2011 has been a season about overachievers and underachievers.
For those overachieving teams like Washington, Buffalo, Detroit and Oakland, there's reason to look ahead and anticipate success. Their fan bases have become reinvigorated, and things look bright as we near the second half of the season.
For those who haven't measured up to expectations, it's officially do or die.
We are nearing midseason, and 1-4 or 2-3 can become 2-6 quickly. Some of those teams' struggles are going to lead to regime change, potentially long before season's end.
This week we take a look at five coaches—including Jack Del Rio—who are sitting firmly on the hot seat.
How quickly things can change.
Tony Sparano is getting a lot of heat in Miami, and I only partially agree. Sparano took over a 1-15 Miami team four years ago, and promptly led the Dolphins to an 11-5 record and a playoff birth in his first season.
The front office hasn't done much to solidify the roster since then, and the product shows on the field. Following 2008, back-to-back 7-9 seasons had fans clamoring for a coaching change unless things improved in 2011.
So far, it hasn't.
They look slow, uninspired and only marginally talented at any given position on the field.
Miami is a team without any weapons that really threaten you, and they failed to make the change at quarterback that the fans anticipated. Not only did they fail to land Kyle Orton in a trade (maybe a good thing), they also put all of their eggs in the proverbially Chad Henne basket.
The result? An 0-4 record, and a coach that is most definitely on the hot seat.
How has Jim Caldwell avoided all of the "hot seat" talk around the water cooler?
Everyone gives Caldwell a pass on 2011, but I don't think he deserves it. Despite losing arguably the greatest quarterback of the modern era, Indianapolis has way too much talent to be 0-5.
The Colts are competing, but competing shouldn't be enough. The rest of the roster includes Jeff Saturday, Pierre Garcon, Dallas Clark, Reggie Wayne, Joseph Addai, Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis.
This is plenty of talent to have at least won a football game, and it makes me question how the players are responding to Caldwell. He looks like he barely has a pulse on the sideline, and it's becoming obvious that it was truly Peyton Manning who was "coaching" this team for the last 14 years.
Don't be shocked if the Colts replace Caldwell after a 2011 season in which they will win less than four games.
Andy Reid is on this list because everyone tells me he should be, but I really don't agree.
In 13 years as Eagles' head coach, Reid has exactly two losing seasons. The last losing season for Philadelphia came in 2005 when they finished a disappointing 6-10. Despite finishing fourth in the division in 2007, the Eagles were 8-8, and were retooling from a talent perspective.
What makes Reid an easy target, other than his width, is the fact that he is a fantastic personnel man who makes occasional bone-headed situational coaching mistakes.
Reid is fantastic at putting together teams, but his teams often under-perform relative to their "dream team" status on paper.
The 2011 version of the Philadelphia Eagles is another amazingly-talented team that seems to continually find creative ways to lose, but I'm not sure this is totally Reid's fault. Team chemistry must have some part to play in their failures.
If he does lose his job, he'll have another one before the ink is dry on his pink slip.
10 months ago, Steve Spagnuolo's Rams were a very nice story. A young team who finished 1-15 in Spagnuolo's first season, the Rams narrowly missed a playoff berth after a 7-9 record.
Fast forward to present day, and the Rams have seemingly regressed.
Sam Bradford is looking less like a sure-thing, and it seems as if Spagnuolo's team is beginning to phase him out. The Rams are 0-4, and Spagnuolo is just 8-28 in his first 36 games as Rams' head coach.
If I had to pick one coach that I believe will absolutely get fired during the season, it's Jack Del Rio.
Del Rio has had the benefit of owner Wayne Weaver, who has given him countless opportunities to build a winner in Jacksonville. Unfortunately, after a 1-4 start, the Jaguars seem to have regressed from 2010.
Del Rio continually makes terrible situational decisions that often costs his football team games they should otherwise have won, including games against the Bengals and Panthers this season. The Jaguars often look unprepared, such as failing miserably on last week's two-minute drive against Cincinnati.
The Jaguars have become a reflection of their coach. They often seem bewildered in clutch situations and lack direction.
Jacksonville fans are publicly calling for Del Rio's job, and they're probably going to get it by midseason.