-back seasons. What I mean is, which team finished last in its division in 2022 that could win the division this year?

The Jacksonville Jaguars were the most recent team to accomplish this feat, as they were 3-14 and finished last in the AFC South in 2021 but bounced back to go 9-8 and win the AFC South behind Trevor Lawrence in 2022. And before the Jags, it was the Bengals. Cincinnati finished last in the AFC North with a 4-11-1 record in 2020 but won the division in 2021 with a 10-7 record.

So, which team could continue the trend and go from worst to first in 2023?

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Who finished last in each division in 2022?

Before we start, let’s figure out which teams finished last in their division in 2022:


AFC East
New York Jets: 7-10

AFC North
Cleveland Browns: 7-10

AFC South
Houston Texans: 3-13-1

AFC West
Denver Broncos: 5-12


NFC East
Washington Commanders: 8-8-1

NFC North
Chicago Bears: 3-14

NFC South
Carolina Panthers: 7-10
New Orleans Saints: 7-10
Atlanta Falcons: 7-10

NFC West
Arizona Cardinals: 4-13

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NFL Worst to first best bet: New Orleans Saints (+130)

This was an obvious choice in my opinion. The NFC South is by far the weakest division now that Tom Brady is out of the league (again). But even with Brady, the Buccaneers won the NFC South with a losing record in 2022. And now with Brady gone, I’m expecting the Bucs to fall back into a several-year-long slump. That leaves the division to either the Panthers, Saints or Falcons, and one team stands out among the rest. The Falcons upgraded their backfield by drafting Bijan Robinson who should make an immediate impact on offense, but Desmond Ridder still hasn’t proved himself at this level yet, and don’t even get me started on Atlanta’s secondary. Atlanta has +210 odds to win the division, but I have the Falcons projected for a 7-10 season. Next is the Carolina Panthers, who are entering a new era of Carolina football with Bryce Young as the quarterback. The Panthers used their 1st overall pick to get Young from Alabama, and they’ve surrounded him with veterans on offense like Miles Sanders, Adam Theilen and Hayden Hurst. However, he’s still a rookie quarterback — and that means he’s going to make mistakes. Carolina is listed at +360 to win the NFC South, and I’m projecting the Panthers to go 6-11 this season.

That leaves the New Orleans Saints, who made a huge upgrade to their quarterback room by acquiring Derek Carr from the Raiders. Carr will join an already talented offense that has Alvin Kamara, Chris Olave and Michael Thomas, so I’m expecting big things from New Orleans on that side of the ball. And on defense the Saints have by far the best unit in the division. With Cam Jordan, Tyrann Mathieu and Marshon Lattimore leading the defense, the Saints have the perfect mix of young talent and veteran leadership.

New Orleans is the favorite to win the division in 2023 at +130 odds and is my pick to win the NFC South this year and go from worst to first in back-to-back seasons.

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