We're taking an outside-the-box approach to ranking every NFL team prior to the kickoff of the 2022 season by comparing them to spots on a Monopoly board.
Much like the popular board game Monopoly, building an NFL franchise is about financial solvency, avoiding bankruptcy, and improving by $200 increments.
How have the 32 teams fared in preparing for the 2022 season? Let's find out by determining which spot they would occupy if the upcoming campaign was played out on a Monopoly board.
A team primed to take that $200 leap and surprise some people.
Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders are coming off a 10-win season and playoff appearance, but sportsbooks are still expecting them to finish last in their division. However, Vegas has just as good a chance as any to emerge from the vaunted AFC West. With quarterback Derek Carr throwing to his best friend Davante Adams, Chandler Jones paired with Maxx Crosby on the D-line, and new head coach Josh McDaniels at the controls, don't be surprised if they're all systems go and move directly to their first playoff win since 2002.
Brown squares: Two bottom-end teams with a very low ceiling.
The Texans occupy the first spot on our board, and with good reason. Though they surprised many by winning four games last season, expectations remain low for a club severely lacking in talent at the skill positions.
After the Texans, the Falcons own the next lowest win total among most books. Their Over/Under is currently set at 5 wins. With the likes of tight end Kyle Pitts, Drake London, and A.J. Terrell, Atlanta may be building something special, but the payoff is still years away.
Light-blue squares: Barely above the bottom of the barrel, ceiling quite limited.
While there's reason for optimism after a necessary head coaching change, we're still talking about a team bad enough to pick first overall in the past two drafts.
Optimism has likely never been higher for a three-win team. The Lions' O/U win total is currently set at 6.5, which suggests the books are expecting a big year from Detroit.
Even after the trade for Baker Mayfield, expectations are low in Carolina, where major changes are expected if the team finishes below .500.
It's been an ugly offseason for the Browns after they cast aside their franchise QB in favor of one with off-field legal issues and character concerns. The team owners have been criticized for handing Deshaun Watson an unprecedented, fully guaranteed contract. It'd probably be best if the Browns just took this season off.
Pink squares: Modest potential, but a lot of work to do.
St. Charles Place
New York Jets
The potential is there for the Jets to make a big leap. Over 5.5 wins has been one of the most popular future bets all offseason. But it all rests on a sophomore breakout from QB Zach Wilson.
New York Giants
In desperate need of some offensive ingenuity, the Giants poached 2020 assistant coach of the year Brian Daboll from the Bills and hope the move will unlock Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley, and Co.
Players are already reporting that operations at Halas Hall are night and day between the old coaching staff and the new regime. Still, it's a long way around the board to go from Virginia Avenue to Boardwalk.
Orange squares: Just below the middle of the pack, but not quite among the elite.
St. James Place
For all the young talent on this roster, the Commanders' potential is capped by a limited starting QB in Carson Wentz. There weren't many offseason moves less regarded than Washington's trade for the mistake-prone passer.
The Titans occupy Tennessee Avenue. The team surprisingly grabbed the top seed in the conference last year, but the same isn't expected this year with Derrick Henry coming off a foot injury and A.J. Brown traded to Philadelphia.
New York Avenue
It's a new era in Pittsburgh. They'll have a new QB for the first time since 2004 after the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger and with that comes tempered expectations.
A team that has low expectations, essentially playing a "free" year.
Expectations are uncharacteristically low for the Seahawks as they embark on the first year in the post-Russell Wilson era. Geno Smith will get the chance to be a full-time starter for the first time since 2014 with the Jets. Yikes.
Red squares: Slightly above average, with some underrated potential
We're halfway around the board and now into the serious contenders. The Vikings represent the team on the bubble between the haves and have-nots. Though they are blessed with star players like Justin Jefferson, they are transitioning to a first-time head coach and their defense is in flux.
The Colts own one of the most balanced rosters in the league. They're hoping a necessary upgrade at QB with Matt Ryan will vault them into the top tier in the conference.
