9:59 am, July 28th, 2014
This weekend we got a look at the top 11 pass rushers in Madden 15 — a game designed to fix the fatal flaw of football video games: Pass rushing. Historically, getting to the quarterback (without blitzing) has been a less-than-exciting race around the outside of offensive line. This year, EA wants to change all that.
Here are some of the tweaks they’ve made to help defenses keep the ball in the backfield:
EASports.com] PRE-PLAY FIDGETS
The improvements are obvious before the ball is even snapped, as new animations replicate the pre-play behavior of an NFL line of scrimmage. Each position group has their unique set of fidget animations to prepare them for the snap of the ball.
POWER PASS RUSH
In Madden NFL 15, Players can now trigger power pass rush moves by pressing the X/Square buttons while engaged with a blocker. These moves used to be triggered by flicking the R-Stick, which sometimes felt unresponsiveness. With the new controls, players will have more control and ability to get off blocks. Use these moves with powerful linemen like J.J. Watt, Chris Long and Julius Peppers.
FINESSE PASS RUSH
Power pass rushers aren’t the only guys getting love, as finesse pass rush moves have also been improved. Players can now press the A/X buttons while engaged to trigger finesse pass rush moves from players such as Cameron Wake and Brian Orakpo.
Tomorrow, EA will begin releasing the ratings for their best defensive backs. The full schedule, below:
• July 21 – Top 13 Overall Rookies
• July 22 – Top 5 Overall QBs
• July 23 – Top 5 Overall RBs
• July 24 – Top 5 Overall WRs/Top 5 Overall TEs
• July 25 – Top 5 Overall OL Players
• July 26 – Top 5 Overall DEs
• July 27 – Top 5 Overall DTs
• July 28 – Top 5 Overall LBs
• July 29 – Top 5 Overall CBs
• July 30 – Top 5 Overall Safeties
• July 31 – Top 5 Overall Special Teams
• Aug. 1 – Top 10 Overall Players/ Full AFC and NFC North Ratings
• Aug. 2 – Full AFC and NFC South Ratings
• Aug. 3 – Full AFC and NFC East Ratings
• Aug. 4 – Full AFC and NFC West Ratings
All 54 rated players in Madden 15:
1.#1 Seattle Seahawks (91)
The defending Super Bowl champions are led by quarterback Russell Wilson, who emerges into a top-five quarterback in Madden 15. On the ground, the Seahawks will continue to ride Beast Mode. Marshawn Lynch boasts a 95 OVR rating, including beastly Trucking (99) and Stiff Arm (99) ratings. Percy Harvin's (90 OVR) cameo in the Super Bowl showed just how great he can be when healthy.
Where to start on defense? Is it with defensive linemen Brandon Mebane (91 OVR) and Michael Bennett (89 OVR)? Is it the linebacking corps that include Bobby Wagner (88 OVR) and Super BOwl MVP Malcolm Smith (80 OVR)? Nope. It's the Legion of Boom. The Seahawks' secondary consists of arguably the game's best cornerback (99 OVR Richard Sherman, free safety (95 OVR Earl Thomas III). and strong safety (93 OVR Kam Chancellor).
2.#2 Denver Broncos (90)
How can the Broncos possibly improve an offense that shattered records in 2013? Five-time MVP is back as the top-rated quarterack in Madden 15. Despite the loss of Eric Decker in free agency, the Broncos still have an embarrasment of pass-catching riches in DeMaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Julius Thomas and newly acquired Emmanuel Sanders. On the ground, the Broncos must get improvements from Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman to account for the loss of Knowshon Moreno.
After being shredded by Russell Wilson and Co. in Super Bowl XLVIII, the Broncos addressed the defensive side of the ball by bringing in veterans DeMarcus Ware (90 OVR) and Aqib Talib (90 OVR) to help shore up the pass rush and secondary respectively. In the trenches, defensive tackle Terrance Knighton (88 OVR) was dominant in Denver's run to the AFC Championship.
3.#3 San Francisco 49ers (90)
The 49ers came within a few inches of a second consecutive NFC Championship, and should be in the mix again. Quarterack Colin Kaepernick (89 OVR, 88 SPD) is one of the best weapons in all of Madden. He's supported by a strong running game led by the ageless Frank Gore (90 OVR) and steamrolling offensive linemen Joe Staley (94 OVR) and Mike Iupati (93 OVR). A full year of Vernon Davis (94 OVR), Anquan Boldin (90 OVR), Michael Crabtree (89 OVR) on the field together should help Kaepernick immensely.
Much like Seattle's secondary, San Francisco's linebacking corps is the clear-cut best in the league. Pass-rushing extraordinaire Aldon Smith (96 OVR) and the NFL's two best inside linebackers - 96 OVRs Navorro Bowman and Patrick Willis - are the envy of the entire league. However, credit has to be paid to defensive lineman Justin Smith, whose dirty work allows the Smith/Bowman/Willis trio to wreak havoc all over the field.
4.#4 New England Patriots (88)
You know what you’re getting when you select the Patriots in Madden. Tom Brady is an elite quarterback, Gronk is an elite tight end, and the Edelman/Amendola duo is reliable. The question on offense remains at RB. Stevan Ridley has been riddled with fumbles, and Shane Vereen is unproven as a starter. Rookie James White is opening eyes in camp and might be a pleasant surprise as the season progresses.
On defense, Vince Wilfork is still a monster at DT and should teach rookie Dominique Easley a thing or two. Jerod Mayo and Don’t’a Hightower are solid linebackers. The greatest improvement Patriots fans will see this season is in their secondary. Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner are huge pickups that allow you to leave them on islands and send an array of blitzes.
5.#5 Green Bay Packers (88)
The Packers have an elite offense led by one of the best gunslingers around, Aaron Rodgers. WR’s Jordy Nelson and Randal Cobb will contribute to plenty of “Discount Double Checks” this season. To top it all off, the Pack’s backfield is absolutely diesel with Eddie Lacy, James Starks and John Kuhn.
As for defense, Green Bay added sack master Julius Peppers to complement BJ Raji, AJ Hawk and Clay Matthews amongst others. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was a solid draft pick after losing Charles Woodson in the offseason.
