Matt Ryan

Madden 18: Simulating the Falcons’ Season

By Michael Aprile

Every year, a new Madden game comes out. And every year, it’s fun to simulate the entire Madden season to see what kind of crazy things happen. This year, there was a lot of crazy.

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Madden Regular Season

The Falcons finished with the best record in the league (13-3) and ended up with the #1 seed in the Madden playoffs. Not too shabby, eh? What happens in the playoffs is a little wild, but we’ll get to that in just a minute.

The Falcons easily won the NFC South by a cool four games. The Saints finished second with a 9-6-1 record, the Bucs third at 5-11, and the Panthers dead last at 3-12-1. I would be pretty pleased with these results, but the Saints finishing anything other than 7-9 just doesn’t feel realistic.

The Offense

The Falcons finished with the second-best offense in the league, right behind the Patriots (of course). Atlanta averaged 34.8 PPG, even better than their historic 2016 season (33.8 PPG). Matt Ryan put up numbers on par with his MVP season: 4,615 YDS, 35 TDS, 8 INT, 70% COMP, 9 YPA.

Devonta Freeman was an absolute monster, putting up 1,511 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns, plus 352 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns. Tevin Coleman added 12 touchdowns on the ground, as well. The dynamic duo was unstoppable all season long.

The receivers all had an incredible year. Just look at this stat line:

Julio: 90 REC, 1436 YDS, 9 TD
Sanu: 81 REC, 812 YDS, 8 TD
Hooper: 73 REC, 713 YDS, 9 TD
Gabriel: 61 REC, 967 YDS, 5 TD
Saubert: 16 REC, 203 YDS, 2 TD

The pass protection was also much improved, giving up only 22 sacks compared to 37 last season. Six of those sacks were given up by Jake Matthews. Wes Schweitzer started at RG for the entire season and had an excellent year.

The Defense

What’s even more impressive is that the team’s total defense jumped all the way to 4th overall (25th last year). They allowed 22 PPG, a field goal better than the 2016 squad. That PPG would’ve been good enough for 13th last season. Some interesting stats:

Campbell: 119 tackles (led team)
Takk: 15.5 sacks (!!!)
Clayborn: 11 sacks
Jarrett: 7 sacks
Poe: 5 sacks, 12 TFL
Allen: 4 INT
Trufant: 3 INT
Alford: 3 INT

I’m not sure what happened to Vic Beasley. He only played about 400 snaps and finished with 0 sacks. This is sometimes what happens when pulling stats from a simulated universe.

For his team’s excellent season, Dan Quinn was awarded the Coach of the Year award. Ryan finished fourth in MVP voting with stupid Tom Brady winning the award this time around. Don’t worry, that’s as good as it gets for Brady in this Madden sim.

Madden Playoffs

The NFC playoffs were…weird. Take a look at how the seeding ended up:

  1. Falcons
  2. Seahawks
  3. Rams?!?!!!
  4. Bears??!!
  5. Giants
  6. Vikings

Familiarity at the top, utter chaos underneath. Just wait until you see how the AFC playoffs sorted out.

The Falcons destroyed the Rams in the Divisional Round 42-14. Ryan tossed 6 TDs and 0 INTs, three of those touchdowns going to Julio. Grady Jarrett continued his postseason legacy with 4 TFL. Ah, Super Bowl here we come.

And then it was over.

The Seahawks came to town and shut the offense down for the most part, winning 23-17. Jarrett added 3 more TFL, Trufant had a pick, and Ra’Shede freakin’ Hageman had 2.5 sacks. Ryan threw 1 TD and no INTs, but the offense just couldn’t get the ball in the end zone. Losing to Seattle in the NFC title game could absolutely be a realistic ending to a season. Then this happened.

The Seahawks marched onto the Super Bowl to face none other than…

…the Jags.

Wait…what?

THE JAGS?? THE SAME ONES LED BY BLAKE BORTLES???

Yep, the mighty Jacksonville Jaguars, fresh off of their unforeseen road defeat of the New England Patriots in the AFCCG, were in the dang thing.

The Pats losing this way, to this team, felt like poetic justice. They can have the MVP award, they can have the Madden cover, they can have 28-3. But we’ll always have the Jags playoff loss at home that one time in a random guy’s Madden sim. *laughs through tears*

The Seahawks went on to defeat the Jaguars pretty easily and then I turned off the game.

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