By now, you have probably read the first installment of this series where I broke down each AFC team’s roster and predicted its overall rating in Madden 20. Well, now it’s the NFC’s turn.
No one expected the Bears to become an overnight sensation as quickly as they did. But the addition of offensive mind Matt Nagy coupled with Mitchell Trubisky took the offense to new heights sooner than expected. And now with a backfield tandem that consists of David Montgomery and Tarik Cohen, this should make up one of the better 1-2 punches in football. Don’t forget about the receivers and tight ends, which consist of Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller and Trey Burton. On defense, the Bears have a devastating duo of Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks, and let’s not forget about linebackers Leonard Floyd and Roquan Smith. The secondary is no slouch either with Kyle Fuller, Prince Amukamura, Eddie Jackson and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Chicago is a force to be reckoned with in Madden 20.
Overall Prediction: 88 Overall
For years, we waited to see the Lions take the leap towards becoming NFC contenders. And to this day we are still waiting. But this year, the roster is carefully constructed to allow them to compete and be the hard-nosed football team Matt Patricia expects. Matthew Stafford remains one of the league’s better quarterbacks. And surrounded by a plethora of weapons like Kerryon Johnson, Kenny Galladay, T.J. Hockenson and Marvin Jones, this could surely be one of the more sneaky good teams in this year’s game. On defense, the Lions have built an attacking unit featuring Trey Flowers, Jarrad Davis, Darius Slay and Jalen Tabor. They may not be the best team this year, but they won’t be the worst.
Overall Prediction: 82 Overall
Green Bay Packers
No matter who the head coach of the Green Bay Packers is, as long as Aaron Rodgers is behind center, they’re in pretty good shape. But now with Matt LaFleur as head coach, a giant leap in 2019 is expected. And with a two-headed monster that features Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams, it should help alleviate some of the burden placed on Rodgers’ shoulders. Furthermore, his arsenal of weapons that he’s been surrounded with consists of superstar wide receiver Davante Adams. In addition to Adams, Rodgers has Equanimeous St. Brown, Geronimo Allison and Jimmy Graham. If you look at the Packers’ defense, there’s more playmakers than we have been accustomed to seeing over the years. Rookie defensive lineman Rashan Gary and Kingsley Keke could both make impacts rushing the passer. And a second and third tier that consists of Blake Martinez, Jaire Alexander, Darnell Savage and Josh Jackson should once again make them a fan favorite in Madden 20.
Overall Prediction: 87 Overall
Kirk Cousins‘ debut in Minnesota didn’t quite go as planned, but that doesn’t mean the weapons on both sides of the ball have vanished. Let’s not forget, the Vikings were a Super Bowl contender one year ago, and a lot of that has to do with weapons like Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen and Kyle Rudolph. Additionally, a healthy Dalvin Cook and newly drafted running back Alexander Mattison add to the offensive mix. Surprisingly, the offense isn’t Minnesota’s most dominant unit. Mike Zimmer’s defense remains one of the best in the league. And with weapons like Danielle Hunter, Everson Griffen, Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks in the front seven, it’s easy to see why. Lastly, the secondary consists of big-time players like Xavier Rhodes, Mackensie Alexander, Trae Waynes and Harrison Smith. A good defense coupled with a very good run game and weapons on the outside, the Vikings should be a favorite in this year’s installment.
Overall Prediction: 86 Overall
A few years back, the Atlanta Falcons were one of the top offenses in the NFL. And then Kyle Shanahan left and the team slowly started to deteriorate. Matt Ryan could go down as one of the more underrated quarterbacks in NFL history. His accuracy remains among the best in the game, and no one can argue the talent that surrounds him, either. Devonta Freeman should be fully healed, and if not, Ito Smith will be ready to take on a bulk of the workload. Julio Jones is still an elite player and nearly unstoppable in Madden. The other options on offense include Mohamed Sanu, Calvin Ridley and Austin Hooper. That’s a ton of weapons for any sports gamer. On defense, Vic Beasley and Takk McKinley cause nightmares for opponents. Other playmakers include Desmond Trufant, Keanu Neal and Isaiah Oliver. This is the year the Dirty Birds are back.