New Orleans Saints
There's just too much fluidity to bank on the Saints this season, what with Jameis Winston's recovery from a torn ACL, Alvin Kamara's unresolved legal situation, questions about Michael Thomas' durability, and the retirement of mastermind head coach Sean Payton.
Yellow squares: A step below elite, but with plenty of positives.
The Dolphins are going for it this year. They won 19 games over the last two seasons but still failed to make the playoffs. The Fins went all out to add Tyreek Hill and Terron Armstead this offseason in hopes of getting over the hump.
America's Team benefits from playing in one of the weakest divisions in the league. The Cowboys have their flaws, but they still reside a tier below the elite teams in the NFC.
New England Patriots
Perhaps the Patriots overachieved last year, winning 10 games in Mac Jones' rookie season. But head coach Bill Belichick has already seen "dramatic improvement" in his young QB this offseason. If Jones takes another step forward in his sophomore year, look out.
A team that should bring the energy all season long.
Los Angeles Chargers
A natural fit. Already a top-five scoring outfit, the Chargers re-signed Mike Williams and added TE Gerald Everett. However, it's the blockbuster trade for pass-rusher Khalil Mack that should give the Bolts the spark they need to not only contend for a division title but AFC supremacy as well.
A team expected to turn on the offensive "taps" this season
The Broncos have always had offensive weapons, they just needed the right man at the controls. Denver has finished between 22nd and 28th in scoring offense every year since Peyton Manning's retirement. That won't be the case with Russell Wilson cooking in the mountains.
Teams whose seasons could go either direction on the track.
The Cardinals epitomize a team whose season could be exceptional or forgettable. They own the talent of a Super Bowl contender, but Kyler Murray is coming off an offseason spat with the franchise, and star wideout DeAndre Hopkins is suspended for the first six games of the season. The Cards could go either way in 2022.
The Eagles could go anywhere on this track. Running back Miles Sanders thinks Philly has the makings of an All-Star team, but stud wideout A.J. Brown immediately dismissed that statement.
The season hinges on the arm of Jalen Hurts. Philly could be on the first train to the postseason or the last one out of the station.
The Ravens are a popular pick to rebound from a surprising fourth-place finish in the AFC North. Lamar Jackson has put on muscle and is now built to withstand the blows on the gridiron, but the passing game — which is now without Marquise "Hollywood" Brown — remains the team's Achilles heel.
Short Line Railroad
San Francisco 49ers
It's a toss-up as to how the 2022 season will play out for the 49ers. The roster is championship ready, but is QB Trey Lance? Everything hinges on the abilities of last year's third-overall draft pick.
Green squares: One shade below the best, there's a lot of value here
Green Bay Packers
Now onto the green squares, the Packers find themselves in unfamiliar territory. They've become accustomed to residing on Boardwalk or Park Place, but with the questions at wide receiver, Green Bay has fallen back towards the rest of the pack.
North Carolina Avenue
The defending conference champions should be even better in 2022, but they now have the target on their backs. The Bengals won't benefit from sneaking up on anyone this year.
Kansas City Chiefs
For the first time in recent memory, the Chiefs aren't the preseason favorite to win their conference, much less the Super Bowl. The loss of Hill looms large, but it would not be wise to doubt Patrick Mahomes.
A team with big contracts and expectations to match
Los Angeles Rams
The defending champs famously eschewed first-round draft picks in favor of star players and the philosophy resulted in a Super Bowl victory. The Rams signed Matthew Stafford, Aaron Donald, and Cooper Kupp to rich extensions this offseason and somehow managed to afford adding Bobby Wagner and Allen Robinson as they vie for back-to-back titles.
Blue squares: The best of the best, there are no equals
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tom Brady is back and he instantly makes the Buccaneers a Super Bowl contender. Even at 45 years old and without Rob Gronkowski, Brady's mastery is enough to make Tampa +300 favorites to reach Super Bowl LVII.
The Bills are the team to beat. With Von Miller aboard and Tre'Davious White's expected return to health, the roster has no holes. They're 6-1 favorites to circle the wagons and finally hoist the Lombardi Trophy.