6.#6 New Orleans Saints (86)
The Saints offense needs no introduction, as record-breaking quarterback Drew Brees will make use of a number of targets. Top-rated tight end Jimmy Graham is defying his position at this point because of his productivity. We know about most of Brees' targets (Marques Colston, Kenny Stills, Robert Meachem) but keep an eye on rookie Brandin Cooks out of Oregon State. On the ground, the Saints must replace the versatility of Darren Sproles, and will look towards their usual stable of backs (Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram, Khiry Robinson) to do just that.
On defense, both Cameron Jordan and Junior Galette broke out to the tune of 12.5 and 12 sacks respectively. In the secondary, the Saints pulled off one of the coups of the offseason when they signed three-time Pro Bowler Jairus Byrd. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better safety duo than Byrd and second-year Kenny Vaccaro, who looks like a star in his own right.
7.#7 Cincinnati Bengals (86)
The Bengals have plenty of potential this year. QB Andy Dalton has some big targets in AJ Green, Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert. Their backfield is young and exciting with Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill, a second-round pick who is expected to contribute right away.
Defense is really where the Bengals show out in Madden NFL 15. Their D-line is anchored by big Geno Atkins, while Rey Maualuga and Vontaze Burfict lead a solid linebacking corps. First-round pick Darqueze Dennard gets his shot alongside Reggie Nelson and the rest of a talented defensive backfield.
8.#8 Philadelphia Eagles (85)
With Chip Kelly at the helm for his second year, the Eagles look to improve on last year's 10-6 record and NFC East title. The Eagles lost deep threat and special teams weapon Desean Jackson to the division rival Redskins, but did add Darren Sproles. Combined with the 97 OVR Lesean McCoy, Sproles will be a nice addition to the high-octane Kelly offense. Quarterback Nick Foles is coming off a stellar 2013 season, and will look to wide receivers Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper in the passing game.
On the defensive side, the Eagles are reliant on veteran linebacker Trent Cole, who will be a monster with the new Madden NFL 15 defensive line mechanics with his 97 Finesse Move (FMV) rating. The Eagles also have 3 CBs with an 80+ OVR.
9.#9 Carolina Panthers (84)
Despite the 13-3 record and NFC South title, there are still some questions surrounding this Panthers offense. Cam Newton continues to progress, but enters 2014 without his favorite wideout target in Steve Smith. Tight end Greg Olsen is coming off a career year that saw him catch a team-high 73 passes, earning himself a top-five tight end rating in the process.The Panthers will continue to rely on a proficient ground game featuring DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, Mike Tolbert, and, of course, Newton.
Defense is where the Panthers' bread is buttered, and it starts up front with Greg Hardy (92 OVR, 15 sacks), Charles Johnson (88), and Star Lotulelei (88). Carolina's linebackers are among the best in football, with reigning Defensive Player of the Year Luke Kuechly (94 OVR) and Thomas Davis (89) leading the way.
10.#10 Indianapolis Colts (83)
The first two years of the Andrew Luck era have been everything the Colts could have hoped for. Luck has a number of targets in the passing game including Reggie Wayne (health permitting), TY Hilton, and newly acquired Hakeem Nicks, as well as tight end Coby Fleener. On the ground, the Colts must adjust to the losses of Donald Brown (free agency) and Vic Ballard (injury). The onus will fall on Trent Richardson to live up to the first-round pick the Colts spent to get him.
On defense, it starts with Robert Mathis, who led the world with 19.5 sacks in 2013. Leading tackler Jerrell Freeman returns alongside top-five cornerback Vontae Davis, but the Colts must recover from the loss of Antoine Bethea.
11.#11 Chicago Bears (84)
QB Jay Cutler (health permitting) has weapons all over the place. Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and tight end Martellus Bennett are a size advantage against anybody. On the ground, Matt Forte is a top-five running back.
On the other side of the ball, the Bears added some relentless pass-rushing in Jared Allen. MLB Jon Bostic should have a breakout season alongside veteran Lance Briggs and might even have some Bears fans forgetting about Urlacher for a little. Michael Ford and Eric Weems can be a dangerous duo on the return team as well.
12.#12 Baltimore Ravens (84)
The addition of Steve Smith gives Joe Flacco an added weapon at WR, but is that enough for the Ravens’ offense to flourish in Madden 15?
Their defense shouldn’t need to answer any such questions. John Harbaugh’s young 3-4 D looks like a problem for opposing offenses this year with Terrell Suggs, CJ Mosley, Daryl Smith and Elvis Dumervil at LB. That young secondary should also be much better with another year of experience under their belt. And don’t forget about Jacoby Jones at KR/PR!
13.#13 San Diego Chargers (83)
After a few down seasons, Philip Rivers returned to his previous form under new head coach Mike McCoy. The 92 OVR Rivers has a couple of bigtime targets in second-year wideout Keenan Allen (87 OVR) and future Hall of Famer Antonio Gates (86 OVR). Keep an eye on third-year tight end Ladarius Green, whose role began to expand late in 2013. On the ground, the Bolts have some of the league's best running back depth in Danny Woodhead (85 OVR) Ryan Mathews (84 OVR), and free agent pickup Donald Brown (80 OVR).
After finishing 29th in passing defense last year, San Diego addressed its secondary with its first-round selection, nabbing Jason Verrett out of TCU. They didn't stop there, signing former Kansas City Chief Brandon Flowers as well. The new faces in the Chargers' secondary join 94 OVR safety Eric Weddle, who has grown into a star. The Chargers hope a healthy Dwight Freeney can help improve a pass rush that mustered just 35 sacks last season.
14.#14 Kansas City Chiefs (82)
Buoyed by a 9-0 start and stability at head coach and quarterback, the Chiefs were one of the season's biggest "surprises" en route to an 11-win season. Kansas City's attack begins with 97 OVR Jamaal Charles, who is a home run threat every time he touches the ball. The Chiefs' passing game is often risk-averse, but still solid behind 89 OVR quarterback Alex Smith and 87 OVR Dwayne Bowe.