Overall Prediction: 86 Overall
The Carolina Panthers have not been the same team since their disappointing loss in Super Bowl 50. But as long as Cam Newton is the team’s general on the field, they’re a force to be reckoned with. Newton remains one of the league’s top dual threats, and in a game that seems to cater to that player, watch out. We also can’t discredit the potential Christian McCaffrey has to alter a game at any given time. And with weapons on the outside like D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel and Chris Hogan, there’s plenty of options on offense. There’s also an important decision that Greg Olsen must make that could open things up for Ian Thomas. Lastly, who can forget Ron Rivera’s defense — a defense that just added Brian Burns, Bruce Irvin, Dontari Poe and Shaq Thompson up front. Plus, there’s that Luke Kuechly guy to worry about. Carolina’s secondary is also finally improved with the addition of Eric Reid.
Overall Prediction: 85 Overall
New Orleans Saints
One of the Dolphins’ biggest regrets in the history of their franchise is choosing Daunte Culpepper over Drew Brees. To this day, Brees consistently proves to his peers that he is one of the truly elite quarterbacks in the league. This remains the same on the virtual gridiron. And with weapons like Alvin Kamara, Michael Thomas,and Tre’Quan Smith at his disposal, the sky is the limit. Furthermore, New Orleans continues to build towards a defense powerhouse. And with a roster littered with talent that includes Cameron Jordan, Marcus Davenport, Sheldon Rankins and Alex Anzalone up front, offenses must adjust to them. In the secondary, the Saints have playmakers Eli Apple, Marshon Lattimore, P.J. Williams and Patrick Robinson.
Overall Prediction: 89 overall
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
With a new head coach comes a new offense, and that’s exactly what the Buccaneers will have this upcoming season. Bruce Arians, the offensive genius, is now the captain of the pirate ship in Tampa Bay. His philosophies and schemes could get the most out of Jameis Winston — and hopefully he can get the most out of the struggling quarterback. Another player who struggled in 2018 that needs to take the next step is speedy running back Ronald Jones. Tampa’s other receiving threats include Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and O.J. Howard. That’s an impressive group of playmakers, all with differing skills. On the other side of the ball, the Buccaneers just lost arguably their best player in Gerald McCoy. With McCoy gone, the Buccaneers signed Ndamukong Suh and expect second-year player Vita Vea to show up. Furthermore, I’m not entirely sure how the Jason Pierre-Paul injury will impact Madden. Carl Nassib, Shaquil Barrett, Devin White and Justin Evans are just a few of the other difference makers on defense. Regardless, Tampa Bay is likely cemented in the cellar of the NFC North for the foreseeable future.
Overall Prediction: 82
The Cowboys have been up and down over the last 20 years. And by the time Madden 20 is released, franchise quarterback Dak Prescott will probably have a new contract. However, he’s not the only Dallas playmaker in dire need of a new contract. Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys’ leading rusher, and wide receiver Amari Cooper are both up for big pay days. But unless your primary focus is on franchise mode, none of that matters. So with one of the better quarterback, running back and wide receiver units, the Cowboys are in good shape — even if Jason Witten had to come out of retirement to solve their tight end issues. On defense, DeMarcus Lawrence, Robert Quinn, Leighton Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith, Chidobe Awuzie and Byron Jones make up one of the league’s top-rated defensive units. The Cowboys are sure to be a fan favorite in this year’s game.
Overall Prediction: 88
New York Giants
Let’s be honest, the Giants got a lot worse this offseason. And although they now found Eli Manning’s “successor” in Daniel Jones, the veteran will still likely be the better player in Madden. On the bright side, the Giants have one of the best running backs in Saquon Barkley. His skill set closely resembles a human highlight reel. Furthermore, the addition of Golden Tate to a receiving corps that just lost OBJ is a huge get. And with skill players like Sterling Shepard, Corey Coleman and Evan Engram, there’s still some weapons for Manning to utilize. Lastly, the defense has improved significantly this offseason with an influx of youth — Dexter Lawrence, Deandre Baker, Julian Love, Oshane Ximines and Corey Ballentine just to name a few. New York is slowly starting to rebuild the franchise while trying to compete in 2019.
Overall Prediction: 82
Losing former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles could devastate the franchise if Carson Wentz can’t stay healthy. That being said, Wentz looked like an NFL MVP before suffering a knee injury. His mobility and accuracy on the run make him one of the more dynamic quarterbacks in Madden. Furthermore, the addition of Jordan Howard from Chicago coupled with Miles Sanders in the second round, should surely solve any doubts at the running back position. At receiver, Wentz has Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, DeSean Jackson and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside to throw to. And who can forget one of the better tight-end tandems in football with Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert? On defense, Derek Barnett, Malik Jackson, Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Jalen Mills, Rodney McLeod, Ronald Darby and Sidney Jones make the Eagles one of the better overall teams on the virtual gridiron.
