Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon (12) makes a catch in front of Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor (24) in the third quarter of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013. The Steelers won 20-7. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
The Browns will open the 2014 regular season on the road for just the second time since returning to the NFL in 1999.
It can’t hurt the Browns chances as they’ve lost 14 of the first 15 opening games since the team returned. The only road game the Browns had in the opening week was a 17-14 loss to the Buccaneers in 2010.
Mike Pettine will make his NFL head coach debut against the division-rival Pittsburgh Steelers and will coach his first regular season game at home against the Saints on Sept. 14.
"I can’t wait to put our team out in front of the Dawg Pound Sept. 14," Pettine said in the team’s press release. "This is always an exciting day in the NFL. I think it really drives home that the season is literally just around the corner. The next milestone we’ll hit is obviously the draft.
"Browns at Steelers in Week One, in your first game as an NFL head coach? It doesn’t get any better than that. I love this division."
The last time the Browns opened their season in Pittsburgh was Sept. 10, 1989, when the Browns crushed the Steelers 51-0 in Bud Carson’s debut as an NFL head coach.
Since 1999, the Browns have opened at home with Pittsburgh on two occasions, losing both times.
The Browns only prime time game is Thursday Nov. 6 on the road against the Bengals. Fourteen of the 16 games are scheduled for 1 p.m. on Sunday with the other exception at home against the Raiders, which is a 4:25 p.m. start on Oct. 26. However, there is flexible scheduling from Week Five on, which could allow a change to the Sunday night game.
The Browns will close the regular season on the road against the Ravens.
"Looking at the schedule, we’ve said we want to be the toughest team on the field," Pettine said. "We’ll get a good taste of our division early on, with three of our first five against the AFC North, which has been for quite some time one of the NFL’s best divisions. We’re building our team to compete in the division, so hopefully we can get off to a good start."
Pettine will return to play the Bills in November where he served as the defensive coordinator in 2013.
"I look forward to returning to Buffalo in late November," Pettine said. "That late-season stretch also jumped out at me a little bit. The NFL’s about overcoming adversity, and we face a big challenge with four of our final six on the road."
The Browns will face the Texans and Jaguars, who hold the first- and third-picks in the upcoming NFL Draft.