Vikes' fast start stuck in neutral

TREVOR BUNKE -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:13 AM ET

Although I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer, even a dullard like me can spot some irritating trends that are developing in the NFL this season.

I don't have the space to write about all of them, so I'll focus on the one I found the most bothersome in Week 1.

Vikings QB Daunte Culpepper was an absolute stooge without WR Randy Moss to throw to. Every time Culpepper screwed up last week vs. the Bucs, it appeared he was looking for old No. 84. If the talented Culpepper can't turn things around, Minnesota's upgrade on defence will be all for naught.

On to the Week 2 picks:

Baltimore (-3.5) at Tennessee: The Ravens are 6-0 against the spread (ATS) in their last six visits to Tennessee and, for the most part, that's when both teams were good. The Titans are no longer good. Ravens backup QB Anthony Wright subs in for the injured Kyle Boller (toe) and that probably has most Baltimore fans cheering. RAVENS

Pittsburgh (-6) at Houston: The Texans were more than a little befuddled by the Bills' defence last week. Unfortunately for them, it's more of the same facing the Steelers. STEELERS

Jacksonville (+9) at Indianapolis: In their six meetings since becoming divisional foes, no matchup has been decided by more than 10 points. The last time they met, the Jaguars scored a 27-24 upset victory in Indy. That won't happen again, but it could be close. JAGUARS

Detroit (-1) at Chicago: If the Lions can kick three field goals -- like the Redskins did last week against the Bears -- they'll earn themselves at least a 9-7 win and thus cover the spread. LIONS

Minnesota (+3) at Cincinnati: Vikings coach Mike Tice said this week that after starting the last couple of years fast out of the gate, maybe in 2005 they'd try it the other way and be better when the season ends. Or maybe he's admitting his team's going to fall to 0-2. BENGALS

San Francisco (+13) at Philadelphia: Here's a tip: Take the Eagles as your suicide pick. As someone said about this matchup, the 49ers (2-14 last season) have their win and the Eagles (15-1 last season) have their loss. It's going to be ugly. EAGLES

Buffalo (+2.5) at Tampa Bay: Bills rookie QB J.P. Losman turned in an effective and controlled performance in Week 1 vs. the Texans. This week he faces a battle-tested Tampa defence that is still riding high after destroying Minny. BUCCANEERS

New England (-3) at Carolina: Until someone beats the champs, you stick with them. The Patriots, who were 6-3 ATS as road favourites last season, get the added bonus of facing the Panthers minus star NT Kris Jenkins, whose season is over because of a knee injury. That allows New England to double up on DE Julius Peppers and gives RB Corey Dillon a lot more running room. PATRIOTS

Atlanta (+1) at Seattle: The oddsmakers obviously feel that this a booby-trapped game for the Falcons, who have to travel to the West coast after playing a Monday night game. If Atlanta QB Michael Vick turns in the same type of performance as he did vs. the Eagles, this is no contest. Then again, I'm no oddsmaker. FALCONS

St. Louis (+1) at Arizona: Nobody knows Cardinals QB Kurt Warner, and the mistakes he makes, better than his old Rams teammates. RAMS

Miami (+6) at NY Jets: The Jets aren't that bad. The Dolphins aren't that good. If you split it down the middle you should have a close Jets win. DOLPHINS

Cleveland (+6.5) at Green Bay: Would you trust the Packers to beat anyone by a TD right now? I sure don't. BROWNS

San Diego (+3) at Denver: The return of TE Antonio Gates to the lineup should make a world of difference to Chargers QB Drew Brees. The Broncos got spanked in Miami. They need to turn in a good game before I'll trust them. CHARGERS

Kansas City (-1) at Oakland: What's going on here? Members of the Chiefs are having run-ins with the law like they are, well, like members of the Raiders. As impressed as I was with K.C.'s dismantling of the Jets last week, I was also impressed by how long the Raiders hung in vs. the Pats. WR Randy Moss is going to put on a show for the Oakland faithful in his home debut. RAIDERS

NY Giants (-3) vs. New Orleans: The Saints are the home team playing at Giants Stadium. Got it? New Orleans is the feel-good story. New York is the better team. GIANTS

Washington (+6) at Dallas: Here's all you need to know: In the last 1,000 meetings, the Cowboys have covered 998 spreads, or something like that (It's actually 13 of the past 14). COWBOYS

Last Week: 8-8.

Season: 8-8.

Best Bet: Pittsburgh.

Best Bets: 1-0, after 3.5-point favourite Cincinnati beat Cleveland 27-13.

Suicide Pick: Philadelphia.

Suicide Picks: 1-0 after Pittsburgh beat Tennessee 34-7.


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