Other than the two Monday Night Football games to be played, Week 1 of the 2006 NFL season is behind us. As many of you predicted in your Week 1 Pick `Em Challenge selections, the road teams fared well, winning 9 out of the 13 games played on Sunday. Here are the four teams that surprised me the most for the better and for the worse.
* Stock Down: Green Bay
My goodness, I wish Brett Favre had hung it up after last year. Judging by today's performance, it's going to be a loooong season in Green Bay. The future Hall of Famer finished 15-of-29 for 170 yards and 2 INTs. Ahman Green actually had a good day running the football (110 yards on 20 carries), but 3 turnovers and a missed FG equaled doom for Green Bay. The shutout was the first in Favre's 16 year career. To make matters even worse, the Packers found a way to make Rex Grossman look like a top-tier quarterback. That's not easy to do.
*Stock Up: Baltimore
Steve McNair and the Ravens made a big statement today, blanking Tampa Bay on the road. Steve McNair threw for 181 yards and a TD, Jamal Lewis showed signs that he may be back to 2003-2004 form, and the defense picked off three Chris Simms passes, returning one for a score.
*Stock Down: Kansas City
The Kansas City Chiefs came into this season with high expectations. We all thought Larry Johnson would put up ridiculous numbers if he stayed healthy for a full season. Not so fast. Johnson still may have a great season, but it's going to be that much harder if Trent Green doesn't recover quickly from concussion he suffered on a vicious hit from Bengals' DE Robert Geathers (dirty Bengal). Fortunately for KC fans, the concussion was not as severe as it first appeared (Green was wheeled off the field in a stretcher), but he's going to miss some time, meaning 10 year journeyman Damon Huard will be asked to lead the offense. Larry Johnson can expect a whole lot of guys in the box until KC gets their passing game back. Remember, this is a team with Eddie Kennison, Dante Hall, and Sammie Parker on the perimeter. Offensive genius Al Saunders was able to make things work the past several years, but with his departure, who knows what's to come for this offense the rest of the season.
*Stock Up: St. Louis
The Rams put on an impressive against the Broncos display both offensively, and especially defensively. St. Louis did have trouble in the redzone, having to settle for 6 FGs, but veteran Jeff Wilkins drilled all 6 and the 18 points held up thanks to a revamped defense. Ex-Saints head coach Jim Haslett was brought in to shore up a defense that was abysmal during the Mike Martz era. So far so good as the Rams picked off Jake Plummer three times and recovered two fumbles, one by Plummer.