Hope springs eternal with a new NFL campaign, but several glass-half-full franchises have already felt a merciless dose of reality following their Week 1 failures. All 32 teams spent the offseason revamping their rosters while furiously pursuing improvement. Some of those strategies have already been exposed.
BetOnline recently updated their odds for the first NFL head coach fired in 2022 as a result. The odds are as follows:
- Mike McCarthy (+350)
- Matt Rhule (+375)
- Kliff Kingsbury (+500)
- Frank Reich (+900)
- Mike Vrabel (+900)
- Robert Saleh (10/1)
- Arthur Smith (14/1)
- Dan Campbell (14/1)
- Ron Rivera (16/1)
- Pete Carroll (16/1)
- Kevin Stefanski (+25/1)
- Kyle Shanahan (28/1)
THE FAVORITE AND MY PICK: MIKE MCCARTHY
Few teams experienced a more concerning offseason than the Dallas Cowboys. Salary cap-related issues paired with odd decision-making saw the Cowboys part ways with several high-level offensive starters in their wide receiver room and across the offensive line. Those concerns became reality in Dallas’ lackluster 19-3 Week 1 defeat to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The multi-score defeat somehow wasn’t the worst event that transpired. Starting quarterback Dak Prescott suffered a hand injury and has already undergone successful surgery to stabilize a fractured right thumb. Prescott is expected to be sidelined anywhere from three-to-six weeks. Backup Cooper Rush is expected to start against the AFC defending champion Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2. The schedule doesn’t ease up from there. A pair of crucial divisional matchups against the New York Giants and Washington Commanders loom large in Weeks 3 and 4.
It’s a crucial do-or-die season for this iteration of the Cowboys. The ever-controlling Jerry Jones is obsessed with chasing success. Mounting challenges have already revealed themselves. Mike McCarthy is undeniably on the hot seat. If things continue going sideways, McCarthy could be relieved of his duties around Thanksgiving.
A WORTHY NO. 1 CONTENDER: MATT RHULE
Rhule entered his third NFL season in charge of Carolina with a less-than-desirable 10-24 record across his first two seasons. It’s safe to assume 2022 qualifies as Rhule’s third and final opportunity to improve this Panthers squad. Sunday’s defeat to a Deshaun Watson-less Cleveland Browns didn’t reflect necessary progress.
The Panthers have been littered with quarterback issues since Rhule’s arrival. They’ve entered all three seasons with a different starting signal-caller. Acquiring Baker Mayfield was a last-ditch effort to put an end to their search. Mayfield was average in the home defeat to Cleveland, completing 16-of-27 passing attempts for 235 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.
The Panthers are supposed to lean on a dominant defense, but that unit allowed 26 points to a middling Browns offense led by backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett. Cleveland rushed for 217 yards via the ground game and scored two rushing touchdowns. Carolina’s defense appeared soft up the middle as Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt combined for 187 yards.
A potentially must-win road contest against Brian Daboll’s Giants in Week 2 is crucial to Rhule’s outlook. The Panthers then host the New Orleans Saints and Arizona Cardinals. An 0-4 start could cost Rhule his job.
AN UNDERRATED CANDIDATE: ARTHUR SMITH
The Atlanta Falcons blew a 26-10 fourth-quarter lead to their arch nemesis New Orleans Saints in Week 1. The Saints rounded off 17 consecutive points and escaped with a 27-26 victory. Blowing multi-score leads is unfortunately a familiar theme for Falcons faithful. The going gets tougher. Atlanta is a double-digit underdog against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.
The Falcons are expected to struggle this season. Trading veteran quarterback Matt Ryan and settling for a bridge-type option in Marcus Mariota all but guaranteed a rebuild. Will Smith survive a second straight losing season?
Smith stormed out of his post-game press conference following a handful of questions and threw shade at Atlanta’s local beat reporters. The NFL media is beginning to turn on Smith. It’s typically a telltale sign regarding job security.