Madden NFL 07 Walkthrough
It's time for another entry in the longrunning Madden series! GameSpot's Walkthrough will get you up to speed on the game’s many features.
Design: Randall Montanari
Last year’s Madden focused on innovation in the passing game; this year it’s all about the running backs. Record-breaking running back Shaun Alexander leads the charge as the NFL superstar on this season’s cover. Madden 07 enhances the running game with the new lead blocking mode. Instead of controlling just the running back, now you can open holes and pancake defenders with an offensive lineman, fullback, or tight end.
This Gamespot game guide for Madden 07 compiles team and player stats, features profiles of all 32 NFL teams, and reveals offensive and defensive strategies, online tips, and the complete list of Xbox 360 achievements. Note that this guide was written based on the Xbox 360 version of the game. Some details may change based on the console that you're playing on.
- Team Stats: Check here for Madden 07 team statistics broken down by offense, defense, and overall rating.
- Team Profiles: We profile all 32 NFL teams, highlight key players, and provide some tips on getting the most out of the team’s superstars.
- Offense: This section reveals team offensive playbooks, provides tips on formations, strategies for passing and running (including the new lead blocker mode) and profiles some of the best offensive players in the game.
- Defense: Look here for defensive playbooks, strategies for all formations, and profiles of the best defenders in Madden 07.
- Online Strategies: Tips for battling opponents on the online gridiron.
- Achievements: Complete list of Xbox 360 achievements and some tips for elevating your gamerscore.
Chapter 1 - Team Stats
The following table compiles the NFL team statistics from the Play Now screen for Madden 07 teams. These statistics include a relative overall, offense, and defense rating.
|TEAM||CONFERENCE AND DIVISION||’05 RECORD||OVERALL||OFFENSE||DEFENSE|
|Arizona Cardinals||NFC West||5-11||89||90||89|
|Atlanta Falcons||NFC South||8-8||91||91||86|
|Baltimore Ravens||AFC North||6-10||89||85||95|
|Buffalo Bills||AFC East||5-11||79||80||85|
|Carolina Panthers||NFC South||11-5||95||93||92|
|Chicago Bears||NFC North||11-5||88||85||94|
|Cincinnati Bengals||AFC North||11-5||94||92||85|
|Cleveland Browns||AFC North||6-10||81||82||86|
|Dallas Cowboys||NFC East||9-7||91||91||89|
|Denver Broncos||AFC West||13-3||92||95||88|
|Detroit Lions||NFC North||5-11||77||79||78|
|Green Bay Packers||NFC North||4-12||83||88||88|
|Houston Texans||AFC South||2-14||75||82||74|
|Indianapolis Colts||AFC South||14-2||97||97||89|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||AFC South||12-4||85||87||88|
|Kansas City Chiefs||AFC West||10-6||89||96||83|
|Miami Dolphins||AFC East||9-7||90||90||87|
|Minnesota Vikings||NFC North||9-7||83||85||87|
|New England Patriots||AFC East||10-6||93||93||91|
|New Orleans Saints||NFC South||3-13||78||85||80|
|New York Giants||NFC East||11-5||88||94||80|
|New York Jets||AFC East||4-12||77||79||83|
|Oakland Raiders||AFC West||4-12||74||85||78|
|Philadelphia Eagles||NFC East||6-10||87||83||90|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||AFC North||11-5||96||92||96|
|San Diego Chargers||AFC West||9-7||89||89||97|
|San Francisco 49ers||NFC West||4-12||73||74||73|
|Seattle Seahawks||NFC West||13-3||96||97||90|
|St. Louis Rams||NFC West||6-10||86||90||78|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||NFC South||11-5||89||88||93|
|Tennessee Titans||AFC South||4-12||76||80||79|
|Washington Redskins||NFC East||10-6||88||87||89|
Chapter 2 - Team Profiles
This chapter provides in-depth analysis on your favorite National Football League teams. You’ll find key player stats and commentary on the team’s strengths and weaknesses. Note that some of the preseason player moves (T.J. Duckett from the Falcons to the Redskins and Kevan Barlow from the 49ers to the Jets) are represented in these team profiles but may not be changed in the Madden 07 online rosters as of this writing.
Madden 07 expands player statistics greatly by adding new ball carrier stats (elusiveness, spin, and juke for finesse moves and trucking and stiff arm for power moves), defender, and blocker statistics. The list below describes each statistic and how it affects the player.
- Overall (OVR) - The overall rating for the player. The higher the better!
- Speed (SPD) - How fast the player can run.
- Strength (STR) - The player’s strength, which affects his ability to break tackles.
- Agility (AGI) - The player’s agility, enhancing his ability to switch directions.
- Acceleration (ACC) - How fast a player reaches full speed. Great for sprinting through open holes in your line.
- Awareness (AWR) - A player’s ability to react and adjust. High awareness generally comes with more experience.
- Trucking (TRK) - Player’s ability to run over a defender attempting a tackle. Think of it as the offense’s hit stick.
- Elusiveness (ELU) - Likely the ability to escape tackles (or perhaps sacks). This is a key statistic for running backs, receivers, and quarterbacks.
- Ball Carrier Vision (BCV) - Ball carrying vision: ability to spot the open field. This is a key statistic for running backs.
- Stiff Arm (SFA) - Player’s ability with the stiff arm maneuver.
- Spin Move (SPM) - Player’s ability with the spin maneuver.
- Juke Move (JKM) - Player’s ability with the juke move.
- Carrying (CAR) - How well the player holds onto the football. A higher rating means the less chance of a fumble.
- Catching (CTH) - How well the player can catch. A higher rating means fewer drops.
- Jumping (JMP) - The player’s ability to jump, such as for grabbing high passes.
