Early 2024 NFL picks, score predictions for Week 1 games

Making way-too-early predictions for the Week 1 slate of NFL games in 2024
NFL picks
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Dallas Cowboys @ Cleveland Browns

Sunday, 4:25 PM ET

The matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and Cleveland Browns in Week 1 is a matchup of two teams that could both be considerably worse this coming season than they were a year ago.

Let's start with the Dallas Cowboys, who suffered a ton of losses this offseason on both sides of the ball, including losing defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. Quinn was a godsend for the Cowboys just a couple of years ago when he transformed their defense from one of the five worst in the league to one of the five best. The Cowboys tailored their personnel on that side of the ball to Quinn's preferences and now Mike Zimmer is going to have to figure out how to get the best out of what's left.

Offensively, the Cowboys are replacing Tyron Smith with first-round pick Tyler Guyton and starting center Tyler Biadasz with third-round pick Cooper Beebe. Ezekiel Elliott is back in the fold with Tony Pollard bolting in free agency for the Tennessee Titans, and the pressure is squarely on Mike McCarthy and Dak Prescott to make lemonade out of lemons this season or heads could roll.

The Cleveland Browns will present Dallas with one of its greatest challenges of the season defensively. They are elite on the defensive front, led by Defensive Player of the Year Myles Garrett. Jim Schwartz is going to diversify his looks up front and make life miserable for the young players on the Dallas offensive line.

It's just hard to know what the Browns are getting out of Deshaun Watson at this point. He's only appeared in 12 games the last two seasons, and missed the entire year before that as well. The Browns' defense is going to keep them in pretty much every game this season, and I think will get them the win in this one.

Prediction: Browns win 26-23