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Audibles: NFC North Week 9 preview

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

Detroit Lions (0-7) at Chicago Bears (4-3), 1 p.m. ET

How does a coach keep his team motivated for a game against the division cellar-dwellers? Here's what Bears coach Lovie Smith said during the week, and rest assured it's been repeated inside Chicago's practice facility:

"You just look at what happened last week. You take out a couple plays and [they] really outplayed the Redskins most of the game. Or you can go back to next week where they lost by seven points to Houston on the road. How about the 10-12 game to Minnesota at Minnesota? Our guys watch the video. We've played the Lions enough to know what type of team they are. Their record is definitely misleading...."

If you want to know what coach-speak sounds like, there you have it. Bears quarterback Kyle Orton feasts on Detroit, and you have to imagine it's going to be a long day for the Lions.

Green Bay Packers (4-3) at Tennessee Titans (7-0), 1 p.m. ET

Newly rich Aaron Rodgers will take the headlines in this game, but the big key is whether the Packers' defense can limit Tennessee's 1-2 punch of running backs LenDale White and Chris Johnson.

Green Bay will get a key personnel boost in the return of safety Atari Bigby, who, like replacement Aaron Rouse, is a big body and a sure tackler. The Packers might want to figure out a way to use both players in order to maximize their physical presence against the Titans.

Otherwise, it could be a long day for Green Bay. If Tennessee controls the time of possession, Rodgers and the Packers' offense won't get enough opportunities to score.

Minnesota Vikings (3-4) vs. Houston Texans (3-4), 1 p.m. ET

If you're into history, you might be interested to know the Vikings are 15-4 all-time after their bye week. They have won both post-bye games under coach Brad Childress, at Seattle in 2006 and at Chicago in 2007, and they feel good about Sunday's matchup against the Texans
That optimism, of course, is assuming the Vikings avoid the type of colossal meltdown on special teams that doomed their Oct. 19 game against the Bears. The possibility certainly exists: Houston's Jacoby Jones already has two punt returns for touchdowns this season.

The Vikings are hoping that the return of safety Madieu Williams will have a trickle-down effect on special teams. Rookie Tyrell Johnson, who had been starting for Williams, should move into multiple phases of coverage and bring some sure tackling to coverage units.