Jack Del Rio and Wade Phillips know all about the stress of being head coaches, about the thrills and the disappointments.

Jack Del Rio and Wade Phillips know all about the stress of being head coaches, about the thrills and the disappointments.

Both veteran defensive coordinators have been thrust into the top spot again because of illnesses to John Fox in Denver and Gary Kubiak in Houston.

Del Rio was appointed interim coach in Denver to replace Fox, who had heart surgery Monday. Del Rio was the head coach of the Jaguars from 2003-11 before joining the Broncos.

Phillips is stepping in for Kubiak, who collapsed on the sideline at halftime of last Sunday night's game against the Indianapolis Colts and was hospitalized for what was described as a "mini-stroke."

Phillips was the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys from 2007 until midway through the 2010 season, compiling a 34-22 record. He also was head coach of the Buffalo Bills from 1998-2000, going 29-19 and leading the team to two playoff appearances.

Del Rio will try to keep the Broncos (7-1) winning today when they visit San Diego, with an AFC West showdown against unbeaten Kansas City coming up a week later.

"We believe we have a good football team," Del Rio said. "We're on a mission. We're on a mission to carry on and continue what Coach Fox has going with this football team. We all want to make him proud."

For Phillips, his job is to end the Texans' six-game losing streak when they travel to Arizona.

"It was certainly shocking what happened in the ballgame and the aftermath of that," Phillips said about Kubiak's collapse. "We're certainly glad that he's getting better. We've had kind of an upside-down season. Generally, things haven't been going our way very well. This was another example of that."

The Texans players were glad to see Kubiak at practice on Thursday.

"To actually see him and hear him talk to us, that means everything," left tackle Duane Brown said. "You can hear all about somebody doing well ... but seeing them out and about and walking around, that means everything to us."

Detroit (5-3) at Chicago (5-3)

In a matchup between two of the three teams tied for the NFC North lead, the Bears get quarterback Jay Cutler back earlier than expected from a torn groin sustained Oct. 20.

The Bears had a bye after their 45-41 loss to Washington, which provided some extra time for Cutler to recover.

The Lions, who haven't won at Soldier Field since 2007, will go for a season sweep against the Bears after beating them in September.

Philadelphia (4-5)at Green Bay (5-3)

The Packers hope to keep pace in the NFC North race without Aaron Rodgers, expected to miss the game after hurting his collarbone in Monday night's loss to Chicago. Seneca Wallace will likely get the nod for Green Bay, which will rely on running backs Eddie Lacy and James Starks.

The Eagles don't have the same quarterback questions. Nick Foles, coming off a record-tying seven touchdown passes against the Raiders, should start for Philadelphia.

Carolina (5-3)at San Francisco (6-2)

Both of these teams enter on a roll.

The 49ers have won five straight since dropping two in a row in Weeks 2 and 3, scoring 31 or more points in each of those victories.

Cam Newton and the Panthers are unbeaten in their past four games and have scored 30 or more points in their five wins. Carolina trails first-place New Orleans by one game in the NFC South.

Dallas (5-4) at New Orleans (6-2)

Tony Romo and Drew Brees could put up plenty of points in this prime-time matchup.

Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan will be trying to stop Romo, going against the club that fired him last season.

The Saints have won 11 straight in the Superdome at night, including playoff games. The last time New Orleans lost a night game at home was Dec. 19, 2009 — against Dallas.

Cincinnati (6-3)at Baltimore (3-5)

The Bengals, who will play their first full game without All-Pro defensive lineman Geno Atkins, can take a big step toward winning the AFC North with a victory at the Super Bowl champs.

Starting today, the Ravens play four of their next five games at home.

Oakland (3-5)at New York Giants (2-6)

The Giants, coming off a bye, have won two in a row and start a stretch of three consecutive home games.

Eli Manning will be facing a Raiders secondary that gave up a record-tying seven touchdown passes last week to the Eagles. And the Giants' defense has not given up a touchdown in 10 quarters, going back to the second period of a game against Chicago on Oct. 10.

Oakland has lost 11 straight games in the Eastern time zone since beating Pittsburgh in December 2009. The Raiders have been outscored 353-178 in those games.

Jacksonville (0-8)at Tennessee (4-4)

The Titans need to avoid repeating some unpleasant recent history.

They became the first team to lose to the previously winless Colts in 2011, a defeat that kept the Titans out of the playoffs by virtue of a tiebreaker. In 2012, Tennessee became the first team to lose in Jacksonville and dropped four of its final six while slumping to a 6-10 finish.

For the Jaguars, receiver Justin Blackmon was given an indefinite suspension last week for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy.

St. Louis (3-6)at Indianapolis (6-2)

This matchup features two of the top sacks leaders in the NFL.

The Colts' Robert Mathis leads the NFL with 111/2; sacks. St. Louis' Robert Quinn leads the NFC with 10, Chris Long is in the conference's top 10 with 51/2; and the Rams are tied for third in the NFL with 29 sacks. Still, they have lost three straight.

Seattle (8-1) at Atlanta (2-6)

The Falcons, who started the season with Super Bowl aspirations, hope to pull an upset against one of the top teams in the league.

But Atlanta will need better play from quarterback Matt Ryan, who has thrown seven interceptions over the past two weeks.

The Seahawks are coming off lackluster victories over St. Louis and Tampa Bay, teams with a combined record of 3-14.

Buffalo (3-6) at Pittsburgh (3-6)

The Steel Curtain couldn't handle Tom Brady and the Patriots last week as the Steelers allowed 55 points and 610 yards. But this week they face Bills rookie quarterback EJ Manuel, expected to return after missing four games with a sprained right knee.

Five of Pittsburgh's six losses have been by seven points or more.

Miami (4-4) at Tampa Bay (0-8)Monday night

The Dolphins are dealing with the distractions caused by the Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito saga.

The Buccaneers, meanwhile, are looking for their first victory of the season after blowing a 21-0 lead at Seattle last week.