Time-resolved quantum cascade laser absorption spectroscopy at 1897 cm-1 (5.27 µm) has been applied to study the NO(X) kinetics on the micro- and millisecond time scale in pulsed low-pressure N2/NO dc discharges. Experiments have been performed under flowing and static gas conditions to infer the gas temperature increase and the consequences for the NO line strength. A relatively small increase of ~20 K is observed during the early plasma phase of a few milliseconds. After some 10 ms gas temperatures up to 500 K can be deduced. The experimental data for the NO mixing ratio were compared with the results from a recently developed time-dependent model for pulsed N2–O2 plasmas which are well in accord. The early plasma pulse is determined by vibrational heating of N2 while the excitation of NO(X) by N2 metastables is almost completely balanced. Efficient NO depletion occurs after several milliseconds by N atom impact.