Overall Prediction: 88
Prior to the 2019 NFL Draft, it was assumed Washington would need to move up if their plan was to acquire Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins. However, when the dust settled, the potential franchise quarterback fell into their lap at pick 15. Haskins has a big arm and prototypical size to be a difference maker at the next level, in addition to Madden. And with guys like Derrius Guice, Samaje Perine and Bryce Love ready to take on a bulk of the workload, a transition should be near seamless for the Big Ten’s single-season passing leader. Washington’s receivers, however, are not as impressive. With names like Josh Doctson, Terry McLaurin and Paul Richardson at his disposal, Haskins will have to work some magic. However, he does have Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis to fall back on to some degree. On defense, Jonathan Allen, Ryan Anderson, Ryan Kerrigan and Montez Sweat make up one of the better front lines in football. In the secondary, Josh Norman, Fabian Moreau and Landon Collins make things difficult for opposing quarterbacks.
Overall Prediction: 85
We all know what type of drama surrounded the Cardinals all offseason long. But after naming Kliff Kingsbury as head coach earlier in the year, selecting Kyler Murray with the first-overall pick was a no brainer. And with Murray comes one of the more popular teams in Madden 20. After all, his skill set is exactly what sports gamers dream of having at their disposal. With a new sheriff in town and a playmaking quarterback behind center, David Johnson should have a much easier time running the football. And with one of the greatest of all time, Larry Fitzgerald, paired with a talented group of young wide receivers like Hakeem Butler, Andy Isabella, Christian Kirk and KeeSean Johnson, big things are expected. Lastly, the Cardinals added Terrell Suggs and Zach Allen this offseason. But the Cardinals already had a fair share of playmakers on defense, including Haason Reddick, Patrick Peterson, Budda Baker and D.J. Swearinger. Arizona has a fighter’s chance of going from worst to first, but either way the team will be greatly improved in Madden 20.
Overall Prediction: 82
Los Angeles Rams
For as potent as everyone expects Kingsbury’s offense to be, Sean McVay’s offense is already on that level. And with Jared Goff poised to take the next step, he also gets to be paired with one of the better playbooks in football. Alongside a running back named Todd Gurley, users are already overly excited for the opportunity to play with the Rams. And although Gurley’s knee remains the question off the field, in video games injuries rarely matter. In addition, let’s not forget rookie running back from Memphis, Darrell Henderson. The Rams receiving corps continues to get better with Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp all fully healthy. On defense, 99 overall Aaron Donald, alongside Michael Brockers, Dante Fowler Jr. and Clay Matthews, means the front seven is loaded with big names. In the secondary, Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib, Eric Weddle and Nickell Robey-Coleman combine to make this one of the most suffocating secondaries in football. The Rams are one of the best teams in this year’s game, and will likely be a fan favorite no matter the game type.
Overall Prediction: 89
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers managed to look decent in the wake of Jimmy Garoppolo’s injury last season. And with Garoppolo back in 2019, Kyle Shanahan’s offense is ready to take the next step this upcoming season. San Francisco has two running backs that were highly sought after the last two offseasons, Tevin Coleman and Jerick McKinnon. Let’s not forget they also have one of the best tight ends in the NFL in Greg Kittle. On the outside, Garoppolo’s targets consist of Jordan Matthews, Deebo Samuel and Marquise Goodwin. On defense, second-overall pick Nick Bosa joins a defensive line that already has playmakers DeForest Buckner, Dee Ford, Solomon Thomas and Fred Warner. In the secondary, Richard Sherman and Adrian Colbert lead a young and improving secondary into 2020 and beyond. They might not be the best team in Madden 20, but they’re definitely not the worst.
Overall Prediction 84
After locking up All-Pro quarterback Russell Wilson this offseason, the Seattle Seahawks are in much better position moving forward. Truth is, Wilson is one of the few elite players at his position, and the same holds especially true in this year’s installment. Wilson isn’t the only player on offense loaded with talent either. Seattle’s backfield consists of several capable running backs, Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny, J.D McKissic and C.J. Prosise. At receiver, second-round pick D.K. Metcalf joins a group that already has Tyler Lockett and David Moore. On defense, Pete Carroll has reconstructed the entire defense with playmakers Ziggy Ansah, Barkevious Mingo, Bobby Wagner, Shaq Griffin and Trey Flowers. In short, Seattle once again has the defense to complement the offense. And although they may not be the prettiest team on paper, they should be a fan favorite in this year’s game.
Overall Prediction: 87