Matt Ryan, Colts Earn ‘Sleeper’ Status in Survey of NFL Execs & Players

Matt Ryan

Getty Quarterback Matt Ryan is entering his first season with the Indianapolis Colts.

Quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers, Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady are among the favorites to win the NFL MVP in 2022. Of the sleeper choices, young signal callers Justin Herbert and Jalen Hurts are two of the more popular picks for this season’s MVP.

But one NFL insider says don’t sleep on Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Ryan.

Heavy senior NFL reporter Matt Lombardo surveyed a dozen current NFL players, coaches, scouts and executives “for their thoughts” on the upcoming season. The Buffalo Bills and Los Angeles Rams officially kick off the 2022 campaign on September 8.

Of those surveyed, one league insider chose Ryan as their choice for MVP among candidates “that aren’t being talked about enough.” One surveyor also chose the Colts as their “sleeper team that will defy expectations.”

Ryan Going for Second MVP Award

Ryan already won the NFL MVP award in 2016 — the same season he led the Atlanta Falcons to the NFC Championship.

Over the last 30 years, six players, all quarterbacks, have won multiple MVP awards. With another MVP, Ryan would join Steve Young, Brett Favre, Kurt Warner, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Aaron Rodgers as the players with at least two MVP awards since 1992.

Another MVP for Ryan would place him in another exclusive club — an NFL player with a six-year gap between MVP seasons. The only players ever to accomplish that feat are Brady, Rodgers and legendary running back Jim Brown.

Ryan threw for 4,944 passing yards and 38 touchdowns with a 69.9% completion percentage on his way to the league’s most coveted individual award in 2016. He led the NFL in yards per attempt (9.3), quarterback rating (117.1) and QBR (79.6) that season.

With an MVP award in Indianapolis, Ryan would join a long line of Colts quarterbacks who have taken home the honor. In addition to Manning, Colts signal callers Johnny Unitas, Earl Morrall and Bert Jones have won at least one MVP.

Manning and Unitas combined to win seven MVP awards with the Colts.

Colts ‘Sleeper Team’ in AFC?

In addition to Ryan, one surveyor picked Indianapolis as his sleeper team. However, most experts probably don’t consider the Colts eligible in the “sleeper” category.

Of the 43 experts polled at The Athletic, about three-quarters of them predicted the Colts to win the AFC South.

Furthermore, the Colts were one of just eight teams to be picked to win the Super Bowl by analysts at

Indianapolis may not be getting a ton of national attention as a team on the same level as the Bills, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers, but they are largely viewed as the favorite to win the AFC South.

Interestingly, none of those teams led the way in votes in Heavy’s survey. Lombardo reported the Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Chargers received the most votes, among NFL insiders polled, to win the Super Bowl this season. The Eagles and Chargers each received four and three votes, respectively.

The Colts did not receive a Super Bowl vote in the Heavy survey.

In the “sleeper” team category, Indianapolis was one of eight teams to receive at least one vote. Indianapolis’ division rival, the Houston Texans, received the most “sleeper” votes with three.

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