The Chiefs' pass rush is, in a word, relentless. With Justin Houston (93 OVR) and Tamba Hali (92 OVR) providing pressure off the edge, the Chiefs made life very tough for opposing quarterbacks. Equally important was the play of MLB Derrick Johnson (91 OVR) and emergence of defensive tackle Dontari Poe (87 OVR). In the secondary, Eric Berry is one of the best in the business.
15.#15 Dallas Cowboys (81)
Despite not having a winning record since the 2009 season, the Dallas Cowboys are still one of the most popular teams in both the NFL and Madden. The 'Boys will look to 11th-year quarterback Tony Romo for some veteran leadership. Romo has the help of top targets Dez Bryant and Jason Witten, as well as the rest of the Cowboys’ young receiving corp. Don't forget about fourth-year RB Demarco Murray, who is the best option out of the Cowboys’ backfield.
On defense, the Cowboys head into the 2014 season with a new look, following the departure of Demarcus Ware. You’re going to want to make use of veterans Anthony Spencer and Henry Melton on the defensive line, as well as rookie prospect Demarcus Lawrence.
16.#16 Arizona Cardinals (80)
At 10-6, the Cardinals had a better record than two of the NFC's division winners. However, it wasn't enough to secure a postseason berth. Arizona's offense is led by wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who checks in at a 93 OVR. They also made a nice pickup in the form of left tackle Jared Veldheer (88 OVR), who should help pave the way for RB starter-to-be Andre Ellington (80 OVR). After shuffling through quarterbacks in the aftermath of Kurt Warner's retirement, the Cardinals got some solid play from 83 OVR Carson Palmer, who returns for a second year in the
Defense wins in the NFC West, and the Cardinals are no exception. While Seattle (secondary), San Francisco (linebackers) and St. Louis (defensive line) are known for one dominant unit of their defense, Arizona's quality is spread throughout. Calais Campbell is among the league's elite at 96 OVR, while Daryl Washington (88 OVR) and John Abraham (85 OVR) are a solid linebacking duo. In the secondary, few cornerback duos can hang with Patrick Peterson (93 OVR) and new Cardinal Antonio Cromartie (87 OVR)
17.#17 Detroit Lions (80)
If Jay Cutler is happy about his pass-catching weapons this season, then Matthew Stafford has to be ecstatic. His new-and-improved arsenal includes rookie Eric Ebron and Brandon Pettigrew at TE to go with Megatron, Golden Tate and Ryan Broyles at WR. On the ground, Detroit’s in good shape with Reggie Bush and Joique Bell. We might need to rename Motor City to “Mismatch City.”
On defense, that tandem of Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh at DT is downright unfair.
18.#18 Miami Dolphins (79)
The Dolphins are an interesting team this year. Ryan Tannehill needs to prove himself, and has some weapons in Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline and Charles Clay. At running back, Lamar Miller needs a big year as well. The Dolphins added the versatile Knowshon Moreno to help out in all phases.
On defense, the Fins have some strong pursuit coming off the edge with ends Cameron Wake and Oliver Vernon, along with OLB’s Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler. Brent Grimes and Reshad Jones get some help in the secondary with the physical Cortland Finnegan coming aboard.
19.#19 Atlanta Falcons (79)
After coming up yards short of the Super Bowl in 2012-13, the Falcons endured a nightmarish, injury-plagued season in 2013-14. Luckily for them, their offensive firepower makes a quick turnaround very possible. Matt Ryan is still among the game's best quarterbacks at 87 OVR, and Atlanta's trio of wideouts (92 OVR Julio Jones, 89 OVR Roddy White, 81 OVR Harry Douglas) are dynamite. After allowing 44 sacks last season, Atlanta hopes rookie offensive tackle Jake Matthews helps keep Ryan upright.
The Falcons were the second-worst rushing defense in football last year, and addressed this by throwing some cash at Paul Soliai (87 OVR) and Tyson Jackson (84 OVR) in free agency. Atlanta's linebacking corps could struggle without Sean Witherspoon. In the secondary, 82 OVR Desmond Trufant will be asked to slow down the likes of Marques Colston and Vincent Jackson.
20.#20 New York Jets (78)
J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets! Any team with Michael Vick as a quarterback option and Chris Johnson at running back is an automatic contender in Madden. The issue here is that newly acquired Eric Decker is your only proven wide receiver. Jacoby Ford could be exciting but is currently buried in the depth chart.
On defense, Muhammad Wilkerson and Calvin Pace are pass-rushing threats. The Jets secondary should be solid this year assuming rookie Calvin Pryor can contribute right away.
21.#21 Pittsburgh Steelers (78)
Big Ben doesn’t get much help at WR this year with the exception of Antonio Brown, so he’ll need Heath Miller to come up big. The Steelers backfield is a dangerous mix of speed and power with Le’Veon Bell, LeGarrett Blount and Kent State rookie Dri Archer.
Their defense, led by veteran Troy Polamalu, should be solid this year with some young guys getting more reps.
22.#22 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (77)
With some new uniforms and a new, proven head coach in Lovie Smith, things are looking up in Tampa Bay. After shining in a backup role in Chicago, the Bucs hope Josh McCown (83 OVR) can bring some stability to the position ahead of the young Mike Glennon. The Bucs could have some bigtime mismatches at the skill positions thanks to Vincent Jackson (92) and first-round selection Mike Evans. The Bucs hope running back Doug Martin can replicate his 2012 form that saw him run for more than 1,4000 yards and 11 touchdowns as a rookie.
In defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (95 OVR). linebacker LaVonte David (93) and end Michael Johnson (91), the Bucs have some top-shelf talent in their front seven. They'll be looking for big-money acquisitions Alterraun Verner (87) and Dashon Goldson (81) to improve a secondary, an important task in a division with three great quarterbacks.
23.#23 St. Louis Rams (77)
Someone has to finish last, and it seems unfair that it has to be a tough Rams team. Quarterback Sam Bradford (85 OVR) is always a question mark when it comes to health, and this is a big year for him as he enters the second-to-last year of his pricy rookie contract. Second-year running back Zac Stacy was a big surprise as a rookie, rushing for nearly 1,000 yards after being selected in the fifth round. At wideout, Tavon Austin (77 OVR) is hoping to build on an uneven rookie season.
