According to NFL.com’s Adam Schein, Indianapolis Colts veteran starting quarterback Matt Ryan is one of his top ‘2022 NFL MVP dark horse’ sleeper candidates—coming in at the second overall spot:
Indianapolis Colts · QB
MVP odds: 60-1
Indianapolis missed the playoffs last season with an inexplicable Week 18 loss in Jacksonville, understandably sent Carson Wentz packing to Washington, and traded for the former NFL MVP. Onward and upward, Colts!
Ryan is up in age — in fact, today is his 37th birthday — but I believe the four-time Pro Bowler has plenty of gas left in the tank. The fresh start will help. So will having Jonathan Taylor in the backfield, as well as a great offensive line and a fantastic defense. Ryan sorely missed those ingredients last year in Atlanta. Indy had ‘em, but lacked leadership and stability at quarterback. Problem solved! Ryan has carved out a Hall of Fame career, and I’ll fight anyone who disagrees with that sentiment. I think he leads the Colts back to the postseason via a division title, enjoying a sizzling campaign under center. That’s value.
Now, the idea that the now 37 year old Ryan will regain his prior 2016 NFL MVP form from over five years ago, where he threw for 38 passing touchdowns to just 7 interceptions for the then NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons, seems like a significant long shot—although not necessarily impossible.
That being said, he should bring much needed leadership, consistency, and accuracy to the Colts offense in the passing game and to the locker room. Not to mention, those yards after the catch opportunities for the Colts receivers should definitely pick up.
Backed by an elite ground game featuring workhorse Jonathan Taylor, and an Indy offensive line that should return to being one of the best units in football again—if fully healthy, Ryan is set up to have a bit of a late career rejuvenation with the Horseshoe.
However, with sixty-to-one odds, there’s a much greater likelihood that his numbers at the end of the year will be more in the ‘efficient’ category, than in the ‘prolific passing stats’ echelon that is usually needed to successfully rein in enough winning NFL MVP votes.
The Colts figure to lean heavily on Taylor and the running game, as this is still an Indianapolis offense at its core built to power run the football personnel wise—and play off that run, to effectively pass later.
That being said, Ryan should have a great opportunity to capitalize in his newfound change of scenery in 2022—even if he doesn’t ultimately win the MVP award again. The Colts would gladly settle for a Pro Bowl caliber season, winning the AFC South, and a deep playoff run.