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NFL MVP forecast: Adrian Peterson makes his move

Adrian Peterson is on pace to set career highs in rushing yards, receptions and yards per carry while playing on a lousy offense and coming off a torn anterior cruciate ligament. He's our biggest riser in this year's NFL MVP race.

1. J.J. Watt, Houston Texans

Watt had his quietest game of the season Sunday night in Chicago. There wasn't much of a pass rush from either team because of the wet conditions. Watt will need a monster effort on "Monday Night Football" against the New England Patriots in Week 14 or no one will take his strong candidacy seriously. Except me.

2. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

Almost half of the Falcons' games have come down to the last possession. I'm not going to knock Ryan because the Falcons lost one of them. His little dip in play culminated in the Week 6 game against the Oakland Raiders. He has played very well since.

3. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos

Manning's accuracy is just outrageous. Over the last two weeks, he has thrown just a handful of passes that didn't land exactly where he intended. Manning is going vertical a great deal, and he's throwing more on the run than you'd expect. (Of course, we'd expect it wouldn't happen at all.) Manning and the next player on our list might duel it out for Comeback Player of the Year and MVP.

4. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings

The scary part: Peterson still can get stronger as the year wears on. He has rushed for 629 yards in his last four games alone. When we look back on Peterson's career one day, this might be the season we remember above all others. Jeff Darlington will have a piece on Peterson's rehab Thursday, explaining how crazy his recovery has been. It doesn't need any embellishing. The guy is not normal.

5. Tom Brady, New England Patriots

Brady has the lowest interception rate in the NFL. He leads the highest-scoring offense in the league; the Patriots have topped 30 points in six games. And people still complain I have Brady too high every week.

6. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers: With Green Bay's defense more injured than ever, Rodgers has a chance to pass his way to another MVP award.

7. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers: His shoulder/rib injury could knock him out of realistic contention if it costs him more than a game, which it might.

8. Charles Tillman, Chicago Bears: Tillman could help his Defensive Player of the Year candidacy with a big game Monday night against the San Francisco 49ers.

9 +10. Andrew Luck/Reggie Wayne Indianapolis Colts: The crazy part of Luck's Thursday night win over the Jacksonville Jaguars: It wasn't one of his better efforts. And it's too hard to separate Reggie Wayne from Luck at this point.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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