As we inch closer and closer to Madden’s release on August 2, details about the next installment will slowly start to emerge. In the mean time, I will do my best to fill in the uncertainty that looms over Madden 20 by trying to accurately predict what each team is bringing to the table in this year’s installment.
Earlier this year, EA announced that ratings would be completely redesigned this year. And although it is anyone’s guess as to how this new formula will work, I am going to try and predict each team’s overall rating.
When you look around the NFL at the other 31 teams, it’s safe to say the Ravens are a unique team. Furthermore, they have an offense that is built around the run game. Lamar Jackson had a solid rookie campaign. His running backs consist of Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards, Kenneth Dixon and Justice Hill. For those counting at home, that’s four starting running backs by most standards. Rookie Speedster Marquise Brown is sure to be cheese in this year’s game. And let’s not forget the tight end tandem of Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews — both players can change the outcome of a game. Defensively, Baltimore took a hit this offseason, but they still have one of the better units in the AFC North. And with the addition of Earl Thomas, Baltimore’s secondary is vastly improved.
Overall Prediction: 85 Overall
The AFC North from top to bottom is pretty competitive. But if there’s one team in the division that could be firmly etched at the bottom of the standings this NFL season, it’s the Cincinnati Bengals. After all, they brought in an unknown head coach in Zac Taylor, and somehow Andy Dalton is still an unknown commodity heading into his ninth season. And sure, Ryan Finley isn’t a top-tier NFL prospect, but he might give you a better chance than Dalton. Joe Mixon and A.J. Green are both superstars at the very least. Defensively, there’s work to be done, but with a front-seven that consists of Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap and Jordan Willis it will be hard on opposing offenses. Lastly, a secondary consisting of William Jackson and Dre Kirkpatrick should stymie opposing receivers.
Overall Prediction – 78 Overall
When you look around the rest of the NFL, there’s not a team like the Cleveland Browns on paper. The number of weapons they have surrounded Baker Mayfield with is truly a thing of beauty. Cleveland’s offensive line is stout and their running back trio of Nick Chubb, Duke Johnson and Kareem Hunt is quite impressive. And yes, Hunt is expected to miss significant time in real life, but that won’t affect his virtual counterpart (unless you leave pre-existing injuries on). Additionally, the playmakers on the outside that Mayfield has at his disposal is like nothing else around the league. David Njoku is destined for a breakout season and Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry and Antonio Callaway make up one of the best receiving corps in the NFL. On defense, pass rushers Myles Garrett and Olivier Vernon should cause fits for opposing quarterbacks.
Overall Prediction: 88 Overall
All the talk in Pittsburgh this offseason was how they traded away Antonio Brown and let Le’Veon Bell leave for New York. However, the Steelers are still really, really good. Ben Roethlisberger is still a top QB. And with JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington and Donte Moncrief as his top receiving targets, there’s some potential for big plays in Madden 20. And who can forget James Conner, the three-down running back that kept the offense rolling in Bell’s absence. There’s also a defense that should be in for a bit of a resurgence. T.J. Watt has starting potential off the edge, and with the addition of Devin Bush, could round out one of the younger defensive units in the game. Plus, they’ll also have the services of Joe Haden. The question now remains, is Pittsburgh the best team in the AFC North?
Overall Prediction: 87 Overall
Houston’s roster is littered with talent from top to bottom, and it all starts with quarterback Deshaun Watson. Watson is one of the better dual-threat QBs in the NFL, and we all know how those type of players flourish in Madden. Houston’s offense has plenty of stars, with none brighter than wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins is the best receiver in the NFL, and it should reflect that way in this year’s game. Opposite of Hopkins is Will Fuller. However, for as good as the offense is, the defense might be that much better. Houston’s front-seven might be the best in football with J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney causing nightmares for opposing QBs. Lastly, the Texans’ secondary still has the aging but still solid Johnathan Joseph, and a safety tandem consisting of Tashaun Gipson and Justin Reid. The Texans should be a fan favorite this season.
