FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots activated running back Dion Lewis to the 53-man roster for their game against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night.

Lewis, who rushed for 234 yards and two touchdowns, and caught 36 passes for 388 yards and two touchdowns in seven games last season, suffered a knee injury last November that required two surgeries.

In addition, the Patriots moved tight end Kennard Backman and running back Tyler Gaffney to the practice squad and released tight end Austin Traylor from the practice squad.

RAMS: Geno Atkins. Gerald McCoy. John Randle.

Those are just a few of the names whom Aaron Donald was compared to before and during his rookie season – a trifecta that has combined for 15 Pro Bowls. Halfway through his third season, it’s clear that the Los Angeles Rams’ star defensive tackle could end his career as the best of the bunch.

Which is why Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams never took the bait. The media pestered him for comparisons, but he declined. On Friday, he explained that he had done so to allow Donald – now arguably the best player in the NFL – to chart a path for himself.

“He is his own guy, and he does things I cannot coach,” Williams said. “I can help, maybe speed up a decision – but he has instincts that are rare.

“Not only does he have athletic ability and strength, height and weight and things, but he has instincts that you don’t come around very much. He’s been playing very well, especially as emphasis on offensive protections and emphasis in blocking schemes are going toward him, he’s still being able to find a way to beat it.”

Donald’s impact on the game wasn’t fully captured through the first three weeks of the season, when he went without a sack despite generating constant pressure on the pocket. That’s changed since the start of October. He broke the drought with 1.5 sacks in a road win over the Cardinals, a total that he matched again through his next two outings.

Last Sunday, the Rams lost despite his brilliance. Against the Panthers, Donald notched two sacks, both of which could’ve made a difference if the offense had been more capable. His first – on third-and-nine at the Rams’ 30 – dropped quarterback Cam Newton back 10 yards, knocking Carolina out of field-goal range. The second, which came early in the fourth quarter, forced the Panthers to settle for three points – and likely would’ve caused a fumble on almost anyone other than Newton.

“Just consistent week after week after week,” Rams Coach Jeff Fisher said. “The tackles for losses and the pressure that he’s putting on the passer, the hits on the quarterbacks, they’re just consistent week after week.

“It’s amazing to see him play at that level every single play – come out, catch his breath, go back in and make another play.”

Donald began by becoming the Defensive Rookie of the Year and making back-to-back Pro Bowls. At 25 years old, can he officially claim the title of being the league’s top defensive player?

The absence of injured Texans star J.J. Watt, who claimed the award in three of the last four seasons, helps Donald’s chances. But also in the race are such players as Broncos linebacker Von Miller (who has 9.5 sacks (or Kansas City cornerback Marcus Peters (league-high five interceptions).

VIKINGS: Minnesota cornerback Captain Munnerlyn has been downgraded to out for Sunday’s game against Washington. Munnerlyn practiced on a limited basis Friday in hopes to play.

COWBOYS: Dallas is seeking an eighth straight victory, which would tie their 1977 team for the longest single-season winning streak in club history. That team won the Super Bowl.

This one has gained at least 400 yards in a franchise-record six consecutive games.

EAGLES: With every NFL team having played at least eight games, the Eagles are one of only four with an undefeated home record.

But overall, the team has lost two in a row and four of its last five games.

The Eagles are 3-0 this season at Lincoln Financial Field. The other unbeatens at home are Houston (5-0), Kansas City (4-0) and Seattle (4-0).

So when the Eagles (4-4) host the NFC South-leading Atlanta Falcons (6-3) on Sunday, they will look toward the home-field faithful to give them that extra edge.