Scoring 55 points is a sure sign that Tom Brady and the New England offense are rolling again.

But allowing 31 points shows that that the injury-battered defense needs to get better.

Coach Bill Belichick says there's a lot of room for improvement on defense after Sunday's 55-31 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. So the Patriots' bye week comes at a good time: New England's next game is Nov. 18 at Carolina.

The Patriots (7-2) lead the AFC East by two games despite an ever-changing cast on defense. Three of their best starters, tackles Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly and linebacker Jerod Mayo, are on season-ending injured reserve. And defensive end Rob Ninkovich and safety Steve Gregory left Sunday's game with injuries.


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