Desperate times call for desperate measures, and the state of the NFC North these days is as desperate as Teri Hatcher and Eva Longoria. Come to think of it, the Housewives might be able to play quarterback in this division, where Minnesota’s Daunte Culpepper, Chicago’s Kyle Orton and Detroit’s Joey Harrington rank 29th, 30th and 32nd in the NFL in passer rating. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week The Packers and Vikings, as hopeless as they’ve looked at 1-4, are actually quite hopeful. The winner of their game this Sunday could be tied for the top of the table. What this all means through six weeks of the season is that we could be headed for history. Never before in a non-strike season has a NFL team made the playoffs with a sub-.500 record. This year, the only question seems to be how low can they go? The four teams are a combined 3-11 outside the division with the wins coming against New Orleans twice and Baltimore. From here, it looks like six wins not only gets you in the playoffs, but a first-round home game. Can you say realignment? Handicapping the handicapped: The Packers, despite losing Javon Walker and Najeh Davenport toinjuries, still have a rejuvenated (again) Brett Favre. They’ve lost squeakers to Tampa Bay and Cleveland, their comeback against Carolina fell short and they smoked the Saints. The Packers, clearly, are playing the best. The problem in Green Bay is the schedule: at Cincinnati, at Atlanta, at Philadelphia, at Baltimore, home to Pittsburgh and Seattle. If they only win one of those, the Packers would have to sweep the rest of their schedule to hit seven wins. Detroit may have the best shot, but does anyone deserve to win a division when they let Chris Weinke come off the bench and throw the game-winning touchdown pass? Not when your own offense is run by Harrington. After a long kickoff return set up the Lions near midfield trailing 21-20 to Carolina, Harrington threw four straight incompletions. “To boo Joey here, that’s tough on him and tough on all of us,” said tight end Marcus Pollard, who had been used to catching passes from Peyton Manning before signing as a free agent in Detroit. “At the same time, I can sympathize with the fans, too.” The Lions, with games at Dallas, Atlanta, Cincinnati and at Pittsburgh still ahead, have a new rallying cry: Heal thyself Jeff Garcia. The Bears are the ones who really may be onto something. They’ve walloped the Vikings and Lions – and Favre-buster coach Lovie Smith hasn’t seen the Packers yet – and have lost to everyone else. Sweep through the division and beat the 49ers at home, and they’re sitting at seven wins. In Minnesota, well, that ship has set sail. After their 28-3 loss to Bears on Sunday, Coach Mike Tice wanted to talk about the game. Nobody else’s problems in the NFC North are that bad. Elsewhere around the NFL in Week 6: The trading deadline is today at 1 p.m., and while there’s rarely much action, this year may be different with some of the key injuries that occurred Sunday. The Cowboys lost tackle Flozell Adams, the Bucs lost quarterback Brian Griese, and the Jets lost center Kevin Mawae. Saints coach Jim Haslett will surely get fined for his remarks about the defensive holding penalty against Tony Bryant, which allowed the Falcons Todd Peterson another crack at the game winning field goal. Said Haslett: “I’m telling you it was a flat-out (expletive) call.” Too bad, it won’t matter that Haslett is right. Chiefs defensive end Jared Allen had a career day, or rather a career in one day against Washington. He had six tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles and two recovered fumbles. He also apparently has a sense of humor. As a rookie last season, he attended a team meeting in nothing but a Speedo and swim goggles to wish Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil a happy birthday from Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps. Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle summed up the latest from Bill Romanowski thusly: “He kicked off his best-selling tour Sunday night with an interview on `60 Minutes,’ or as we in the sporting world call the program, `Pimp My ‘Roid.’ First, Jose Canseco; now, Romanowski.” Billy Witz covers the NFL for the Daily News. He can be reached at (818) 713-3621 or [email protected]
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The NFC North has been so bad this season that the erstwhile Black and Blue Division may as well be known as the Black and Boo. The Bears and Lions are sitting at 2-3, which in some divisions puts you on the cusp of playing for next year. In the NFC North, they’re in first place.