DeAngelo Williams will miss the game with a knee injury.
Williams, the NFL's leading rusher through the season's first two weeks while replacing the suspended Le'Veon Bell, tweaked the knee last week against Miami and didn't practice much this week. Williams has 275 yards and three rushing touchdowns on 74 carries, eight of which came in the past three weeks.
The Steelers also have practice squad tailbacks Daryl Richardson and Karlos Williams, but both players said they weren't sure whether they'd get called up to the 53-man roster.
Williams is one of several key Steelers missing this week's action so the bye, which falls on Week 8, will come at a good time. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (knee), right tackle Marcus Gilbert (ankle), defensive end Cam Heyward (hamstring). receiver Markus Wheaton (shoulder), center Cody Wallace (knee) and safety Shamarko Thomas (groin) are out for the game.
As if Bell wasn't already going to see the rock early and often against New England.
"Get the ball to 26," said Darrius Heyward-Bey about the Steelers' offensive gameplan. "Simple as that. ... we all know what needs to happen. We need to control the ball. If that means give the ball to 26, give the ball to 26. if that means you need to throw the ball to 84, we need to do that. Whatever we need to do to win, let's do it."
Williams hasn't been a primary offensive option with Bell in the lineup, but the Steelers lose quality depth at a key position.