It's never fun to play the Rams, and their defensive line is a huge reason why. Robert Quinn is one of the best pass-rushers in football, and totaled a whopping 19 sacks in 2013. His opposite, Chris Long, is no slouch either at 87 OVR. James Laurinaitis (81 OVR) and Alec Ogletree (79 OVR) helped the Rams finish with the ninth-best rush defense a season ago.
24.#24 Minnesota Vikings (76)
If you enjoy having options at QB, then the Vikings are the team for you. Matt Cassel, Christian Ponder and Teddy Bridgewater are all solid options under center. Greg Jennings, Jerome Simpson and potential breakout Cordarrelle Patterson make up a talented receiving corps while Kyle Rudolph holds it down at TE. Did we forget someone on offense? Some guy named AP can carry the load All Day if the passing game isn’t working for you.
Defense is where the Vikings leave some room to be desired. They have some young talent in Sharrif Floyd and Xavier Rhodes. plus a proven leader in Chad Greenway. However, they’ll need work this season against some potent NFC North offenses.
25.#25 New York Giants (76)
Eli Manning hopes to bounce back from a disastrous 2013 season that saw him throw a league-high 27 INTs. Doing so will be dependent on how the rest of his offense comes together, as well as the health of the Giants running backs (including Madden NFL 12 cover athlete Peyton Hillis!) The key to the Giants offense in Madden 15 is getting the ball to Victor Cruz, who remains the top-rated offensive player on the team at an 87 OVR.
On defense, the Giants look a lot stronger with a couple of hyphenated names leading the pack. DE Jason Pierre-Paul and newly signed CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (who clocks a nasty 98 SPD) lead the New York defense with 87 OVR ratings. SS Anrel Rolle and CB Prince Amukamara are also noteworthy players in the Giants secondary, making the them a sleeper defense for #MaddenSeason.
26.#26 Houston Texans (76)
The Matt Schaub era has ended in Houston, and the Texans will take the field behind newly acquired Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Texans inked Fitzpatrick to a two-year deal, and he has several capable targets in Andre Johnson and second-year speedster DeAndre Hopkins. On the ground, the Texans are relying on Arian Foster to stay healthy after an injury-plauged 2013. Andre Brown will spell Foster, replacing the departed Ben Tate.
Of course, the excitement in Houston comes on the defensive side of the ball. First overall pick Jadeveon Clowney joins all-world defensive end J.J. Watt to form one of the most feared pass-rushing duos in the league. The Texans are also crossing their fingers for the return of Brian Cushing, who should help shore up last year’s 23rd-ranked rushing defense. In the secondary, Jonathan Joseph anchors an impressive pass defense that finished third in the league last season.
27.#27 Buffalo Bills (75)
Here’s something you don’t hear very often – The Bills are a very exciting team to play with in Madden! Their offense is full of weapons, but their profess will come down to the continued development of second-year quarterack EJ Manuel. Sammy Watkins is the type of playmaking WR anybody would want on their Madden squad, and Robert Woods is full of potential at the other wideout. The Buffalo backfield could be the deepest in the league in CJ Spiller, Fred Jackson and Bryce Brown.
On defense, you have a strong front line with Mario Williams, Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams. Brandon Spikes looks to have a breakout season at MLB.
28.#28 Washington Redskins (75)
Despite the 3-13 record, Washington remains one of the most popular teams in Madden thanks to third-year quarterback Robert Griffin III. RGIII is the new Michael Vick in Madden terms, boasting a league-best 91 SPD at the quarterback position (Vick still comes in at an 89 SPD.) Thankfully, Griffin is protected by elite LT Trent Williams protecting his blind side at a 95 OVR. Griffin also has a new weapon in playmaker Desean Jackson, as well as workhorse running back Alfred Morris.
Defensively, Washington is reliant on two of the best outside linebackers in the league – ROLB Brian Orakpo (92 OVR) and LOLB Ryan Kerrigan (86 OVR). With Orakpo’s 96 Power Move (PMV) and Kerrigan’s 95 PMV, you’ll want to mix in an outside blitz frequently to keep your opponents on their toes. With speed and power on both sides of the ball, Washington is poised to yet again be one of the most used teams in Madden this year.
29.#29 Cleveland Browns (75)
Let’s address the elephant in the room right away – Johnny Football potentially adds immediate excitement to this Browns offense. To make Manziel’s (or incumbent starter Brian Hoyer) life easier, the Browns added WR’s Miles Austin and Nate Burleson along with RB Ben Tate.
On defense, the Browns secondary looks like a No Fly Zone. The Dawg Pound added Donte Whitner and rookie Justin Gilbert to complement All-Pro CB “Lockdown Joe” Haden.
30.#30 Tennessee Titans (74)
The fate of the 2014 Titans will largely be determined by the health of quarterback Jake Locker, who managed just seven starts last year. Gone is former 2,000 yard rusher Chris Johnson, and the Titans hope the trio of Shonn Greene, second-round pick Bishop Sankey and pass-catching extraordinaire Dexter McCluster can exceed Johnson’s declining production. The underrated Kendall Wright (94 catches, 1079 yards) returns as Locker’s primary option alongside Nate Washington and tight end Delanie Walker.
93-rated Jurrell Casey is a force on Tennessee's defensive line. The Titans finished in the bottom third of the league with just 31 sacks, and they hope veteran Shaun Phillips (79.5 sacks with San Diego and Denver) can help remedy that. Tennessee's secondary is impressive, with Jason McCourty supported by an impressive safety duo - New England Patriots nemesis Bernard Pollard and Michael Griffin. However, the Titans must account for the loss of Pro Bowler Alterraun Verner, who signed with the Buccaneers.
