Check out the latest betting odds and predictions for the first NFL head coach to be fired in 2021
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Believe it or not, the 2021 NFL regular season is gradually sneaking upon us. At this writing, fewer than two months separate us from opening week. That means it's time to start tackling NFL futures. And while most interpret this to mean analyzing Super Bowl odds, we're going in a different direction this time around.
This is to say: Here is your official ranking of the NFL head coaches most likely to be fired in 2021.
Not every NFL head honcho is on the hot seat entering this season. Let's make that clear. But the folks over at BetOnline are kind enough to have odds on every head coach getting the boot, so here's a look at them:
As ever, make sure you're double-checking these NFL betting lines before deciding on a wager. The odds on each coach will move at BetOnline and other top online sportsbooks as Week 1 gets closer and as the season itself unfolds.
Most Likely NFL Head Coaches Who Will Be Fired
Ranking the head coaches most likely to be fired is an inexact process. A lot goes into figuring out this pecking order—way more than just the betting odds. We have to consider team expectations, a head coach's tenure, past success, current rumors, potential roster pitfalls, and much more.
After weighing all these factors, we've come up with the five head coaches we believe are most likely to get fired midseason. And per the betting odds, we are ranking them based on who we believe has the best chance of receiving their pink slip first.
Make no mistake: Someone will be fired. It will probably be multiple someones. NFL franchises can be more hesitant to author seismic midseason moves because the schedule is so short, but over the past half-decade, an average of more than two head coaches have been shown the door per year.
5. Jon Gruden, Las Vegas Raiders (+1000)
Jon Gruden should be higher on this list. He has spent the past four years manning the Raiders, during which time he has failed to procure more than eight wins in a single season, traded away some of their best players, and just generally made a bunch of big or puzzling swings. Any other coach with this four-year stretch would be quaking in their double-pleated dockers.
But Gruden still has six seasons left on a 10-year, $100 million contract. The Raiders will have to pay him a ton of money to go away. Most don't think they will. At the same time, if they don't get off to a good start, he's a dark horse to get the boot first.
4. Zac Taylor, Cincinnati Bengals (+1200)
There are plenty of reasons why the Bengals shouldn't yet consider firing Zac Taylor. Chief among them are continuously shifting circumstances.
Taylor's first year at the helm saw then-quarterback Andy Dalton fail to lead a lackluster roster to more than two wins. Then last year, while Taylor had No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow thrown into the fold, the rookie saw his inaugural season cut short after suffering a torn ACL in Week 11.
Still, many believe Burrow to be ready for Week 1, which means Taylor may be out of excuses in Year 3. No one's expecting a playoff berth, but after beefing up the O-Line, the Bengals need to show stark improvement on offense for him to be safe.
3. Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings (+1100)
With seven years under his belt in Minnesota, Mike Zimmer is one of the longest-tenured head coaches in the NFL. That might work against him.
Teams like to change things up when they seem stale. And the Vikings might be stale. They have won more than eight games just once over the last three years and haven't made it out of the divisional playoff round since 2017.
Further complicating matters for Zimmer is the future of Aaron Rodgers. If the Green Bay Packers trade him, the Vikings will be the favorites to win the NFC North, in which case the pressure on Zimmer—and the likelihood his team fails up against it—exponentially increases.
2. Mike McCarthy, Dallas Cowboys (+750)
Mike McCarthy landing this high on our list—and the oddsmakers' list—is a little strange. This is just his second year leading the Cowboys.
Therein lies the reason for his placement: He's coaching the Cowboys.
Though McCarthy didn't have Dak Prescott for most of last season, he'll have him back this year. And after the Cowboys gave Dak a fat contract, re-signed Ezekiel Elliott to a big-money deal last year and reinvested heavily in the offense over this offseason, the pressure is on to take command of the NFC East.
Loosely translated: Dallas is entering an urgent win-now window. If they struggle in what remains a weak division out of the gate, McCarthy will be in trouble.
1. Kliff Kingsbury, Arizona Cardinals (+1200)
The spotlight is on Kliff Kingsbury entering the third year of his contract with the Cardinals. The team has shown some improvement over his tenure, winning five games and upping that total to eight games last year, but the franchise overall hasn't made the playoffs since 2015.
Ending that drought is no doubt a top priority this season. Kyle Murray and DeAndre Hopkins are in the second year of their partnership, and it will be Kingsbury's third with Murray.
The latter point is most important. Arizona has yet to have a top-12 offense in the Kingsbury-Murray era. And if things don't pick up this season, it won't be the franchise quarterback who gets the ax.
Check out this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can decide which one to use for all of your NFL bettings:
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