Kevin Stefanski expects Browns to have an electric home opener

Cleveland Browns, Kevin Stefanski
Cleveland Browns, Kevin Stefanski / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

The full 2024 NFL schedule won't be released until 8:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, May 15 but a few games have been confirmed. That includes the opener for the Cleveland Browns, who will host the Dallas Cowboys on Sep. 8 at 4:25 p.m. EST.

It's the second year in a row the Browns will be at home to kick off the season. Last year, they hosted the Cincinnati Bengals, and head coach Kevin Stefanski said that game was "electric." He's excited to again start at home, saying he expects the same atmosphere and knows the team will have a tough challenge with the defending NFC East champions.

The Browns knocked off Cincinnati 24-3 in their first Week 1 home opener since 2019. That year, they were routed 43-13 by the Tennessee Titans, so the lopsided win was far more satisfying.

Browns can make a statement in Week 1

After winning 11 games despite five different quarterbacks making starts, the Browns still haven't gotten the respect they deserve. The fact they have Deshaun Watson is a primary reason, evidenced by a recent GM power ranking where Andrew Berry was ranked 17th despite building a roster with nearly no weakness — according to the writer who put him in the bottom half.

The depth from top-to-bottom was praised but then there were two paragraphs ripping Berry and everyone around him for trading for Watson.

Cleveland knew this would be the case when they brought in the controversial quarterback and they might never get respect while he's on the roster. They can still prove to be contenders and Week 1 will be an opportunity to show they're not pretenders. Dallas is a team people love to hate but they're also a tough opponent that has won 12 games in each of the past three seasons. A win over them would ensure Cleveland is taken seriously in 2024.

While the Cowboys have gone 36-15 since 2021, they've also been suspect in Week 1. Their 40-0 blowout win over the New York Giants in Week 1 of the 2023 campaign was their first victory to start the season since 2019 — which was also when they defeated New York in the opener.

They lost to the L.A. Rams 20-17 in 2020, followed by a 31-29 loss in 2021 and a 19-3 loss in 2022 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Those two Bucs' teams were led by quarterback Tom Brady, who makes his announcing debut in the Cleveland vs. Dallas showdown, putting even more eyes on this game.

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