31.#31 Jacksonville Jaguars (73)
Optimism is growing in Jacksonville. After a disastrous 0-8 start, the Jaguars went 4-4 in the second half and then nabbed local boy Blake Bortles with the third overall pick in the draft. Veteran Chad Henne is expected to start the season, but don’t be surprised if the Jags hand Bortles punting duties the keys at some point. Toby Gerhart steps out of an Adrian Peterson-sized shadow in Minnesota, and should be the Jags’ workhorse back this season. Underrated Cecil Shorts should be the number one option in the passing game, but keep an eye on second-round pick Marquise Lee.
The Jaguars hope that former Seahawk Chris Clemons can provide a pass-rushing spark to a defense that has long struggled to get to the quarterback. Jacksonville acquired another former Seahawk, Red Bryant, and former Steeler Ziggy Hood to boost the defensive line. Leading tackler Paul Posluszny returns to anchor the linebacking unit, while 2013 second-round pick Johnathan Cyprien is hoping to build on an impressive rookie season (104 tackles, two forced fumbles, one interception).
32.#32 Oakland Raiders (72)
Another year, another starting quarterback in Oakland. Matt Schaub brings some playoff experience from Houston to the East Bay, where he'll be asked to bring some stability to the position.Oakland could potentially have one of the AFC's better backfields in free agent signee Maurice Jones-Drew (86 OVR) and fullback Marcel Reece (92 OVR).. Schaub's top option in the passing game will likely be James Jones (84 OVR), who comes over from Green Bay after productive seasons alongside Aaron Rodgers.
Defensively, the Raiders shored up their front seven by nabbing a pair of solid defensive linemen in Justin Tuck (88 OVR) and Antonio Smith (87 OVR). Oakland's secondary will be strengthened by the return of safety Tyvon Branch (88 OVR), who missed most of last season with a broken leg. Veteran Charles Woodson (86 OVR) is getting up there in age, but still among the game's best.
33.K/P #1 Brandon Fields (96)
Moore on Fields: Fields finished second in both punting average (48.8) and net punting (42.4). He’s rewarded with Madden 15’s most powerful (98 KPW) and accurate (97 KAC) ratings among punters.
34.K/P #2 Matt Prater (95)
Moore on Prater: It was a banner year for Prater, as he kicked the longest field goal in NFL history by booting a 64-yarder against the Titans. That’s worthy of a 99 KPW rating.
35.K/P #3 Andy Lee (95)
Moore on Lee: Andy Lee often vacations in Hawaii each February mostly due to his 97 KPW and 95 KAC combo. He finished in the top five in both punt average (48.2) and net (41.7).
36.K/P #4 Robbie Gould (93)
Moore on Gould: Good as Gould. Despite kicking in awful conditions at Chicago’s Soldier Field, Gould is still among the league’s most reliable. His 96 KPW rating is well-deserved. Reliable in all types of weather.
37.K/P #5 Justin Tucker (93)
Moore on Tucker: Tucker kicked a career-long 61-yard field goal in 2013, which played a big part in his 98 KPW rating in Madden NFL 15. He tied for the NFL lead with 38 successful field goals on just 41 attempts.
38.SS #1 Kam Chancellor (93)
Moore on Chancellor: Bam Bam Kam is a big hitting machine with 97 Hit Power and 85 Tackling. Rounding out the LOB with 84 Zone Coverage, Kam uses his 84 Speed and 88 Pursuit to get involved with stopping the run game.
39.SS #2 Troy Polamalu (93)
Moore on Polamalu: Troy Polamalu has been one of Madden’s top playmakers for years, and his ratings reflect that. His combination of 88 Speed, 92 Agility, 91 Play Recognition and 85 Pursuit puts him all over the field. As you would expect, he has the skills to lay the boom when needed with 84 Hit Power, and can even make a ridiculous interception with 87 Spectacular Catch.
40.SS #3 TJ Ward (91)
Moore on Ward: New to the Broncos, TJ Ward adds some hard-nosed football to the Denver secondary. With impressive 92 Hit Power, 88 Tackle and 86 Speed, Ward hits the hole and shuts down the opponent's run game. Despite his run stopping mentality, his Coverage and Pursuit ratings aren’t too shabby at 84 and 86 respectively.
41.SS #5 Reshad Jones (89)
Moore on Jones: Former fifth-round pick Reshad Jones rounds out the top five with equally impressive ratings in Madden 15. Players love his 88 Hit Power and 86 Speed for run-stopping support, but feel comfortable when stopping the pass with his 79 Zone Coverage ability.
42.SS #4 Eric Berry (90)
Moore on Berry: Madden players love Berry's above average Speed(92) and Agility(90) at the SS position, which puts him in the center of every play. If you need him to make a Tackle (83) or a Big Hit (88), he can do it. If you need him to support with coverage (88), he can do that too.
43.FS #1 Jarius Byrd
Moore on Byrd: Byrd is the top-rated player in Madden in terms of Zone Coverage (99). His 81 Catching (best among FS) and 90 Play Rec make him the ultimate ballhawk in Madden NFL 15.
44.FS #2 Earl Thomas III
Moore on Thomas III: ET3 has almost zero weaknesses in his game: 93 SPD/93 AGI/94 Zone Coverage make him good. His 82 Man Coverage (tied for second at FS), 87 Pursuit (ranked third) and 79 TAK (tied for seventh) make him great.
45.FS #3 Devin McCourty
Moore on McCourty: The best part of former CB Devin McCourty’s game is his 90 Man Coverage (top-ranked FS by eight points), 97 Zone Coverage (ranked second), and his physical measurables (93 SPD/93AGI/95ACC).
46.FS #4 Eric Weddle
Moore on Weddle: Eric Weddle gets the job done with a position-best AWR (93), TAK (87), Play Rec (94), and Pursuit (94).
47.FS #5 Charles Woodson
Moore on Woodson: There is quite a dropoff from the top four safeties in the NFL, but Woodson is still one of the best in Madden NFL 15. His physical skills have eroded a bit (86 SPD/84AGI/86 JMP), but his football smarts and intangibles still keep him ahead of almost everyone else. His 93 AWR (tied with Weddle for position best), 75 Man Coverage, 75 CTH, and 83 Play Rec are the main reasons why.
