NFC coaching outlook: Steve Wilks' Cardinals job in jeopardy

After Sunday's games, the playoff field will be set. Twelve teams will be in and the rest will be left figuring out how to be in next year. Of course, there will be changes. Teams will huddle Monday and discuss them, with some franchise-altering moves on the way.

Prior to the finale, here is a snapshot look at those teams mulling changes in the NFC (for a look at potential AFC coaching changes, click here):

Cardinals: For weeks, it's been clear that the Cardinals are mulling moving on from coach Steve Wilks. As of now, it would be a major surprise if they stuck with him for 2019, despite Larry Fitzgerald and Patrick Peterson publicly stumping for Wilks. GM Steve Keim has already done research to prepare for a move. If he does somehow stay, Wilks would be expected to make major staff changes, including moving on from both coordinators. One option on offense if he did stay would be to bring in Jim Caldwell (if he doesn't get a head job) to call plays and help develop QB Josh Rosen. But at this point, Wilks may not get the opportunity to offer that.

Panthers: The belief is that coach Ron Rivera and GM Marty Hurney are safe. In fact, Rivera mentioned this week that "my conversations with the owner have been all positive," another indication he's staying. In fact, they already made a big change by making Rivera the defensive play-caller, one that has already paid dividends. If not for the issues related to Cam Newton's shoulder, this season likely would have been different, anyway. There could still be some staff changes, particularly on defense. If the Cardinals fire Steve Wilks, he'll have many of options, but one would be to return to Carolina.

Update: NFL Network's Michael Silver reported Rivera has been informed he's definitely back for the 2019 season.

Bucs: Coach Dirk Koetter signed off his last radio show of the season by telling fans, "Whether I'm here or not, I'm always going to be a Buc fan." If this is it, he's gone out with class. The expectation from around the league is that they move on from Koetter, and they have been doing research and making calls to that end. There are two caveats: No one knows for sure what the Glazers will do when they meet after the season and a source involved said don't just assume Koetter is fired because that's what the public thinks. There are scenarios where Koetter, GM Jason Licht, and QB Jameis Winston all stay for one more year. But those appear to be long shots. Interestingly, all the assistants are on expiring deals, so there wouldn't be the usual expense to start fresh. From the other side, offensive coordinator Todd Monken will be a sought-after OC candidate, as well as in consideration for head coach jobs.

Lions: Matt Patricia is the Lions coach going forward. That is not in question. And while it was a difficult season, players did appear to buy in more in practice during the second half of the season than they did in the first, several people say. They began to see the big picture and practices dramatically improved (though it did not translate to wins on game day). The biggest change could come at offensive coordinator. Sources say Jim Bob Cooter's contract is up, and given his track record prior to 2018, he should be coveted. While the Lions have made no firm decision to move on, it would surprise many outsiders if things remained status quo.

Packers: Interim coach Joe Philbin will receive a head-coach interview, but it would be a surprise if he received the full-time job. Instead, expect the Packers to conduct a wide-ranging search with perhaps 10-12 candidates, then bring in three or so for final interviews. One coach they are expected to target is Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald, sources say. Packers CEO Mark Murphy actually hired Fitzgerald when Murphy was AD at Northwestern. While Fitzgerald has shut down countless interview requests from the NFL in the past, with a good sales pitch, this one may work. Josh McDaniels, who has already built a relationship with GM Brian Gutekunst and is open to the right job, would be another possible candidate here. They've already interviewed Jim Caldwell and Chuck Pagano.

Falcons: Coach Dan Quinn is safe, but there will be change. Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian is seriously at risk, but so is defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel. The Falcons dealt with injuries, especially on the defensive side of the ball but the issues went deeper. While owner Arthur Blank is moving forward with Quinn and GM Thomas Dimitroff, with a strong belief in both, Quinn should have several new staff members for 2019. Darrell Bevell, who spent some time with Atlanta in the preseason, could be a candidate, but there will be other strong ones.

Cowboys: Safely in the playoffs after a rough start to the season, coach Jason Garrett is believed to be safe. The team has been upfront with Garrett about their positive feelings for him, but how he needed to win. The response was a division title. He is only under contract through 2019, so it is likely the two sides would get together and discuss a new contract this offseason. The status of OC Scott Linehan may not be as secure. Clearly he's rebounded to get the unit looking more like it did in 2016. But some involved believe playoff success is needed for him to continue.

Redskins: The big moves this week came when the Redskins jettisoned four marketing executives, decisions that at least involved team president Bruce Allen. If he was in trouble, hard to imagine owner Dan Snyder would have allowed him to make those calls. With Allen likely staying, the thought process is that Jay Gruden would stay as well. And while assistants has been fearful for a few weeks that jobs could be lost, Gruden appears on safe footing -- his team was rolling until the injuries and he's on his fourth QB. But don't be surprised if some change is made, particularly on defense. Coordinator Greg Manusky, the object of player frustration, is at risk here.

Vikings: A tumultuous season could still end in the playoffs for Minnesota, and it does appear their change helped solidify things this season. OC John DiFilippo was fired, and while he'll be one of the more coveted coordinators candidates this offseason, QB coach Kevin Stefanski stepped in and got the unit working to coach Mike Zimmer's liking. Stefanski is the interim, and the expectation is Minnesota will attempt to promote him to full-time after the season with Drew Petzing becoming the QB coach. The only snag may be that Stefanski is not under contract after the season, a free agent. Considering the job he's done, the Vikings may have to battle for his services. Tight ends coach Todd Downing also has offensive coordinator experience, but he'll have options as well.

Follow Ian Rapoport on Twitter @RapSheet.

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