For every action, Newton's Third Law states, there is an equal and opposite reaction. NFL head coaches find the scientific belief holds true in regard to job security, too.
Make the playoffs, and you're very likely returning next year. Miss the postseason, though, your future may be unclear.
Already in 2022, the Carolina Panthers (Matt Rhule) and Indianapolis Colts (Frank Reich) have fired the head coach. More changes will be coming, particularly on "Black Monday" after the regular season ends. Between now, the perceived temperature of coaching seats can rise or fall sharply.
The following order is a subjective ranking of a likelihood a particular coach is fired during the current cycle.
On the Radar
Kevin Stefanski, Cleveland Browns
Given that Deshaun Watson hasn't yet played, moving on from Stefanski—the coach who ended an 18-year playoff drought with Baker Mayfield—would be unfair despite the 3-7 record.
Right or wrong, Cleveland mortgaged its near future on Watson. Stefanski has earned a chance to build this reshaped offense, and six games in 2022 is a small sample. But if the Browns' last six games go poorly, a frustrating year might result in Cleveland giving someone else a shot.
Dan Campbell, Detroit Lions
Although the Buffalo Bills snapped a three-game winning streak on Thanksgiving Day, Campbell's security is trending up. After edging the rival Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears, the Lions toppled the seven-win New York Giants. Detroit is feeling decent today.
However, that perception can change quickly if the Lions fall apart. For example, the schedule still includes the Jacksonville Jaguars. Lose there and close the regular season with consecutive losses to the Carolina Panthers, Bears and Packers, and frustration will return promptly.
Ron Rivera, Washington Commanders
Rivera has similarly put himself on the right side of the bubble as we speak. In mid-October, his outlook was growing bleak as Washington took four straight losses. Since then, the Commanders have a 5-1 record and sit merely a half-game out of the NFC playoff race. While it may take a total collapse for Rivera's seat to warm again, a difficult remaining slate leaves that possibility open.