48.CB #1 Richard Sherman (99)
Moore on Sherman: The Madden NFL 15 cover athlete is the top-ranked CB in each of the following categories: Strength (72), Catching (82), and Man Coverage (98). He's also ranked second in Zone Coverage (96), AWR (94), AGI (96), Play Rec (95), and Jumping (98). Now do you see why he is rated 99 overall?
49.CB #2 Darrelle Revis (97)
Moore on Revis: Revis has been at the top of the Madden CB rankings for years now. This year, Revis boasts 98 Man Coverage, 92 Zone Coverage, 90 Press, and 95 Play Rec.
50.CB #3 Joe Haden (95)
Moore on Haden: Haden is not blazing fast (91 SPD) but the rest of his attributes are as elite as they come at cornerback: 98 Man Coverage (tied for first), 97 AGI (tied for first), 97 ACC (tied for second), 94 Zone Coverage (tied for third), & 86 PUR (fourth).
51.CB #4 Patrick Peterson (93)
Moore on Peterson: Peterson is a triple threat as a defender, returner, and even a wide receiver on occasion. He has the top ratings at CB in these physical ratings: 98 SPD/97AGI/97ACC. He also has 94 ELUS, 94 JUKE, 97 Return, and 82 Catch that really highlight his all-around game.
52.CB #5 Vontae Davis (92)
Moore on Davis: Vontae is lockdown material in Madden NFL 15 with his combo of 95 Man Coverage, 93 SPD, 95 AGI, and 94 Jumping.
53.OLB #1 Von Miller (96)
Moore on Miller: Von has 88 SPD (tied for third), 94 ACC (tied for first), 92 TAK (tied for second), and 97 Finesse Moves (ranked first in NFL for LOLB).
54.OLB #2 Aldon Smith (96)
Moore on Miller: Aldon Smith is one of the best at rushing the passer in Madden NFL 15 with his 99 Power Moves and 97 Pursuit. It also helps to have 85 SPD and 96 ACC at 6’4”, 265 lbs.
55.OLB #3 Lavonte David (93)
Moore on Houston: Justin Houston might not be a household name outside of the Kansas City area, but he should be with 93 TAK, 97 Power Moves (ranked first for LOLB), and 93 BLK SHD (ranked first for LOLB).
56.OLB #4 Justin Houston (93)
Moore on David: Lavonte David may just be the best true 4-3 weakside linebacker in the NFL. His 88 SPD/88 AGI/90 ACC put him on par with some of the best RB’s in football, while his 98 TAK/98 PUR/96 PLAY REC are all position-bests at ROLB in Madden 15.
57.OLB #5 Robert Mathis (93)
Moore on Mathis: Mathis is all pass rush. His 98-rated Finesse Moves give him an array of quick moves to beat offensive tackles with, and he also has 88 SPD/94 ACC to rush off the edge.
58.MLB #1 Patrick Willis
Moore on Willis: Willis ranks second in SPD (90), first in STR (88), first in AWR (94), third in TAK (95), first in Hit Power (97), second in BLK SHD (89), fourth in PUR (97), & first in MAN COV (74) among middle linebackers. What can’t he do?!
59.MLB #2 Novorro Bowman
Moore on Bowman: We have both 49ers starting MLB’s tied for the best in Madden NFL 15. Bowman's not quite as physically talented as Willis, but he might be the better technician with 98 PUR, 95 BLK SHD (best among all MLB’s), 83 Power Moves, and 99 TAK (tied with Kuechly for best in NFL at MLB).
60.MLB #3 Luke Kuechly
Moore on Kuechly: Kuechly is as good as it gets, as evidenced by his 99 TAK, 99 PUR, and 99 PLAY REC. His 84 BLK SHD is really the only thing that holds him back from the 49ers linebackers.
61.MLB #4 Derrick Johnson
Moore on Johnson: Johnson has great physical tools (85 SPD/85 AGI/90 ACC) to go along with his top-level intangibles (93 AWR/94 TAK/98 PUR).
62.MLB #5 Jerod Mayo
Moore on Mayo: Mayo's versatility allows him to play both MLB and OLB. His 81 Zone Coverage ranks him eighth for MLB. H
63.DE #1 J.J. Watt
Moore on Watt: I think JJ Watt knew exactly what he was doing when he chose #99, as it was a prediction of his own Madden ratings. 99 Power Moves. 99 Overall. 98 Block Shedding. 97 Tackle. If we didn’t have a cap on it, Watt might be rated somewhere north of 105 OVR.
64.DE #2 Robert Quinn
Moore on Quinn: With 84 SPD/95 ACC (ranked first among RE’s) and 97 Power Moves (first), the Rams' Robert Quinn might just be the best player most fans have never heard of (outside of St. Louis, Missouri).
65.DE #3 Cameron Wake
Moore on Wake: Wake still terrorizes NFL quarterbacks with his 97 Finesse Moves and 95 Acceleration on a weekly basis. Take advantage of his speed rush with the new "Jump Snap" mechanics.
66.DE #4 Calais Campbell
Moore on Campbell: At 6’8” and 300 pounds, Campbell is obviously not the fastest DE in football. But he is a Pro Bowler because of his great all-around game – 88 Tackle, 94 Finesse Moves (ranked second for LE’s), and 92 Pursuit (fourth).
67.DE #5 Cameron Jordan
Moore on Jordan: Cameron Jordan had a huge breakout year with the Saints in 2013 and his 95 Power Moves (ranked second for RE’s) and 91 Pursuit (fourth) were big reasons why.
68.DE #6 Muhammed WIlkerson
Moore on Wilkerson: Wilkerson specializes against the run due to his 96 Pursuit (ranked first for LE’s), 97 Block Shedding (second), and 96 Tackling (second). He can also rush the passer with his 89 Power Moves (fifth).
69.DT #1 Ndamukong Suh
Moore on Suh: Suh comes into Madden 15 with 95 Pursuit (ranked third for DT’s), 97 Power Moves (second), and 95 Hit Power (first). He's also tied for second-strongest DT at 98, and also the most agile DT at 82.
