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NFL MVP forecast: Matt Ryan tops our top 10 candidates

Last week, we noted it was ridiculously early to start monitoring the MVP race. It's one week less ridiculous now. Once you are done here, check out Daniel Jeremiah's excellent quarterly report.

1. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

Every MVP candidacy needs a few examples of late-game heroics. Ryan got one out of the way last week against the Carolina Panthers. The guy is blowing up so much, he even got a spot on "The Rich Eisen Podcast" this week.

2. J.J. Watt, Houston Texans

He can't keep up this pace, can he? 1.5 sacks came on a quiet day for him.

3. Tom Brady, New England Patriots

Stevan Ridley is great and all, but he's not the reason the Patriots lead the league in points scored.

4. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

The wins haven't shown up yet, but Roethlisberger has a chance for the best season of his career.

5. Eli Manning, New York Giants

That leap that Manning took in 2010 does not seem to be going away anytime soon.

6. Matt Schaub, Houston Texans

Yes, he's set up for success. Yes, he has been as consistently accurate as any time in his career.

7. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins

RG3 ranks in the top five in the NFL in yards per attempt, passer rating, interception percentage, yards per carry and rushing touchdowns. He absolutely has transformed the Redskins' offense.

8. Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons

Wasn't this supposed to be Julio Jones' year?

9. Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens

Joe Flacco gets the headlines. Rice leads the league in yards from scrimmage.

10. Tim Jennings, Chicago Bears

ProFootballFocus notes that Jennings has been targeted 33 times, allowing 14 receptions. He has four interceptions and four pass deflections. Jennings tipped a pass that was picked off Monday night against the Dallas Cowboys.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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