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Ward Up for FedEx Ground Player of the Week Award

Quarterbacks MATT CASSEL of the New England Patriots, PEYTON MANNING of the Indianapolis Colts and PHILIP RIVERS of the San Diego Chargers are the finalists for the FedEx Air NFL Player of the Week honors for games played on December 18 – 22, while running back CEDRIC BENSON of the Cincinnati Bengals, fullback LE’RON MC CLAIN of the Baltimore Ravens and running back DERRICK WARD of the New York Giants are the finalists for the FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Week honors, the NFL announced today.

Fans can vote for one player in each category on from 9 a.m. EST on Tuesday through 11 a.m. EST on Friday to determine the FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Week. The winners will be announced Friday evening on

Fans will be voting for more than their favorite player. As part of the Air & Ground program for the first time, FedEx is teaming up with Safe Kids USA – a national non-profit organization that works to prevent accidental injury among children – to deliver safer kids by making weekly $1,000 donations in the winning players’ names. The funding directly benefits local Safe Kids coalitions in that team’s city, to fund pedestrian safety improvements throughout the year. This year, FedEx celebrates its fifth year of the program and will surpass the $1 million mark in funding to create safer communities for children.

New this season, fans can tune into the “FedEx Air & Ground Lowdown” posted only on starting Wednesday mornings. The show examines the nominees in the Air & Ground categories through exclusive video highlights and expert analysis. NFL Network’s MARSHALL FAULK and TERRELL DAVIS host the weekly five-minute show.

A closer look at the FedEx Air NFL Player of the Week finalists:

· New England’s MATT CASSEL completed 20 of 36 attempts for 345 yards and three touchdowns in the Patriots’ 47-7 win over the Arizona Cardinals.

· Indianapolis’ PEYTON MANNING completed 29 of 34 passing attempts for 364 yards and three touchdowns. Manning posted a 140.7 quarterback rating in the Colts’ 31-24 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football.

· San Diego’s PHILIP RIVERS threw for four touchdowns and 287 yards completing 21 of 31 passing attempts in the Chargers’ 41-24 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

A closer look at the FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Week finalists:

· Cincinnati’s CEDRIC BENSON totaled 171 ground yards on 38 carries as the Bengals defeated the Cleveland Browns 14-0.

· Baltimore’s LE’RON MC CLAIN rushed for 139 yards on 22 carries including an 82-yard touchdown in the Ravens’ 33-24 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.

· New York Giants’ DERRICK WARD posted 215 rushing yards on 15 carries averaging 14.3 yards per attempt in the Giants’ 34-28 overtime victory against the Carolina Panthers.

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