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2 Ravens night games highlight the upcoming season for Steelers

| Wednesday, April 23, 2014, 8:51 p.m.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin reacts after a partialy blocked punt by the Raiders in the first quarter Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.

The Steelers open the 2014 regular season with two games in five days against AFC North rivals, but the NFL schedule maker gave them every chance to jump out to a fast start.

The Steelers, coming off successive 8-8 records, will meet only two teams with 2013 winning records — Carolina and Indianapolis — until Week 13, when they play the New Orleans Saints on Nov. 30 at Heinz Field.

The combined record of the Steelers' first 11 opponents was 60-84, including a 2-14 team (Houston) and three 4-12 teams (Cleveland, Tampa Bay and Jacksonville).

The Steelers won't go far to play, either, following a 2013 season in which they ventured to London and Oakland, Calif., among other venues. Only one game (at Tennessee) is outside the Eastern time zone, and their longest flight is to Jacksonville.

And while the Steelers and Ravens had 8-8 records last season, one of the NFL's best rivalries will play out twice in prime time: Sept. 11 in Baltimore, the first game on CBS' new Thursday night schedule, and Nov. 2 at Heinz Field, a Sunday night game.

The Steelers play five prime time games, with two Monday night games scheduled for the first time since 2008: Oct. 20 at home against the Texans and Nov. 17 at Tennessee. The Steelers also play a Sunday night game Sept. 21 at Carolina.

For now there is one 4:25 p.m. start: Oct. 26 against Indianapolis at Heinz Field, one of three consecutive home games. However, flexible schedule can affect starting times beginning in Week 5.

The Steelers open the season Sept. 7 against the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field — they travel to Baltimore later that week — and concludes with home games Dec. 21 against Kansas City and Dec. 28 against Cincinnati.

Both Browns-Steelers games will be played by Week 6, but the two Bengals-Steelers games will be in December.

The bye week comes late, in Week 12 (Nov. 24-25).

The Steelers will play a Thursday night game at Baltimore for the second straight season, a follow-up to coach Mike Tomlin's Thanksgiving night sideline misstep last season that resulted in a $100,000 fine.

Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at arobinson@tribweb.com or via Twitter @arobinson_Trib.

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