70.DT #2 Geno Atkins
Moore on Atkins: While, Geno Atkins had a major injury that ended his 2013 season, it doesn't affect his Madden NFL 15 ratings in a big way. Geno still has top-end burst (92 ACC, ranked second for DT’s) and a position-leading 98 Power Moves rating.
71.DT #3 Gerald McCoy
Moore on McCoy: McCoy can both rush the passer (97 Power Moves, ranked second) and play the run (91 Tackle/95 Pursuit) for the promising Buccaneers defense.
72.DT #4 Kyle Williams
Moore on Williams: Kyle Williams has been getting the job done for years, and is still a top-rated DT due to his 95 Power moves (fourth), 95 Tackling (second), and 95 Awareness (first).
73.DT #5 Jurrell Casey
Moore on Casey: Casey is a DT that can do it all three downs. He can rush the passer with his 88 Power Moves, and is a huge force against the run with 95 Pursuit (third) and 94 Tackling (fifth) in Madden NFL 15.
74.OL #1 Joe Thomas (98)
Moore on Thomas: Johnny Football should love every minute of protection from Joe Thomas and his Madden-best 99 Pass Block rating.
75.OL #2 Evan Mathis (97)
Moore on Mathis: Evan Mathis is one of the best follows on Twitter, and he's also the best run blocker in Madden NFL 15 with a 99 Run Block rating.
76.OL #3 Josh Sitton (97)
Moore on Sitton: Sitton is the top-rated LG in terms of pass blocking (96), and is also solid in the running game (89 RBK/93 STR).
77.OL #4 Trent Williams (95)
Moore on Williams: How would you like a 98 Pass Block/90 Run Block ratings combo out of your Left Tackle? Sign me up for some Trent Williams. He’s only 26 years old, and is a great player to build your offense around in Connected Franchise.
78.OL #5 Joe Staley (94)
Moore on Staley: The 49ers' offensive line is stacked, and the leader of the group is Staley and his position-best 97 Run Blocking and 99 Impact Blocking. He is a tremendous athlete for a big guy with impressive SPD (ranked second for LT’s), AGI (first), and ACC (third).
79.TE #1 Jimmy Graham (97)
Moore on Graham: It doesn’t matter if he lines up at WR or TE. In Madden NFL 15, Jimmy Graham is just plain awesome. He is the top-ranked Route Runner and has the second-best hands (92 Catch) amongst all TE’s. Plus, his 85 SPD/87AGI/88 ACC (not to mention Drew Brees at QB) is an unfair combination.
80.TE #2 Rob Gronkowski (96)
Moore on Gronkowski: It’s a good thing that the Injury rating does not factor into OVR ratings in Madden; otherwise, Gronk's 73 Injury rating (tied for fifth worst for TE’s) would impact his OVR. When he's healthy, he's one of the best to ever play the position. Gronk is the strongest TE with 88 Strength, best in Trucking (88), fourth best Route Runner, and he also excels in traffic (96 CIT).
81.TE #3 Vernon Davis (94)
Moore on Davis: If you enjoy blinding speed (90) and top-ten Run Blocking ratings out of your tight end, look no further than Davis.
82.TE #4 Jason Witten (93)
Moore on Witten: Jason Witten has been Mr. Reliable for the Cowboys offense over the last decade. His 96 Awareness, 87 Route Running, and 94 Catch ratings are all best among tight ends in Madden NFL 15.
83.TE #5 Greg Olsen (88)
Moore on Olsen: Olsen is very versatile in Madden – 86 SPD and 85 Catch to go along with solid run blocking skills. Chances are he will lead the Panthers in receiving in 2014.
84.WR #1 Calvin Johnson (99)
Moore on Johnson: Just how good is Calvin Johnson? Best Hands in NFL: check (98 Catch/99 Spectacular Catch – both ranked first in NFL). Physical monster: check (95 Speed/98 Jump/99 Release). He is even a top-ten Run Blocker among wideouts.
85.WR #2 Brandon Marshall (96)
Moore on Marshall: Marshall may not be the fastest WR in football (88 SPD), but he is one of the best. He is the third strongest WR, the best WR at breaking tackles (85 Trucking), tied with Calvin for best hands (98 Catch) and is the best at catching passes in traffic (99 CIT).
86.WR #3 A.J. Green (95)
Moore on Johnson: Andre Johnson might be slowing down a bit, but is still a huge threat in Madden NFL 15 with 98 Awareness/96 Catch/94 Route Running/98 Catch in Traffic.
87.WR #4 Andre Johnson (95)
Moore on Green: With 97 Release (ranked seventh for WR), 97 Jump (sixth), and 98 Spectacular Catch (second), just throw the ball up in AJ Green’s general vicinity and he will do the rest.
88.WR #5 Dez Bryant (94)
Moore on Bryant: If Dez Bryant plays anything like he does in Madden NFL 15, Cowboys fans will be throwing up a lot of touchdown celebration "X’s." 97 AGI (ranked second for WR’s), 95 Juke Move (eighth), 96 Catch (seventh) and 98 Spectacular Catch (second) make Dez a top-five WR in Madden.
89.RB #1 Adrian Peterson
Moore on Peterson: Even in an off year, All Day Adrian Peterson is still the best in the game. 97 SPD (ranked fifth for HB), 97 AGI (fourth), 97 ACC (fourth), 95 ELUS (third), 96 Stiff Arm (fourth) and 88 STR (first) means you should hand the ball off to Peterson "All Day" long.
90.RB #2 LeSean McCoy
Moore on McCoy: McCoy's 99 Elusiveness (tied with Jamaal Charles, ranked first in NFL), 99 AGI (first), and 98 ACC (first) make Shady a very dangerous man in Madden NFL 15.
91.RB #3 Jamaal Charles
Moore on Charles: Charles is now tied with Chris Johnson as the fastest HB in Madden 15 at 98 SPD. JC is also the second-ranked pass catcher for HB’s with 85 Catch. And I can't forget to mention 99 Elusiveness (first) and 99 Ball Carrier Vision (first).
