Shhh!! Sneaky Sleeper Team for Madden 13: Buffalo Bills
In only a few days’ time, I — like much of the gaming world — will sacrifice dozens of hours of my spare time to the newest Madden game, this year cleverly called Madden 13. In case you didn’t know yet, I’m profiling the teams I think will be surprisingly effective in online play this year, starting with the Kansas City Chiefs. For this entry, I’m going to stay in the AFC for a team I think will be pretty good in real life as well as Madden — the Buffalo Bills.
Why online players won’t use them:
The feel-good story of the first half of the past NFL season, the Bills faded quickly down the stretch to finish 6-10 after a 5-2 start. Everything that seemed to be going right for the Bills early on — balance on offense, big plays on defense — stopped happening real quick as the injuries started to pile up. Buffalo’s rating on Madden sank as precipitously as their real-life playoff chances, and the general football and video game public soured on the unluckiest franchise in sports. (We’re talking really unlucky here)
Why they’re a sneaky sleeper:
I know it seems like a long time ago, but the Bills in the first seven games of last season were thrilling to watch. They could throw long, underneath, run, catch out of the backfield; there was just so many ways the Bills could attack, which is why they were putting up 30-spots on a consistent basis. That dynamic game plan faded down the stretch, but mostly because of RB Fred Jackson’s season-ending injury and what turned out to be a pretty significant rib injury to QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. With their healthy return and some huge offseason additions on defense, the Bills should start out 2012 as a markedly improved team.
Players to abuse:
1. It’s great enough having one RB on your Madden team who can run between the tackles and catch out of the backfield, but two? A true embarrassment of riches, I tell you! The Bills have the trustworthy Fred Jackson and the stupid-fast C.J. Spiller as options at RB, two gentlemen you can run any play in the playbook with confidence. Plus, Madden highly overrated Spiller (97 acceleration and 95 speed) last year, as any franchise mode player will tell you, so it’s your duty to abuse his undeserved rating. You’ll never have to worry about subbing out your stud RB with Buffalo and its two gamebreakers.
2. Speaking of those big offseason acquisitions, there’s a good chance you’re not going to have to worry much about baby-sitting this defense when playing on the Interwebs. Success in football starts at the line, and this team’s defensive front could well be the instrument of the NFL’s demise — free agents DEs Mario Williams and Mark Anderson will help DTs Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams ruin the days of many opposing QBs, and you won’t even need to control them to make it happen. Outside of the New York Giants, no team has a more formidable D-line than the Bills on paper, but paper is definitely good enough in Madden. You should feel comfortable rushing just these four and dropping back seven into coverage in passing situations, forcing your opponent to throw into traffic while more often than not while being harassed by the Four Defensemen of the Apocalypse.
3. Uh … there’s really no third element to abuse with the Bills. Just run more screen plays with Spiller and you’ll be fine.
As with any team that had a down year, who knows whether EA Sports will punish them unjustly for suffering team-killing injuries. The Bills certainly have the weapons on offense (and to be fair, Stevie Johnson is a pretty good option at WR and Scott Chandler is nice and tall at TE; it’s just the rest of the corps stinks like dead fish) and now a horrifying defensive line, so they should be a threat to beat any team in the game. Defensive play calling should be simple with the Bills, so you can use all of that creativity when thinking of the many different ways you can run your offense.
Any thoughts on the expert circle-wagoning Buffalo Bills? Got a sleeper Madden team of your own? Comment below as always, my friends!
Tim is the copy desk leader for the Wausau Daily Herald. His Playstation Online handle is eye_dubya_pwn, if you want to inflate your friends total. Contact him at email@example.com.