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NFL MVP forecast: Robert Griffin III now a contender

Each week, Gregg Rosenthal picks the top way-too-early NFL MVP candidates. The top spot remains unchanged this week.

1. J.J. Watt, Houston Texans

Each week, we wait for Watt's pace to slow down. It still hasn't happened. He has entered the zone Julius Peppers occupied for me for years. I have to watch Watt every snap when he's on the field.

2. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

Ryan has gotten off to slow starts in three consecutive games against lackluster defenses (Carolina, Washington and Oakland.) He can't have another three-interception game and stay this high on the list, but overall, his improvement remains the key to the 6-0 Falcons start.

3. Eli Manning, New York Giants

A composed game against the best defense in football moves Manning up one spot. His accuracy is better than ever.

4. Tom Brady, New England Patriots

Brady wasn't the same Sunday after taking a big shot to the head from Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Jason Jones. Mental errors and accuracy marked Brady's worst game of the year.

5. Percy Harvin, Minnesota Vikings

Harvin leads the league in receptions. It feels like almost all of his yardage is made after the catch.

6. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins

He has transformed one of the NFL's lamest offenses to one that can bust open a big play at any moment. The base offense actually is conservative, and RG3 runs it beautifully. Suffice it to say, the RG3 Zone was a fun place to be this week as he keeps checking things off his rookie quarterback bucket list.

7. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals

He's the NFL receiving leader in yards, and he ranks third in receptions and second in receiving touchdowns. Watch the Bengals enough, and you will become convinced they'd be 1-5 without him.

8. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

He played at an extremely high level for four weeks before an uneven performance last week against the Titans. The Steelers' offense will have to carry the team.

9. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos

Just imagine how crazy his numbers would be if Eric Decker didn't fall down and Matthew Willis didn't run the wrong route.

10. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks wouldn't have an offense without him. No running back consistently runs harder.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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