The NFL season is fast approaching, and alongside it, Madden 19 season. The Electronic Arts video game will be available in two weeks (early access on August 3rd), allowing Bills fans to play with their favorite team and even take over the “McBeane” role in Franchise Mode, where they’ll try to lead the team to a Super Bowl win and a Bills dynasty. But how does this Bills roster stack up through Madden 19’s eyes? Today, I’ll bring some info about the defense to help you through your Madden “process”.
— Sunday Night Football on NBC (@SNFonNBC) June 18, 2018
As expected, the Bills arent’t well rated overall in this year’s version of the game. Despite making the playoffs last year, the team still lacks top talent and proven players in a variety of positions, having just two players rated 90 overall or higher (LeSean McCoy and Micah Hyde) and eight in the 80’s, resulting in a poor 74 overall team rating. Tyrod Taylor’s (81 overall) and Richie Incognito’s (88 in Madden 18) departures surely don’t help on the virtual field.
Whether it’s a quick game with friends or a more robust plan in the franchise mode, one thing you’ll rely on with Madden 19’s Bills is their secondary. Mycah Hyde is the highest-rated player in the roster with a 92 grade. His partner in crime, Jordan Poyer, isn’t far behind witan an 88. Both are ball-hawk studs in this game with elite zone coverage ratings of 93 and 94, respectively. Outside, Tre’Davious White is a franchise cornerstone for years to come in the virtual gridiron, rated 88 overall with a 90 man coverage and 89 zone coverage ratings. Those three are the strength and foundation of the Bills’ defense, and their successful 2017 season is reflected in this game.
The bad news there is that Vontae Davis clearly isn’t the answer opposite White, according to Madden 19. He comes in with a 78 rating, and with his age, his numbers will only decline in the CFM (Connected Franchise Mode). He’s nothing more than a stopgap until you find a better option at the CB position. Veteran Phillip Gaines (72) has nice speed and acceleration ratings (both 93) but doesn’t offers much outside of that. Rookie Taron Johnson comes in with a poor 68 rating, and it’ll be difficult for him to develop into more than a backup level CB there, not having any particular promising rating.
The backup safeties offer different qualities. Rafael Bush is a liability in coverage (63 zone coverage), but no safety on the roster hits harder than he does (87 hit power). Rookie 5th rounder Siran Neal is a nice prospect to develop in the CFM, with 87 speed, 88 acceleration, 80 hit power, and 75 zone coverage ratings.
The linebackers group is average, led by 78 overall Lorenzo Alexander. His 86 play recognition and hit power ratings lead the group, and he’s also the only pass rushing threat there, with a 78 power moves rating. Matt Milano is the next-best-rated LB, a 76 overall with good tackle (84) and pursuit (85) numbers. He also has nice mobility with an 83 speed and 87 accelaration.
That’s good, not Tremaine Edmunds good, though. The promising rookie 1st round pick appears for the first time in the game with a 75 overall, but don’t be fooled; he’s already a beast. People who play Madden know how dominant you can be on defense controlling MLB, and Edmunds is a perfect fit for it. With 87 speed, accelaration and agility, 89 pursuit, 85 tackle and 84 block shedding and hit power, this kid in the right hands can become a star very quickly, especially since he should come in with a good development trait (still not revealed by EA sports). His overall isn’t higher because of lower awareness and play recognition ratings, which are common for young players.
Behind the top three, depth is a concern in this group, with Deon Lacey the next best LB (70 overall). Ramon Humber, the former starter and top backup in real life, is just a 68. Tanner Vallejo (66 overall, 84 speed, 88 acceleration, 84 tackling, 87 hit power) and Xavier Woodson-Luster (65 overall, 84 speed, 83 acceleration, 81 pursuit, 76 block shedding) offer some skills to be developed.
Finishing the defensive look, the revamped DL, led by an old face. Jerry Hughes (83 ovrl) is the best player there against the run (88 block shedding) and pass (87 acceleration and 83 finesse moves). His lack of total sacks in the last couple of seasons definitely hurt his numbers as a pass rusher in Madden 19. Kyle Williams (82 ovrl) is the next best DL, with 90 strength, 88 awareness and play recognition, 87 tackle, and 80 block shedding and power moves ratings. The only other guy rated 80 or higher there is newly-acquired DE Trent Murphy (81 ovrl). he comes in as the best pass rusher on the roster, with 88 accelaration and 85 power moves ratings.
In the 70’s group, Shaq Lawson (77 ovrl) has the athleticism (82 spd, 87 acc, 85 strength) and run stopping ability (84 tak, 80 block shedding) but lacks the skills as a pass rusher (74 power moves). Star Lotulelei (76 ovrl) clearly isn’t recognized as a good addition by Madden 19. He has elite strength rating at 96, good 87 hit power and 86 tackle ratings, but other than that, struggles all around, especially with an awful 68 block shedding rating, very important for run stoppers in the game. At 28 years old, he also isn’t a guy thet can be developed, since that’s an age that players actually start to decline in Madden. It’s safe to say that Star’s was a really bad contract, in Madden 19’s eyes. The good news is rookie Harrison Phillips (71 ovrl) is ready to be developed into what Lotulelei was supposed to be, with 92 strength, 81 block shedding and 80 tackle ratings being nice ones to develop him into a very good run stopper. His 81 acceleration and 77 power move ratings also offer upside as a pass rusher.
At the bottom of the group, Owa Odighizuwa (70 ovrl), like Lawson, offers great athleticism at the position (85 spd, 88 acc), and his 77 block shedding and 76 power moves ratings can be improved to the low 80’s. Defensive tackle Adolphus Washington (70 ovrl) has some nice qualities to develop, too (83 acc and tak, 82 hit power, 75 power moves). Both can offer solid depth at their respective positions.
This Madden 19 Bills defense is far from a finished product, relying too much on their trio of star defensive backs to succeed. They have young, promising players, but the DL revamp wasn’t successful through EA’s eyes, and that’s a group that will still need more work from anyone who wants to improve this roster into a championship-caliber one. Finding a true game changer with 90+ power or finesse moves at the DE position is a must to make this unit stronger. The cornerback to play opposite Tre’Davious White also isn’t on the roster and is another need to keep an eye on when playing CFM.