Overall Prediction: 86 Overall
There has been no better quarterback prospect in the last decade than Andrew Luck. And now that he’s finally healthy and surrounded by playmakers, he’s ready to build upon his legacy. Frank Reich’s offense is very good and has the potential to blow the top off of opposing defenses with speedsters T.Y. Hilton and Parris Campbell.They also finally found a suitable running back in Marlon Mack, and also have change of pace runners Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins. Let’s not forget the Colts’ impressive offensive line. On defense is where the Colts have improved the most in recent years. And with playmakers like Darius Leonard, Jabaal Sheard and Justin Houston, Indianapolis will be hard to contain on the virtual gridiron.
Overall Prediction: 89 Overall
No one can say with certainty who the Jaguars truly are. In fact, after almost making the Super Bowl in 2017, they seemingly fell off the map. But with the addition of quarterback Nick Foles, the time is now for Jacksonville to show the NFL what they’re capable of. Foles will have to rely on running back Leonard Fournette, and receivers Dede Westbrook, D.J. Chark and Marquise Lee. Beyond that crew, the offense is a bit lackluster. Still, they should be greatly improved over past teams. In either case, what remains the strength of this team is the defense. It’s as good as it gets on paper. With shutdown cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye, it’s going to be difficult to move the football versus this defense.
Overall Prediction: 81 Overall
If you hop in a time machine and travel back to the ’70s and ’80s, there you will find the 2019 Titans’ offense. A team that is built to run the football with one of the meanest running backs in the game, Derrick Henry — and a complementary back in Dion Lewis. The quarterback situation is a bit underwhelming, but Marcus Mariota’s mobility makes him a dual-threat in Madden 20. Tennessee’s wide receivers are in better shape this year with the addition of A.J. Brown opposite of speedster Corey Davis. Defensively, there’s a lot of potential, but they still may have the worst defense in the division.
Overall Prediction: 79 Overall
I talked a lot about the success of dual-threat quarterbacks in Madden, and the Buffalo Bills have one of the more mobile QBs in Josh Allen. Allen may not be the most accurate, but he has a rocket for an arm. He can make all the throws from inside the pocket, in addition to on the run. Offensively, where the Bills lack talent at wide receiver, they make up for it at running back. Buffalo has a stable of capable runners that include LeSean McCoy, Frank Gore, T.J. Yeldon and Devin Singletary. The Bills’ defense is also about as impressive as it gets. Ed Oliver, Tremaine Edmunds, Jerry Hughes and Harrison Phillips make up a star-studded front.
Overall Prediction: 80 Overall
Anyone who doesn’t think the Dolphins are rebuilding is sorely mistaken. However, with the addition of Josh Rosen, the future looks bright for the franchise. Miami’s offense is perfect for those who like to run crossing routes online and in tournaments. After all, Albert Wilson, Kenny Stills and Jakeem Grant are about as fast as it gets as a group. And with big-bodied pass catchers like DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki, the offense could be sneaky good. On defense, the Dolphins have a shutdown corner in Xavien Howard, and a trio of solid safeties in Minkah Fitzpatrick, Reshad Jones and T.J. McDonald. The Dolphins may be one of the worst teams in Madden 20, but the future is a lot brighter now than it was a year ago.
Overall Prediction: 77 Overall
New England Patriots
The Patriots have remained at the top of the NFL for what seems like a lifetime. And as painful as it is to say, Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all-time. Furthermore, the addition of Damien Harris to an already loaded backfield consisting of Sony Michel and James White makes New England’s run game a force to be reckoned with. And let’s not forget rookie N’Keal Harry, who is the first wide receiver drafted by Bill Belichick in the first round. Adding him opposite of Julian Edelman should give Brady more than enough weapons to work with. On the defensive side of things, the Patriots are loaded with talent. Dont’a Hightower, Stephen Gilmore, Kyle Van Noy and the McCourtey brothers are just a few of Belichick’s playmakers. The 2019 Super Bowl champs have the best overall in the game.
