Noted Dallas Cowboys fan Skip Bayless says he’s a little nervous about Dallas’ season-opening game in Carolina after watching the Panthers play in the preseason. But he’s not ready to give Luke Kuechly his credit as the best linebacker in the game.
On his nationally-televised sports talk show, “Undisputed,” on Fox Sports 1 Monday, Bayless talked about having watched the Panthers play the New England Patriots in last Friday’s exhibition. Bayless was likely scouting Carolina, which opens the season against the Cowboys at home next month.
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Despite many preseason publications picking Carolina to go 8-8 or 7-9, Bayless believes the Panthers are the favorites to not only win the NFC South, but to challenge his Cowboys for a berth in the Super Bowl.
“I will be the first to say, Carolina looked strong,” Bayless said. “They looked strong on defense. Tom Brady was having a hard time.”
Co-host and Pro Football Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe jumped in, trying to talk about the leader of the Panthers’ defense: Kuechly, generally regarded as one of the best, if not the best, linebacker in football.
That’s when Bayless put his Cowboys helmet firmly back on.
“(Kuechly) is not (Cowboys linebacker) Sean Lee,” Bayless said, “but he’s really good, and he was playing like it was the Super Bowl. ... He was all over the field. (Carolina was) taking it up a level for Tom Brady. They were saying, ‘You can’t come into our end zone.’ ”
Sharpe tried to get Bayless to recognize that either Kuechly or Seattle’s Bobby Wagner, and not Lee, were the best linebackers in football.
“No, he’s not,” Bayless said, referring to Kuechly. “He’s 1A to Sean Lee. Sean Lee changes everything.
“But I’ll be the first to admit. I’m now officially scared. (Carolina is) really good. I think they win the (NFC) South. I think they might be the best team in the South and might contend for an NFC Championship. That team is going to win the South.”