Yahoo Sports is replicating the complete NFL season in “Madden” for the fifth consecutive year. Even though there have been some shady outcomes in the past, such as Nick Foles leading the Bears to the Super Bowl and Urban Meyer winning coach of the year, this method has already produced a successful champion in 2019.
Let’s get started since things only slightly deviate this time.
Divisional champions: Jets, Browns*, Colts, Cowboys, Chiefs, Packers, Buccaneers, and Cardinals
Zach Wilson apparently does possess that canine quality because the Jets finished 11-6 and won the AFC East for the first time since 2002, when Wilson was just 3 years old. The second-year pro, whose availability for Week 1 is currently in doubt due to injury, had arguably the worst season of any of the other quarterbacks selected in the first round of 2021 (more on this later), but still managed to throw for 3,183 yards and 28 touchdowns while only committing four interceptions overall.
The division winners for the remaining races appear to be perfectly conceivable aside from that. With a record of 16-1, Indianapolis was by far the most dominant club in the league, followed by Kansas City (13-4) and Dallas (14-2). (12-5).
Due to limitations, we were unable to mimic Deshaun Watson’s 11-game suspension.
The Titans, Ravens, Bills, Saints, Panthers, and Eagles are wild-card teams.
There isn’t much to tell regarding the wild card teams in the simulation, as they all finished either 11-6 or 10-7. The NFC South is the most competitive division in the league, with three playoff teams and the Falcons, who almost missed it with an 8-9 record.
Super Bowl aftereffects
No one would be surprised to see the Bengals slightly decline (they went 8-9 in the sim and missed the playoffs), but “Madden” just doesn’t like the Rams. The Rams were expected to finish 4-13, and Matthew Stafford was expected to have his worst season of his career. Even though things were a little bit better this year, Los Angeles’ 9-8 record prevented them from making the playoffs.
[Fantasy football season is here: start or join a league right away!]
Another enormous Los Angeles surprise
The “Madden” simulations may simply have a bias towards the City of Angels, so the Rams shouldn’t feel too offended. The Chargers ended 4-13, tying for the team’s fewest victories since 2015, and were widely predicted to be a dark horse Super Bowl contender.
Awarded individuals, including MVP Dak Prescott
In the sim, Prescott finished the regular season with 5,649 yards, 57 touchdowns, and a completion percentage of 72%, making it possibly the best regular season for any quarterback in NFL history. Dallas lost to the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship game in January, despite Prescott shattering single-season records for yards and touchdowns.
The Falcons didn’t make the playoffs, but if “Madden” is correct, Atlanta hit two home runs in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft. Drake London, a wide out out of USC, finished the year with 1,305 yards and 11 touchdowns, beating out Steelers wideout George Pickens for the top offensive rookie title. In contrast, Arnold Ebiketie, the 38th overall choice out of Penn State, defeated Sauce Gardner to win Defensive Rookie of the Year honors after accumulating 15.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. Desmond Ridder, a third-round pick of the Falcons, finished it all off by throwing for 5,024 yards and 36 touchdowns on a 67% completion rate, albeit he did not take home any hardware.
As for the other awards, Raiders pass rusher Maxx Crosby broke Michael Strahan and T.J. Watt’s sack record with 24.5 to win Defensive Player of the Year, and Coach of the Year Frank Reich’s Colts won the most games in the league. Rams receiver Cooper Kupp won Offensive Player of the Year after setting the single-season record for receiving yards with 2,114 (600 yards more than the simulation’s second-highest receiver, Robert Woods).
The other four quarterbacks selected in the first round of the 2021 NFL draft were able to have successful campaigns, but Wilson was the only second-year quarterback to lead his team to the playoffs. Their stat lines appeared as follows.
4,612 yards, 43 touchdowns, and 66% completion rate for Trevor Lawrence
3,778 yards, 28 touchdowns, and 60% completion rate for Trey Lance
4,108 yards, 30 touchdowns, and a 63% completion rate from Justin Fields
4,820 yards, 29 touchdowns, and 70% completion rate for Mac Jones
The Bears ended 9-8 in the NFC North under Fields, who was the only one of the four to lead his squad to a winning record. San Francisco ended 5-12, New England 8-9, and Jacksonville 7-10.
Panthers’ quarterback competition may not be won.
It’s not impossible for Baker Mayfield to have a successful season and guide the Panthers to the playoffs now that he has been formally named the starter in Carolina. Mayfield had 3,955 total yards and 31 touchdowns in the simulation, both of which would have been career highs for the former No. 1 overall choice. Strangely enough, the Steelers selected Kenny Pickett in the first round of the 2022 draft while trading up to acquire Sam Darnold. For Pittsburgh, which missed the playoffs, Darnold accumulated 4,410 yards, 27 touchdowns, and 21 interceptions in the last game.
Tough choice, Tua
The “Madden” simulation seems to leave things as hazy after the season as they are right now in what appears to be a make-or-break year for the Dolphins and Tagovailoa. Miami finished last in the AFC East with a record of 6-11, and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa passed for 3,944 yards, 21 touchdowns, and 61% accuracy. With him at the helm, the offense appears locked in mediocrity even if the yardage and touchdown totals would be the highest of his career. Prepare for a difficult decision to be made by Miami in the spring of next year if the real season goes as planned.
New places, familiar faces
Three of the more well-known players who switch teams this offseason were Davante Adams, Matt Ryan, and Carson Wentz. Of the three, Ryan was by far the most successful, both personally and as a member of the team. The former NFL MVP led the Colts to the best record in the league while passing for 4,492 yards and 41 touchdowns on 69% of his attempts. However, because Indianapolis lost to Kansas City in the AFC Championship game, Ryan would not have the opportunity to lift the 28-3 cloud that looms over his head.
Wentz and Adams’ seasons ended as follows:
4,324 yards and 31 touchdowns for Wentz. 63% of tasks were completed.
Adams has 1,513 yards and 9 touchdowns on 105 receptions.
What about the Super Bowl winner?
New Orleans and Kansas City competed in Super Bowl LVII in Glendale, Arizona, despite the Colts and Cowboys having the best records in the AFC and NFC, respectively. In the end, the Saints overcame the Chiefs 34-14 to capture their second Super Bowl championship. Tyrann Mathieu was crowned Super Bowl MVP against his previous team at the arena where the team that picked him, the Cardinals, plays, in a moment that precisely completes the cycle.
The Chiefs had been seeded in the Super Bowl by “Madden” for the fourth consecutive year.
Resignations of note, including Tom Brady
The list is below in alphabetical order: Joe Flacco, Emmanuel Sanders, Harrison Smith, Ndamukong Suh, Trent Williams, DeSean Jackson, Julio Jones, Jason Kelce, Devin McCourty, Matt Ryan, and Joe Flacco are some examples of the players.
Matt Ryan’s retirement after a 16-1 season and being eliminated in the AFC championship game sounds unexpected, but “Madden” seems to believe that he and Julio Jones, the other half of one of the most successful QB-WR combinations in NFL history, would call it quits.
From the complete retirement list, not many other names stood out. For as long as Brady is concerned, we’ll all believe it when it really occurs.
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