According to a report late last week, the final stand of the Bill Belichick era could take place in the unlikeliest of football settings: Frankfurt, Germany.

The Boston Globe’s Ben Volin wrote last Friday that, based on “conversations” he had, there is “a chance” that an overseas loss to the Indianapolis Colts this Sunday could prompt Patriots owner Robert Kraft to fire Belichick and promote Jerod Mayo to interim head coach for the remainder of the season.

“Based on my conversations, I don’t think it’s 100% that Belichick finishes out this season,” Volin wrote. “… If Belichick loses at home to the Commanders and then to the Colts, and comes home from Germany with a 2-8 record, I think there’s a chance the Krafts could make the move in the bye week.”

Belichick already lost at home to Washington — 20-17 at Gillette Stadium in an ugly, error-filled game against a team that just traded away two of its best players — to fall to 2-7 on the season. Another defeat against a feisty Colts squad would put New England at 2-8 entering its Week 11 bye.

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Traditionally, the bye week has been the preferred time for an in-season coaching change, as it gives the newly reshuffled staff extra time to prepare for its next game. And with the Patriots now looking like one of the worst teams in the NFL after four straight seasons without a playoff win, Belichick’s job security has to be at an all-time low.

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But would Kraft really terminate one of the most successful partnerships in American sports history that abruptly? Would he deal Belichick the ignominy of canning him in the middle of the season? Other NFL insiders are skeptical.

When NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport first reported Belichick’s “multi-year” new contract last month, he added that his understanding was Kraft “would not be inclined to make a change midseason.” Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer this week said he doesn’t believe Belichick’s job is on the line in Germany.

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Belichick predictably had no comment on the matter, saying Monday that he’s “going to control what (he) can control” and “get ready for the Colts.”

That Colts team, by the way, has scored 20 or more points in all nine of its games despite losing promising rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson to a season-ending shoulder injury. Indy recently hung 27 on a New Orleans Saints squad that shut out New England three weeks earlier.

The Patriots have crept above the teens just twice this season, with more single-digit scoring outputs (two) than 20-point performances (one) over the last eight weeks. New England’s defense has held just one opponent — Zach Wilson’s New York Jets in Week 3 — below 20 points. Mistakes abound, with the Patriots ranking in the bottom 10 in both penalties and turnovers committed. The Gardner Minshew-led Colts unsurprisingly were pegged as 1.5-point favorites as of Tuesday afternoon.

With this season more likely to get worse than better over the final nine weeks, the heat beneath Belichick’s seat will continue to intensify. The end of his dynastic run is beginning to feel like a foregone conclusion. It would not be outright shocking if an eighth loss Sunday cost the legendary head coach his job.

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But a post-season divorce still seems more likely than a midseason split. It would be the more graceful way to cut ties with a coach who won six Super Bowls and helped the Patriots dominate the sport for two decades. A coach will Belichick’s Hall of Fame resume deserves to be treated differently, even if those glory days are now a distant memory.

An in-season firing also likely would eliminate the trade scenario that’s grown in popularity in recent weeks. If Kraft wanted to ship Belichick to, say, Washington and recoup a draft pick for his exit, that’s something that almost certainly could not happen until the offseason.

But Kraft has not hidden his frustration over the Patriots’ poor results in recent years. He wants and expects his team to be at least winning playoff games, and Belichick currently has it closer to the No. 1 overall pick than a postseason berth.

If this free fall continues in Frankfurt, Kraft could reach his breaking point.

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Featured image via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images