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J.J. Watt on top; Aaron Rodgers joins NFL MVP forecast

Each week, Gregg Rosenthal picks his top way-too-early NFL MVP candidates. With seven weeks down, it's almost not early.

1. J.J. Watt, Houston Texans

We've had Watt atop our rankings for three weeks. We see the "Watt for MVP" theme gaining steam around the country. The defensive end has a long way to go, but he has a chance for a historic season. He didn't have a sack against the Baltimore Ravens, but he added four tackles, two batted passes (one was picked off) and a quarterback hit. And this was an off week.

2. Eli Manning, New York Giants

We're still waiting for separation from the quarterbacks on this list. For now, we can't argue with the New York Post. No quarterback has played better overall than Eli. His game against the Washington Redskins actually was uneven -- with some inaccurate throws -- but the overall body of work from Manning has been terrific.

3. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

That game against the Oakland Raiders still troubles us. It wasn't just Ryan's three interceptions. It was the Raiders' ability to dominate the line of scrimmage.

4. Percy Harvin, Minnesota Vikings

Harvin's four catches for 37 yards and one touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals looks like an off day until you realize he had the majority of Minnesota's passing numbers. It's too bad another kickoff-return touchdown was called back by penalty.

5. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins

No one has been better mixing the steady with the spectacular. Griffin actually looked like a rookie for a couple of drives in the second half against the New York Giants, before his epic touchdown drive to take the lead.

6.*Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers*: He has made up for his teammates' mistakes.

7.*Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos*: He should only improve from here, which is a little outrageous.

8. Tom Brady, New England Patriots: Two uneven games knock him down the list.

9. Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers: When the Inconvenient Truth ranks No. 1 in DVOA on Football Outsiders, you know I'm going to list him.

10. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers: A slow start, but we probably should recognize last year's MVP leads the league in passer rating and touchdowns.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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