Just how accurate is “Madden” really?
With “Madden NFL 18” officially hitting shelves Friday, we decided to run a simulated season in order to see how the latest installment in the long-running football simulation franchise would predict the upcoming league year will play out.
Here are 18 takeaways from Shutdown Corner’s simulated “Madden” season:
1. The Super Bowl champ was exactly who you’d expect
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that New England won the Super Bowl for the second year in a row. Tom Brady (who is on the game’s cover) threw five touchdowns en route to a 32-19 win over the Seahawks.
2. But the Patriots didn’t finish with the best regular-season record
While they lost in the Super Bowl, the Seahawks did sport the league’s best record, going 14-2 in the regular season.
3. A first-time MVP?
In addition to having the league’s best record, Seattle also had the league MVP. Russell Wilson’s 4,101 yards, 36 TDs and a record-setting 73% completion rate were more than enough to take home the honor.
4. No perfection for Patriots. Not even close
New England, a team that some believe can make a run at a perfect 19-0 record, fell short of that goal, going 12-4. The Patriots did go a perfect 6-0 in the AFC East as well as going 4-0 against NFC opponents.
5. Surprising Saints
While the Patriots’ 12-4 record was a surprise in a negative way, New Orleans’ 12-4 mark was a surprise in a positive way. The Saints won the NFC South by three games and were 7-1 (shocker) at home.
6. Fantasy players take note: “Madden” thinks Adrian Peterson has a lot left
New Orleans was bolstered by a strong performance from Adrian Peterson. The newly acquired running back rushed for 1,150 yards and 10 TDs on 289 carries – something the Saints would certainly sign up for this year.
7. “Beast Mode” still going strong
Speaking of running backs in new places, new Oakland Raider Marshawn Lynch was all about that action, boss. “Beast Mode” finished fifth in the league in rushing with 1,264 yards and surpassed the 300-carry mark (303) while adding nine TDs.
8. Todd Gurley gets out of his slump
Keeping with the rushing theme, Todd Gurley had a bounce-back year, leading the league in rushing (1,436 yards) for the playoff-bound (!) Rams.
9. Blake Bortles was … great?
In the most stunning takeaway from the simulation, Blake Bortles wasn’t just good, he was elite. The embattled Jaguars QB threw for 4,347 yards and had a 7:1 TD to INT ratio (28:4). Jacksonville didn’t make the playoffs but it did finish 9-7.
10. No one signed Colin Kaepernick
The NFL’s most famous free agent couldn’t even get a contract in the video game
11. Dak has a nice sophomore season
Dak Prescott proved to be more than just a one-hit wonder. The Cowboys QB threw for 4,123 yards, 34 TDs and 17 INTs for 9-7 Dallas.
12. Kizer leads the rookie QBs
In an attempt to replicate Prescott’s impressive rookie campaign, the trio of Mitchell Trubisky, Deshaun Watson, and DeShone Kizer played very well. Kizer was the best of the bunch, throwing for 3,630 yards, 28 TDs and 13 INTs. Kizer’s Browns also had the best record for a team starting a rookie QB (6-10). Pat Mahomes backed up Alex Smith for the majority of the season.
13. Winless Jets? Not even close
The Jets weren’t as bad as the probably will be in real life. New York finished 4-12 but did give up a league-worst 493 points. Todd Bowles was fired but replaced with Adam Gase. You read that right, because …
14. Didn’t see that one coming
… Gase was fired by Miami after the season. In addition to Bowles and Gase, the Redskins fired Jay Gruden and the Colts fired Chuck Pagano.
15. There was good reason for those virtual firings
Miami, Washington, and Indianapolis all fired their coaches because they tied for the league’s worst record: 3-13. That’s right, all three of these teams finished behind the Jets.
16. This won’t help Cousins’ free agency
Speaking of bad teams, Washington was the biggest disappointment of the “Madden” simulation. Kirk Cousins had an uncharacteristically bad year (2,844 yards, 18 TDs, 12 INT) leading an overall dismal offense. Washington did not have a single skill position player top 1,000 yards and finished 30th in points per game.
17. Andy Reid retires?
Among the myriad retirements at the end of the season were Larry Fitzgerald, James Harrison and Andy Reid.
18. A new home for Brees
While the Cardinals lost one future Hall of Famer in Fitzgerald, it picked up another by signing Drew Brees to a one-year, $22.5 million contract at the end of the season.
So there you have it, a look at EXACTLY what is going to happen in the 2017 NFL season – according to “Madden” at least.