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These coaches could be axed as the NFL’s ‘Black Monday’ approaches

by Moxieplay

Black Monday” is nearly upon us.

Traditionally, NFL teams that have decided on a coaching change make the official announcement the day after the regular season finale — a day known around the NFL as “Black Monday.” It’s the annual start of the league’s coaching carousel, which got a head start this season as the Carolina Panthers and Los Angeles Chargers moved on from their coaches before the turn of the calendar year.

These are some of the situations around the league that are worth keeping an eye on as the 2023 NFL regular season wraps up with Week 18 action.

Heat turned up on the Falcons, Patriots, and Titans

Many around the NFL expect Washington to fire Ron Rivera following the Commanders‘ Week 18 matchup with the Dallas Cowboys. Josh Harris and the Commanders’ new ownership group inherited Rivera from previous owner Daniel Snyder, and Rivera — who has overseen a 4-12 season in the nation’s capital — is almost certain to be dismissed officially as soon as the regular season ends.

There is more intrigue in Atlanta, where the Falcons have been competitive for much of the 2023 season but are on track to miss the playoffs in the NFC South — regarded as the weakest division in football. The Falcons are only 26th in scoring offense under third-year head coach Arthur Smith — and at 7-9, the Dirty Birds will need to defeat the New Orleans Saints on Sunday to have any shot at making the playoffs. If a team with Drake London, Kyle Pitts, and Bijan Robinson — but serious undertainty at quarterback — misses the playoffs for a sixth consecutive season, Smith will probably pay the price.

The Tennesse Titans will fail to win more than six games in a season for the first time since 2015, and a new era is starting with rookie quarterback Will Levis playing in nine games and showing great promise for the future. Head coach Mike Vrabel, the NFL’s Coach of the Year in 2021, has been linked with his former team, the New England Patriots — who appear likely to part ways with the legendary Bill Belichick following their Week 18 game against the New York Jets. The Patriots and Titans may engage in trade talks for Vrabel to succeed Belichick if Tennessee opts for a new voice on the sidelines.

Coaches who could move on after the playoffs

Playoff performances are likely to be decisive for Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy and the BillsSean McDermott. Buffalo has caught fire since its bye week and has reeled off four wins in a row — with a chance to win the AFC East on Sunday if it can defeat Miami for the second time this season. But if McDermott‘s seventh season in charge ends with a third consecutive exit in the divisional round — or earlier — the coach could take the fall.

Dallas needs a win against Washington on Sunday to clinch its second NFC East title in three years. McCarthy and the Cowboys could enter the playoffs as the #2 seed in the conference — and expectations will be high. Failure to reach at least the conference championship game with Dak Prescott, CeeDee Lamb, and Micah Parsons will not be looked upon favorably by owner Jerry Jones.

Another situation to monitor could be in Seattle. Pete Carroll will complete his 14th season as Seahawks coach on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals — a game Seattle has to win in order to stand a chance of making the playoffs. Win or lose, the 72-year-old is a Super Bowl winner with a secure NFL legacy, and it will be interesting to see whether he feels that the Seahawks’ young roster needs a new coach to guide it into the future.

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