Rams stand in the way of Brady record for QB wins

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Sometime late Sunday afternoon, barring an upset or injury, Tom Brady is expected become the winningest quarterback in the history of the National Football League.

If he doesn't get the win, his rival quarterback, Jared Goff, is likely to get his first.

Brady's Patriots host the 4-7 Los Angeles Rams as New England looks to go to 10-2 -- and Brady looks to break his recently created tie with Peyton Manning and post his 201st NFL victory, counting postseason.

Brady, who always downplays individual accomplishments, is dealing with a knee injury that had him hobbling a bit in last Sunday's win over the New York Jets.

Brady didn't start strong but managed the 50th fourth-quarter comeback of his career and said after the game his knee actually felt better than it did after the game the week before.

Just as he was last Wednesday, he was missing during the media portion of Wednesday's practice. So was Rob Gronkowski (lung) and Julian Edelman (foot).

Switching from his former usual day to meet the media from Wednesday for Friday, Brady wasn't available as this was being written. But Monday, on his regular WEEI radio appearance, he didn't indicate this Sunday would be a problem.

"It's better than last Monday, so I'm very happy about that," Brady said. "I think I'm pretty optimistic."

Goff became the LA starter two games ago and has thrown for 348 yards and three touchdowns, all the scores in last week's 49-21 loss to the New Orleans Saints -- in two games as a starter.

"You have a big guy, he's a tall quarterback, he's long," Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia said. "He has an extremely strong arm and a very accurate arm in a lot of the different throws that they ask him to make.

"He's a very good quarterback from the standpoint of arm strength and the ability to get the ball downfield. He has some tremendous skill players -- Kenny Britt, Tavon Austin, Brian Quick."

When Brady looks across the line, he will see former teammate Dominique Easley, a first-round draft pick of the Patriots in 2014. Injuries cut his time in New England short and he comes into this game with 2.5 sacks for the season -- and probably a whole lot to prove.

And he has help, with Aaron Donald (six sacks) developing into one of the best players in the league.

Both Easley and Donald will apparently have to do it against Brady this week. That much we know. What we didn't know was the status of Gronkowski.

After missing just one game with what is being called either a partially collapsed lung or a bruised sternum, he went down with a back injury early in last week's game. He didn't attend a charity event he was scheduled for Tuesday night -- a banged-up Martellus Bennett taking his place.

Brady has been nothing short of sensational overall since returning from his four-game Deflategate suspension. He has completed 68.4 percent of his passes, thrown for 18 touchdowns and been picked off once in seven games -- and last week became the fifth NFL quarterback to throw for 60,000 yards in his career.

Brady is 2-1 lifetime against the Rams. He is 98-17 in his career at Gillette Stadium and is 50-10 in December, when the Patriots are usually very tough to beat.

Beleaguered Rams coach Jeff Fisher, speaking to New England media via conference call Wednesday, didn't seem to know the names of the Patriots' running backs. He lauded LeGarrette Blount but overlooked Dion Lewis and James White and talked about "Brandon" and "Danny."

"They're all different," he said. "I've got a place in my heart for LeGarrette because I gave him his start. I have great respect for him.

"He's a big back and he's hard to get down. And then, as they rotate through, different guys play in different situations. They do a good job with it. He knows where the ball's going to go.

"The guys are very, very disciplined. I'm impressed with Brandon, and what he's done out of the backfield. You've got to deal with him, in addition to Danny. And you've got playmakers all around. We've just got to play sound defense."