92.RB #4 Matt Forte
Moore on Forte: Forte is not the fastest or the most powerful back in the game, but there's nothing he can’t do. His 91 SPD/92 AGI/94 ACC give him nice physical measureables, and his 96 Carry (ranked second) and 84 Catch (third) make him an every-down back in Madden and in the real world.
93.RB #5 Marshawn Lynch
Moore on Lynch: Lynch aka Beast Mode boasts 99 Trucking (ranked first in NFL), 99 Stiff Arm (first), and 97 Carry ratings (first). In a nutshell, Mr. Beast Mode will run over defenders and never fumble.
94.FB #1 John Kuhn (93)
Moore on Kuhn: Kuhn is ranked first in Pass Blocking for fullbacks and third in Awareness. He is an all-around FB who can catch the ball, run the ball, and block effectively in Madden NFL 15.
95.FB #2 Mike Tolbert (92)
Moore on Tolbert: Tolbert is the goalline back in Carolina's offense, and his 90 Trucking (ranked first at FB) and 88 Carry ratings are two big reasons why.
96.FB #3 Marcel Reese (92)
Moore on Reece: Reece is the fastest FB in Madden 15 at 90 Speed. The all-purpose Raider is also the top-ranked FB in AGI and ACC as well.
97.FB #4 Anthony Sherman (90)
Moore on Sherman: If you want your fullback to create big lanes in the running game, look no further than the Chiefs' Anthony Sherman. He is the top-rated FB in both Run Blocking (88) and Impact Blocking (95).
98.FB #5 Jerome Felton (88)
Moore on Felton: Felton is a big reason why Adrian Peterson has so much room to run with his 88 Run Blocking (tied for first with Sherman).
99.QB #1 Peyton Manning (98)
Moore on Manning: Peyton’s arm strength may be trending down (86 THP), but everything else about him is still legendary. The five-time NFL MVP boasts 99 AWR (ranked first in NFL), 99 Short Accuracy (first), 96 Medium Throw Accuracy (first), 88 Deep Accuracy (fourth), and 98 Play Action (first). [
100.QB #2 Aaron Rodgers (98)
Moore on Rodgers: Some people are surprised to see Rodgers tied with Peyton at 98 OVR after an injury-plagued 2013 season. But he still maintains 80 SPD and 94 THP, which helps him overall. He's not as accurate as Peyton, however, with 92 Short/88 Medium/90 Deep (ranked first in NFL). [
101.QB #3 Drew Brees (96)
Moore on Rodgers: Brees is ranked second in Short and Medium Accuracy ratings. He falls to 81 Deep Accuracy (ranked 17th in NFL) after a rough 2013 season where he hit only 40.3% of deep passes according to Pro Football Focus. [
102.QB #4 Russell Wilson (93)
Moore on Wilson: Being 5’11” doesn’t hurt Russell Wilson one bit in the Madden NFL 15 ratings. He is the ultimate dual threat with his 86 SPD (ranked eighth in NFL for QBs), 90 AGI (seventh), 92 ACC (second), and 93 Throw Power. Don’t be afraid to throw it deep (89 Deep Accuracy, ranked third) and on the run (fifth) with Wilson as well, he can do it all. [
103.QB #5 Tom Brady (93)
Moore on Brady: Brady still has it. His 99 AWR is tied with Peyton for best in the NFL, and his 94 Short Accuracy (third), Medium Accuracy (fourth), and 93 Throw Power are all elite. There are plenty of reasons to NOT give up on Touchdown Tom quite yet. [
104.ROOKIES: Jadeveon Clowney (83)
Moore on Clowney: Clowney can be the "Marshawn Beast Mode" of the defensive side of the ball in Madden NFL 15. His 95 Hit Power and 94 Power Moves (ranked #1 of all rookies) will make him the ultimate weapon in that Texans 3-4 defense.
105.ROOKIES: Greg Robinson (83)
Moore on Robinson: His 94 RBK makes him the third-best run blocking LG in Madden NFL 15 from day one. 73 SPD/87 ACC for a Guard is just plain silly.
106.ROOKIES: Khalil Mack (81)
Moore on Mack: K-Mack can do it all: Rush the passer (90 Power Moves), stop the run (91 Pursuit/84 Block Shedding), and play in coverage (74 Zone Coverage).
107.ROOKIES: Jake Matthews (81)
Moore on Matthews: Matt Ryan has to be happy about the addition of Jake Matthews and his 90 Pass Block rating to the Falcons' offensive line.
108.ROOKIES: Sammy Watkins (80)
Moore on Watkins: 93/SPD/95 ACC/95 AGI gives Sammy a trifecta at some of the most important ratings in the game for WR. Don’t forget 88 Catch too.
109.ROOKIES: Calvin Pryor (79)
Moore on Pryor: Wham, bam. 95 Hit Power for Mr. Pryor, get ready for some Hit Sticks!
110.ROOKIES: Aaron Donald (79)
Moore on Donald: Might be the most physically impressive DL prospect since Jadeveon Clowney, a few paragraphs above. 81 SPD for DT is almost unfair (fastest in all of Madden NFL 15).
111.ROOKIES: Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix (79)
Moore on Clinton-Dix: HHCD is good at everything, great at nothing. Solid in Zone Coverage (84) and can make plays with that 74 Catch rating and 85 Speed.
112.ROOKIES: Talyor Lewan (79)
Moore on Lewan: Lewan will be a nice addition to the Titans' line with 75 SPD/85RBK/86 PBK.
113.ROOKIES: Blake Bortles (78)
Moore on Bortles: Bortles grades out as our top rookie QB in Madden NFL 15. 92 THP and 73 SPD make him a mini-Andrew Luck.
114.ROOKIES: Darqueze Denard (78)
Moore on Dennard: Don’t be afraid to call man coverage (89) and press (92) with Dennard.
115.ROOKIES: Mike Evans (78)
Moore on Evans: Just throw the ball up to Big Mike Evans and he will go get it. 93 JMP and 89 Catch (ranked #1 rookie) make him a real problem for defenses.
116.ROOKIES: Zach Martin (78)
Moore on Martin: Zack Martin is a rock solid option for the Cowboys OL. Expect him to start from Week 1 with his all-around game (84 RBK/84 PBK).