AFC South and NFC South Madden 15 ratings revealed, and here's my take on them
EA Sports revealed the ratings of the AFC South and NFC South today for this year's installment in the Madden franchice, Madden NFL 15. While the Colts sit atop an abysmal yet promising AFC South, the NFC South has four dogs in the race for the division. All four teams -- Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers and Saints -- have a realistic shot at winning the division or grabbing a wild card spot.
Without further ado, here are the teams' ratings and my take on them...
Let's be honest... the Colts are the only likely playoff team in the AFC South, barring injury. The Colts are sitting at an 83 Overall with $16.5M in cap space, making them an attractive option in Connected Franchise. They feature a young QB in Andrew Luck (88) who will undoubtedly be one of the best QBs in the league for a long time. The offensive side of the ball is stacked with Reggie Wayne (87), T.Y. Hilton (85), Dwayne Allen (84) and newcomer Hakeem Nicks (84), giving Luck a plethora of options. The team is led, though, by OLB Robert Mathis (93) and cornerback Vontae Davis (CB). Needless to say, the Colts are a well-rounded team that will only get better.
One good thing about being a good team that vastly underperforms is that you land a high draft pick. Adding Jadeveon Clowney (83) to a defense that includes J.J. Watt (99) and Brian Cushing (91) will wreak havoc on the offense. If you want to take over a team in Connected Franchise that has a really good defense and some good players on offense, the Texans should be your choice. Even though they're only rated 76 Overall, they have $39.7M in cap room to add pieces in free agency, and you can start fresh at QB, as Case Keenum (78) and Ryan Fitzpatrick (80) are probably not franchise QBs. This is a winnable division, and coming off of a bad year, the Texans might have a shot at it if a few things fall their way.
74 Overall. $17.1M in salary cap space. No Chris Johnson. The Tennessee Titans are stuck in that 6-10 to 9-7 space. They're not good enough to make the playoffs, but not bad enough to land a top-5 pick. That said, I don't hate them as an option in Madden 15, both in a regular game and in Connected Franchise. I think Jake Locker, despite his 75 Overall, has enough talent to be a good QB in the NFL -- if he can stay healthy. In addition to Locker's speed (83), he's got some speedy, shifty weapons and a stout left side of the offensive line. Defensively, the Titans are missing a pass rush, but have a decent secondary. This is a team that would be fun to develop.
EA Sports says it best: "Optimism is growing in Jacksonville." And why shouldn't it be? The Jags have drafted the highest-rated rookie QB in Blake Bortles (78), they've made some solid additions this offseason, and have two good WRs for Bortles to throw to in Cecil Shorts III (84) and Justin Blackmon (83). They're not quite ready to contend yet, but you have a young QB and weapons to build around. With a 73 Overall and $35.2M in cap space, I can see them getting good fast. Go work your GM magic.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints are at the top of the NFC South with an Overall of 86 and $19M in cap space. That's in part due to star players like the newly signed FS Jairus Byrd (96), QB Drew Brees (96), DE Cameron Jordan (93) and the highest paid
WR TE Jimmy Graham (97). I'm not sure Graham's new salary counts toward this cap number, though. We all know that the Saints offense is among the best. With the addition of Byrd, their defense will be great too. You have a chance to win right away with the Saints in Connected Franchise, and they'll be a popular play online.
The Panthers have an 84 Overall, $25.2M in cap space, and 89 Overall QB Cam Newton. If only he had some receivers to throw to. maybe they should have used some of that available $25 million. There's a ton of good players on the Panthers' defense -- Luke Kuechly, Greg Hardy, Thomas Davis, Charles Johnson, Star Lotulelei -- but their offense is Cam Newton, Greg Olsen, and a bunch of nobodies. The best WR is rated 80, and Kelvin Benjamin is only rated 71. Cam needs help. That said, they'll be a popular pick for online play because Cam Newton has 86 Speed, and players love to scramble.
I don't know what to make of the Atlanta Falcons. They are rated 79 Overall, seem to have a nice, balanced team with plenty of options on offense, but they always come up short. Julio Jones (92), Roddy White (89) and Harry Douglas (81) give Matt Ryan (87) a nice trio of wideouts to throw to. But do they have the defense to stop some of the powerhouse offenses in the NFC? They're in interested pick with interesting ratings.
Tamp Bay Buccaneers
Am I the only one that likes the new uniforms? Maybe, but I know I'm not the only one that likes what Tampa Bay did the offseason. Their Overall after additions like QB Josh McCown (83) and rookie WR Mike Evans (78) is now a 77 Overall. They have $15.1M in cap space and have added Verner (87) and Goldson (81) to a much improved secondary. Add in Vincent Jackson (92), Doug Martin (89), Gerald McCoy (95) and Lavonte David (93), and you have a really solid foundation on your hands. If head coach Lovie Smith can have McCown perform how he did last season, the Bucs could make a splash and a playoff run. I think this is a nice, young team to take over in Connected Franchise and build around.