As it stands today, Smith has a better chance of getting a contract extension after the season than he does of losing his job. After beating the Eagles — a team with the potential to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl — some are mentioning Smith as a potential Coach of the Year candidate.
There's time for a collapse — a loss at Detroit next week would be a major setback with games against the Patriots, Vikings, Jets and Packers to follow.
Smith's challenge is to make sure the Bears don't overlook the Lions and end up with a wake-up call that could cost them in the long run. He likes where things are heading, though, with Chicago alone in first place in the NFC North.
"I think we've taken steps each week," he said Sunday. "Even the times that we lost we found out something we needed to know about our football team. But yes, I would definitely say our arrow is pointed up. When you win four games in a row the way we have, we talk early about getting in position in October and making that run in November, that's exactly what the guys are doing."
Smith began the season as a coach on the hot seat, and he's in position to leave it as one who survived the heat.