Mike Sando's MVP Watch

October, 14, 2009
10/14/09
12:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando


Listing Kyle Orton as a potential MVP candidate once would have seemed about as plausible as the Broncos opening 5-0 with victories over the Cowboys and Patriots.

Orton makes his MVP Watch debut -- at the expense of Tom Brady, no less -- because we're far enough into the season for results to matter more than reputations.

The Bears castoff has seven touchdown passes, one interception and that 5-0 starting record. His predecessor, fellow MVP Watch member Jay Cutler, was 17-20 as the Broncos' starter, never winning more than half of his starts in a season. Orton has now won 26 of 38 regular-season starts for a career winning percentage (.684) exceeding not only Cutler's but also John Elway's (.644).

To make Orton comfortable, MVP Watch welcomes fellow 2005 Bears draft class alum Cedric Benson, the NFL's leading rusher for a 4-1 team, to the list. There wasn't room for Mark Bradley, chosen by the Bears between selections of Orton and Benson, although the Kansas City receiver does have as many touchdown receptions as Randy Moss this season.

1. PEYTON MANNING
QB | Indianapolis Colts (Last Week: 1)
2009 PASSING
CMP ATT YDS CMP% YPA LNG TD INT SACK RAT
133 181 1,645 73.5 9.09 80 12 4 2 114.1
Manning has earned a week off and he'll get one with the Colts' bye week, followed by a date with the Rams.

2. BRETT FAVRE
QB | Minnesota Vikings (Last Week: 2)
2009 PASSING
CMP ATT YDS CMP% YPA LNG TD INT SACK RAT
103 149 1,069 69.1 7.17 47 9 2 11 104.1
Passer rating jumps from 101.7 against standard pressure to 109.8 against added pressure. Blitz at your peril.

3. ELI MANNING
QB | New York Giants (Last Week: 7)
2009 PASSING
CMP ATT YDS CMP% YPA LNG TD INT SACK RAT
87 135 1,212 64.4 8.98 55 10 2 2 111.7
Only his brother is averaging more yards per attempt (9.1 to 9.0) this season and Eli is gaining.

4. DREW BREES
QB | New Orleans Saints (Last Week: 3)
2009 PASSING
CMP ATT YDS CMP% YPA LNG TD INT SACK RAT
87 129 1,031 67.4 7.99 58 9 2 4 108.4
Can move into the second spot on this list with a victory over the Giants in Week 6.

5. JAY CUTLER
QB | Chicago Bears (Last Week: 5)
2009 PASSING
CMP ATT YDS CMP% YPA LNG TD INT SACK RAT
83 129 901 64.3 6.98 68 8 5 8 89.3
It's a good thing he's playing well; otherwise he'd be hearing about Kyle Orton and the Broncos.

6. BEN ROETHLISBERGER
QB | Pittsburgh Steelers (Last Week: NR)
2009 PASSING
CMP ATT YDS CMP% YPA LNG TD INT SACK RAT
127 172 1,470 73.8 8.55 51 8 5 13 102.6
Apologies to "Big Ben" for leaving him off the list last week. He leads the league in completion percentage.

7. KYLE ORTON
QB | Denver Broncos (Last Week: NR)
2009 PASSING
CMP ATT YDS CMP% YPA LNG TD INT SACK RAT
104 165 1,236 63.0 7.49 87 7 1 8 97.4
Ranks eighth in passing yards, but no stat can approach that 5-0 record. Now 26-12 as an NFL starter.

8. MATT RYAN
QB | Atlanta Falcons (Last Week: NR)
2009 PASSING
CMP ATT YDS CMP% YPA LNG TD INT SACK RAT
82 123 977 66.7 7.94 90 7 2 2 102.9
One of eight NFL quarterbacks with a passer rating in triple digits this season.

9. CEDRIC BENSON
RB | Cincinnati Bengals (Last Week: NR)
2009 RUSHING 2009 RECEIVING
ATT YDS AVG LNG TD REC YDS AVG LNG TD
111 487 4.4 28 3 8 65 8.1 19 0
The Bengals needed representation here. Benson leads the league in rushing yards.

10. ADRIAN PETERSON
RB | Minnesota Vikings (Last Week: 4)
2009 RUSHING 2009 RECEIVING
ATT YDS AVG LNG TD REC YDS AVG LNG TD
99 481 4.9 64 7 10 62 6.2 18 0
Six yards behind Benson and due to take over a game while focus is on Favre.

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