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Steelers, Khan 'excited' for a season opener at home

The Steelers will open their 2023 season with a home game at Acrisure Stadium, marking the first time they'll open at home since the 2014 season.

According to general manager Omar Khan, that game against the San Francisco 49ers at 1 p.m. Sept. 10 could provide the Steelers with exactly what they need to send them into a successful 2023 season.

"I think that's great," Khan said. "We'll be able to set the tempo for the season in front of our fans. It's going to be exciting."

Equally as exciting is the fact the Steelers not only will open at home, they'll play their first two games of the season in front of their home fans according to the schedule announced by the NFL on Thursday. In Week 2, the Steelers will host the Cleveland Browns for a Monday night game Sept. 18.

The Steelers have gone 19-3 on Monday Night Football under head coach Mike Tomlin and have won an NFL-record 20 consecutive home games on Monday.

"Hopefully our success on Monday nights continues," Khan said. "Every season is a new season, and every game is a new game. But it's exciting for us."

The Monday night game against the Browns is one of five national games for the Steelers in 2023.

In addition to hosting the Browns in Week 2, the Steelers will make their first trip to Las Vegas to face the Raiders in Week 3 for a Sunday night game, then host a pair of Thursday night games. The first is in Week 9, Nov. 2 against the Titans at Acrisure Stadium, while the second is in Week 14 on Dec. 7 against the Patriots.

The Steelers also have a nationally televised game at Acrisure Stadium Saturday, Dec. 23 at 4:30 p.m. against the Cincinnati Bengals.

This is the first year the NFL opened Thursday nights up to allow teams to play in two of those contests. And for the Steelers, not only are both Thursday night games at home, both also will be played after the Steelers have already played a home game.

"We embrace whatever challenges come our way," Khan said of playing a pair of Thursday games. "When you have a Thursday night game, the advantages are, No. 1, you get a couple of extra days to recover on the back end, and No. 2, it's always nice to be the one show on TV that night."

The Steelers' schedule also includes four road games this season at domed stadiums, those coming in Week 3 at Las Vegas, in Week 4 at Houston, in Week 7 at the Rams and Week 15 at Indianapolis.

But the team's preseason schedule also includes a game in a dome at Atlanta in the third preseason game. That could be beneficial to the Steelers.

"Playing at Atlanta, you always have mixed feelings about playing an indoor game on turf in the preseason, but I'd say when you look at our schedule and how many games we have in domed stadiums this year, the opportunity to get that challenge or experience in the preseason is a plus for us," Khan said.

• Dale Lolley is co-host of "SNR Drive" on Steelers Nation Radio. Subscribe to the podcast here: Apple Podcast | iHeart Podcast

The 2023 schedule is not without its quirks.

The Steelers have their bye in Week 6, then travel to Los Angeles to face the Rams. After that, they play a stretch of three-straight home games against Jacksonville, Tennessee and Green Bay before traveling to Ohio in back-to-back weeks to play the Browns and then Bengals in Weeks 11 and 12. They then come back home for games against the Cardinals and Patriots Dec. 3 and 7.

So, over the course of nearly two months, the team doesn't have a game outside of Pennsylvania and Ohio.

"We'll try to use that to our advantage," Khan said.

Including the Week 15 game at Indianapolis, the Steelers then close the season with three out of their final four games on the road. They host the Bengals Dec. 23, then play at Seattle Dec. 31 and in Week 18 travel to Baltimore to close out the regular season.

"Hopefully, we're in the playoff hunt at that point as we're getting into that," Khan said. "In the playoffs, you're not always getting the opportunity to play at home, so it will be an opportunity to learn from the experience of playing on the road at the end of the season. We'll try to make it an advantage for us and do our best."