Black and Blue all over: Texans offense awaits

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
One by one, NFC North teams have grown familiar with Houston's increasingly prolific offense this season. Sunday, it will be Chicago's turn.

  1. In October, the Texans ran up 404 yards and 29 first downs in a 28-21 victory over Detroit.

  2. In November, they totaled 389 yards and 20 first downs in a 28-21 loss at Minnesota.

  3. And earlier this month, Houston racked up 549 yards and 25 first downs in a 24-21 victory at Green Bay.

Texans quarterbacks have averaged 348 passing yards in those three games, hardly comforting numbers for a Bears defense that ranks 28th in NFL passing defense. As Nick Hut of the Northwest Herald notes, the Bears are well aware of the challenge awaiting them at Reliant Stadium.

"Fundamentals are going to be huge," defensive coordinator Bob Babich said. "We need to make sure that our guys know exactly what they're doing. When we get an opportunity, we need to take advantage of it, and we need to get some takeaways."

Continuing around the NFC North on a Saturday morning:

  • David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune writes the Bears shouldn't give up on veteran safety Mike Brown, who was placed on injured reserve and is a pending free agent.

  • Minnesota tailback Adrian Peterson won't allow this season's eight fumbles to change his basic approach, writes Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune.

  • The Vikings are attempting to lead the NFL in rush defense for the third consecutive season, writes Sean Jensen of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Only one other team in NFL history (the Dallas Cowboys of the late 1960s) have accomplished that feat.

  • Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette suggests that two members of the Packers' 2008 draft class, guard Josh Sitton and tackle Breno Giacomini, will challenge for starting positions in 2009.

  • Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is 270 yards shy of a 4,000-yard season, writes Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

  • Detroit joined a growing throng of NFL teams that have frozen 2009 ticket prices, writes David Birkett of the Oakland Press. The Lions will take it one step further and reduce the price of about 4,400 seats around Ford Field, mostly in the club areas.

  • Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press on the ticket decision: "Apparently Lions management has determined that their new policy of trying to lose all their games is not sitting well with the paying fans. Maybe they should have asked fans what they thought before they decided to shoot for 0-16."