The week following the first weekend of NFL action is what we like to call “silly season.” A time when fans and media alike tend to overreact based on what we saw from teams in their first official outing of the new season. To try and temper some of that reaction and break down the opening weekend, we caught up with Ray Lewis as he prepared for this week’s edition of Inside the NFL. Lewis weighed in on which team impressed, which he’s worried about, and what the biggest overreaction so far is.
Lewis, along with Boomer Esiason, Phil Simms and James Brown break down this and other NFL storylines all season long each Tuesday night at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime’s Inside The NFL. This week, the crew is also joined by Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, who will be joining the show throughout the season to provide his insights and analysis of the biggest stories in the league.
CBS Local Sports: Which team impressed the most in Week 1?
Ray Lewis: I think it’s impressive when you look at things from the Super Bowl angle, with a team like the Philadelphia Eagles, and see a team that I think got even better not just on the offensive side, but defensively as well.
When you go down the board though, the Jacksonville Jaguars looked really, really good. The Vikings looked really good. I know the Ravens played the Bills, but they looked really good too. Overall, I watched football this weekend with a different excitement, and I liked all of those teams this weekend.
CBS Local Sports: Which team are you most worried about after their Week 1 performance?
Ray Lewis: The Bills, the Lions, the Raiders and the Cardinals. They’re done.
CBS Local Sports: What’s the biggest overreaction you’ve seen to the first week of games?
Ray Lewis: Well, I guess that the Jets are going to the Super Bowl. Like, really? It’s one game. Let this kid grow. That’s kind of the problem, right? He comes out, he makes a bad play, and then he comes back in and adjusts. If you watched this kid (Darnold) in college, he’s coming from a program (USC) that produces those types of athletes, where their football IQ is just out of control. But, I think, you’re putting him in a pickle because you’re saying ‘oh my gosh he could be this great’ and then you go into the season and they go 7-9 and the reaction is ‘oh man, is he really that good?’. So, the overreaction is everything with Sam Darnold. Just let the kid go through his bumps and bruises, and let’s see what happens. Let’s not crown him too early either and let him just play things out.
CBS Local Sports: Which match-up are you most looking forward to for Week 2?
Ray Lewis: If you go by division, this week you’ve got the Bengals and the Ravens, both had big wins last week. If Pittsburgh loses this week, you could potentially go up two games in the division if you win.
But think about last year’s AFC Championship Game, with the Jacksonville Jaguars hosting the New England Patriots. I believe this, and it may just be me. If they (Jaguars) make that step, this week (and beat the Patriots), they become a different team. IF they make that step. If they don’t, those doubts will be there for a long time. ‘Can we beat New England?’ In the AFC, that’s the standard. Somebody has to dethrone the Patriots, who’s going to do it? I picked the Ravens, or possibly the Jags. And the Jags have a chance this weekend to do it.