The Chicago Bears' 30-27 road loss to the New York Giants on Sunday might not sting quite as much as it did Sunday afternoon.
Since the final whistle in overtime blew at MetLife Stadium, the Minnesota Vikings fell only a few hours down the road to the New England Patriots in Foxboro, and the Green Bay Packers — the conference's model of continuity — fired head coach Mike McCarthy before his 13th season ended.
That means the Chicago Bears lost no ground in the NFC North, which went winless in Week 13, and Matt Nagy suddenly is the second-longest tenured coach in the division.
But that also could mean the Packers pursue one or more of Nagy's assistants, none more likely than Vic Fangio, who interviewed last offseason for the defensive coordinator vacancy that ultimately was filled by Mike Pettine. Conventional wisdom suggests new GM Brian Gutekunst will covet an offensive mind to resurrect Aaron Rodgers, mired in a relative slump this season.
But Gutekunst already has made some unconventional decisions as Ted Thompson's successor — and not only making McCarthy the first-ever in-season firing in franchise history. Gutekunst attempted to lure Bears' then-transition CB Kyle Fuller from Chicago, and his wheeling and dealing in the draft to acquire an extra 2019 first-round pick further illustrated a newfound aggressiveness driving the Packers front office.
If Fangio, who still covets his first head-coaching opportunity, has a strong enough candidate in mind to potentially bring along as his offensive coordinator, the possibility can't be discounted. Especially on the heels of the divisional power shifting to Chicago largely on the strength of Fangio's defense.
Bears fans probably shouldn't get used to not seeing McCarthy donning a headset on the sideline, either. Although it'll be interim coach Joe Philbin leading the Packers into Soldier Field in Week 15, McCarthy is a strong bet to be leading a different club next season, with the most obvious of dot connecting with John Dorsey's Cleveland Browns. Dorsey spent 2000-12 with the Packers, moving his way up to director of football operations.
For now, the Bears can take some solace from their first loss since October in seeing that they're still the class of the NFC North and the quest for their first playoff berth since 2010 is no tougher than it was entering Week 13.