Quick Take: Steelers (9-3) at Patriots (12-0)

Last meeting
Adam Vinatieri's 43-yard field goal with one second remaining helped the Patriots rally from a 20-13 fourth-quarter deficit in 2005. Tom Brady failed to throw a touchdown pass, but running back Corey Dillon ran for two scores and receiver David Givens recorded a career-high 130 yards in the 23-20 win.

The Patriots have won three of the past four games, but the Steelers lead the overall series 12-6.

Last week
Hines Ward had two touchdown receptions and the defense held Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer without a touchdown pass for the second time this season in a 24-10 Steelers victory. ... Tom Brady directed a 13-play drive, capped by Jabar Gaffney's 8-yard touchdown reception with 44 seconds remaining, as the Patriots survived another close one and beat the Ravens 27-24 to remain undefeated.

At stake
The Steelers aren't concerned about history, but rather getting a first-round bye in the playoffs. The Steelers trail the Colts by one game for the No. 2 playoff seed and a bye in the AFC. The Patriots, who have clinched the AFC East, can clinch a first-round bye with a win and can claim homefield advantage in the AFC with a win and a Colts' loss.

Key matchup
Steelers RB Willie Parker vs. Patriots run defense. The Patriots are vulnerable against the run, but they have been able to mask this problem by taking early leads on teams and forcing opponents to throw. Ravens running back Willis McGahee rushed for 138 yards on Monday night, keeping Baltimore in the game by controlling the clock. The Steelers rank third in the NFL in rushing and will likely run the ball to keep the Patriots offense off of the field. Expect to see a lot of Parker, who leads the AFC with 1,093 rushing yards.

Did you know?
The Patriots rank first in average points scored (39.1), total yards (425.3), and passing yards (304.0), while the Steelers rank first in points allowed (12.9), total yards allowed (230.8), and passing yards allowed (154.0).

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