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2016 Pittsburgh Steelers preseason schedule includes NFC champ

The NFL released the preseason schedule Thursday. Dates and times haven’t been announced, but here’s a first look at the opponents for the Pittsburgh Steelers:

Week 1 (Aug. 11-15) vs. Detroit Lions

Comment: The quick-twitch receiver tandem of Golden Tate and Marvin Jones will test the Steelers' young defensive backs as the franchise continues its rebuild in that area. The Steelers have won the last four regular season matchups with Detroit, including a 37-27 home win in 2013.

Week 2 (Aug. 18-22) vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Comment: The Steelers could still have two high-level kickers -- Shaun Suisham and Chris Boswell -- on the roster for this matchup. If so, both players could split attempts in this potentially heated competition. The Steelers will get a scouting jump on the Eagles, also a regular season opponent.

Week 3 (Aug. 25-28) at New Orleans Saints

Comment: The last time the Steelers played in a dome, Ben Roethlisberger was carted off in St. Louis with a sprained MCL. That injury happened in the second half, which the Steelers first-teamers likely won't see in this warm-up act against what should be an improved Saints defense. Pittsburgh last played in New Orleans in 1992.

Week 4 (Sept. 1-2) at Carolina Panthers

Comment: This marks the 14th consecutive preseason finale between these two, alternating home sites most years. The Steelers will be looking for late-round picks and undrafted free agents to emerge before final cuts. For the second straight year, former Panther DeAngelo Williams will likely not play against his former team.