Overall Prediction: 94 Overall
New York Jets
With the addition of new head coach/general manager Adam Gase in New York, the team looks completely different in 2019. Sam Darnold finally has a “QB whisperer” who can help elevate his game to the next level. And with superstar running back Le’Veon Bell, the Jets are already a fan favorite in this year’s installment. Plus, who can forget the plethora of weapons at receiver, which includes, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson and Jamison Crowder. Tight end Chris Herndon rounds out the receiving threats. However, what may be most impressive about New York this year is the defense. Quinnen Williams was arguably the best player in the draft. He will added to an already stacked defense consisting of C.J. Mosley, Leonard Williams, Trumaine Johnson and Jamal Adams.
Overall Prediction: 84 Overall
Surprisingly enough, the one thing John Elway has struggled to find in a post-Peyton world has been a quarterback. But after trading for Joe Flacco and drafting Drew Lock in the second round, the team appears to have a plan for the present and future (albeit both the present and future remain suspect). The running back corps, however, has the potential to be one of the best in Madden 20. Philip Lindsay broke out in 2018 and Royce Freeman is itching for his chance at more carries. Denver’s receivers are young, with big-play potential and includes the likes of Emmanuel Sanders, Cortland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton. They also drafted what might be the best tight end in Noah Fant. But what remains most impressive about the Broncos is the defense. And with an elite pass rushing tandem of Von Miller and Bradley Chubb, the Broncos should be one of the more well-rounded teams in this year’s game.
Overall Prediction: 85 Overall
Kansas City Chiefs
If you ask folks who the best team in the NFL is, they might say the Kansas City Chiefs. And with this year’s Madden 20 cover athlete Patrick Mahomes, they will be one of the most utilized teams in this year’s game. Mahomes can do it all, and his no-look passes, and ability to make plays with his rocket arm and quick feet are elite. He is a real-life video game, and he should be nearly unstoppable this season. And even if Mahomes was just average, he still would have offensive weapons like Travis Kelce, Sammy Watkins, Damien Williams, Mecole Hardman and potentially Tyreek Hill to prop him up. In short, there’s no stopping them. Defensively, the Chiefs admittedly could use some help. But with the additions of Frank Clark, Tyrann Mathieu and Bashaud Breeland this offseason, the defense is in better shape than before.
Overall Prediction: 93 Overall
Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers have been one of the better teams in the NFL for several years, and it starts at the quarterback position with Philip Rivers. Rivers remains one of the best QBs in the NFL, and with the arsenal of weapons at his fingertips, no one should be surprised. At running back, Melvin Gordon, Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson all have proven they’re more than capable of carrying the load. And with receivers Mike Williams and Keenan Allen on the outside, the Chargers offense will be hard to contain in Madden 20. Oh, and who can forget 6-foot-6 Hunter Henry? On defense, the Chargers are as good as it gets. Up front, Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram and rookie Jerry Tillery make things extremely difficult for opposing offenses. In the secondary, Casey Hayward, Derwin James and Nasir Adderley make them nearly impossible to throw against.
Overall Prediction: 89 Overall
It was unclear what Jon Gruden’s end game was in 2018. After all, he traded away Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper. But now that the dust has settled, the Raiders are arguably in a better situation. The addition of 99-overall club member Antonio Brown completely changes the look of Oakland’s offense. Furthermore, the additions of Tyrell Williams and rookie Hunter Renfrow should pay dividends for QB Derek Carr. And with Marshawn Lynch kind of retired, rookie first-round pick Josh Jacobs should be a fan favorite in this year’s game. On defense, new additions Clelin Ferrell, Johnathan Hankins and Vontaze Burfict should make things difficult in the run game.
Overall Prediction: 87 Overall