How did this week's air and ground performances stack up to the epic performances of yesterday?
FedEx Air nominees
Tom Brady, New England Patriots
In the Patriots' 28-21 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL's kickoff game, Brady connected on 19 consecutive passes from end of first quarter to start of fourth quarter. That was three shy of an NFL record held by three players: Joe Montana (22 straight completions in 1987 vs. the Cleveland Browns), Mark Brunell (22 straight in 2006 vs. the Houston Texans) and David Carr (22 straight in 2006 vs. the Buffalo Bills).
The Week 1 triumph gave Brady 161 career wins as a starting quarterback with one team, eclipsing Brett Favre's 160 wins with the Green Bay Packers. Brady also improved to 12-2 in season openers, the second-best winning percentage among quarterbacks in the Super Bowl era behind Pro Football Hall of Famer Roger Staubach (9-0 with the Dallas Cowboys), Michael Vick (6-1 with the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles) and Bill Nelson (4-1-1 with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns).
» Vote for Brady for FedEx Air Player of the Week
Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
Rivers' next touchdown pass will place the quarterback above the field general of the prolific Air Coryell offense for most in franchise history. With two touchdown passes in the Chargers' 33-28 win over the Detroit Lions, Rivers is now tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Fouts for the most ever for a Chargers QB (254). With 35 completions and 404 yards passing, Rivers became just the second quarterback to complete 35 or more passes for 400 or more yards in a season opener; the other is Peyton Manning, who had 40 completions for 433 yards in Week 1 of 2010 against the Houston Texans.
» Vote for Rivers for FedEx Air Player of the Week
Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals
How valuable is Palmer to the Cardinals' cause? Consider this ... Arizona went 6-0 with Palmer starting last season, and then 5-5 after he suffered a season-ending injury. Since that injury, the Cardinals scored fewer than 20 points for eight consecutive games (Week 11 through a wild-card playoff loss to the Carolina Panthers). That was the longest such streak by any team in 2014 and the longest such streak for the Cardinals since 2012.
» Vote for Palmer for FedEx Air Player of the Week
FedEx Ground nominees
Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers
Hyde's 168 yards rushing in the 49ers' 20-3 win over the Minnesota Vikings marked the highest regular-season rushing total for a 49ers player in the past five seasons. It topped Frank Gore's 158 yards from Week 16 of last season and Gore's 153 yards from Week 4 of 2013. The 49ers' high-water mark from the past five years was Colin Kaepernick's 181 yards rushing (a playoff record for a quarterback) in the 49ers' divisional playoff win over the Green Bay Packers in 2012.
Hyde already has more than half of his rushing yardage total from his rookie season of 2014 (333 yards).
» Vote for Hyde for FedEx Ground Player of the Week
Chris Ivory, New York Jets
Ivory's two touchdowns provided the necessary scores to topple the Cleveland Browns, 31-10. That score represented the largest margin of victory in a season opener for the Jets in 18 years, dating back to a 41-3 win over the Seattle Seahawks in Bill Parcells' coaching debut with the team in 1997.
» Vote for Ivory for FedEx Ground Player of the Week
Matt Forte, Chicago Bears
Forte had 100-plus rushing yards (105 to be exact) in the first half for the fourth time in his career and first time since 2011. Forte's efforts weren't enough to prevent the Bears from reversing the team's fortunes against the Green Bay Packers. After losing 31-23 to the Packers in Week 1, the Bears have lost four consecutive games to their ancient rival, and 10 of their last 11 games (that's including the 2010 NFC Championship Game).
» Vote for Forte for FedEx Ground Player of the Week