- Throw Power (THP) - How far a player can throw the ball.
- Throw Accuracy (THA) - How accurate a player throws.
- Tackle (TAK) - A player’s ability to tackle.
- Power Moves (PMV) - Look for high power moves in defensive linemen. Power Moves is the ability to power through the block.
- Finesse Moves (FMV) - Similar to power moves but it’s the ability to spin or swim around blocks.
- Block Shedding (BSH) - How well the player can shed a block.
- Pursuit (PRS) - Skill in finding and pursuing the ball carrier--likely laterally. For instance: a linebacker moving down the line to cut off the ball carrier.
- Man Coverage (MCV) - Skill of the defender in man coverage.
- Zone Coverage (ZCV) - Skill of the defender in zone coverage.
- Pass Block (PBK) - How well a player pass blocks.
- Run Block (RBK) - How well a player run blocks.
- Impact Blocking (IBL) - Would seem to be the blockers ability to make a leveling "impact" style block.
- Run Block Strength (RBS) - How well the player run blocks.
- Run Block Footwork (RBF) - How well the player maintains footing during a run block.
- Pass Block Strength (PBS) - How well the player pass blocks.
- Pass Block Footwork (PBF) - How well the player maintains footing during a pass block.
- Kick Power (KPW) - A kicker’s power. Higher power means longer kicks.
- Kick Accuracy (KAC) - A kicker’s accuracy.
- Return (RET) - Skill of the player as a punt or kick returner.
- Stamina (STA) - The player’s stamina level. The higher the rating, the more the player can be in the game before he becomes fatigued.
- Injury (INJ) - The likelihood of an injury. The higher the rating, the less likely a player will get injured.
- ’05 Record: 5-11 (3rd in NFC West)
- ’05 Offensive Stats: 348.4 yards per game (8th)
- ’05 Defensive Stats: 295.6 yards allowed per game (8th)
- ’05 Points Scored Per Game: 19.4 pts (17th)
- ’05 Points Allowed Per Game: 24.2 pts (26th)
The Arizona Cardinals had arguably the best off season acquisition: the talented running back Edgerrin James, highly successful member of the Indianapolis Colts’ potent offense. The Cardinals running game last season was anemic; James provides a big boost but the offensive line is still a concern.
Edgerrin James is a balanced mix of elusiveness and power (note the high elusiveness, trucking, stiff arm, and spin move ratings). Maintain a steady dose of Edgerrin James with inside and outside runs. Don’t neglect to use James’ talent as a receiver-a high 79 catch rating for a running back. Keep defenses focused on James on runs and short passes to open opportunities for the Cardinals big play wide outs.
The addition of James can further boost one of the league’s best passing attacks-the Cardinals have two of the best receivers in the game with Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald. Former league and Super Bowl MVP Kurt Warner is still a quality field general with high awareness and accuracy. The Cardinals drafted Heisman trophy winner quarterback Matt Leinart as their future star. The future may be sooner than later given Warner’s low injury rating.
Arizona Cardinals Key Players
- ’05 Record: 8-8 (3rd in NFC South)
- ’05 Offensive Stats: 326.6 yards per game (12th)
- ’05 Defensive Stats: 325 yards allowed per game (22nd)
- ’05 Points Scored Per Game: 21.9 pts (14th)
- ’05 Points Allowed Per Game: 21.3 pts (18th)
The Atlanta Falcons’ key offensive player remains the speedy Michael Vick. Although Vick still hasn’t proven himself as a consistent passer, he remains one of the most dangerous players in the game because of his speed and elusiveness (95 ball carrier vision and 97 for both spin and juke move). Along with Vick’s legs, focus your offensive game plan on shifty veteran running back Warrick Dunn and brawny tight end Alge Crumpler.
Warrick Dunn is one of the fastest running backs in the game and also a talented pass receiver. Utilize packages or motion to shift Dunn into a receiver position (HB Wideout) to take advantage of his talents. Dunn excels in outside runs that take advantage of his speed over slower defenders; don’t expect Dunn to truck or stiff arm through big linebackers. After establishing the running game, call play action passes to Alge Crumpler and if that’s not open, punish defenses with Vick’s speed and ability to avoid tacklers.
The Falcons’ are strong defensively despite allowing 325 yards a game last season. Patrick Kerney and new addition John Abraham are excellent pass rushers; Keith Brooking is one of the league’s top linebackers; and DeAngelo Hall is establishing himself as a top corner (high speed and man coverage ability though lower awareness).
Atlanta Falcons Key Players
- ’05 Record: 6-10 (3rd in AFC North)
- ’05 Offensive Stats: 293.3 yards per game (24th)
- ’05 Defensive Stats: 284.3 yards allowed per game (5th)
- ’05 Points Scored Per Game: 16.6 pts (25th)
- ’05 Points Allowed Per Game: 18.7 pts (10th)
Defense isn’t a problem for the Baltimore Ravens. Once again the Ravens are strong defensively with former Madden cover man Ray Lewis captaining the defense at middle linebacker, talented Chris McAlister at cornerback, and 99 rated strong safety Ed Reed. The Ravens were 5th in the league last year in yards allowed per game and 10th in points allowed per game. In recent seasons, its the offense that has been the weak link.
The Ravens hope the acquisition of veteran Steve McNair can finally provide some team balance. The Ravens possess several talented receivers, including McNair’s former teammate, the underrated Derrick Mason, and one of the best tight ends in the game Todd Heap. If McNair can stay healthy (traditionally an ironman, McNair has suffered several injuries the past few seasons), both Mason and Heap should have big seasons.
Running back Jamal Lewis has lost a step or two from several injuries over the past few years; however, Lewis’ 99 trucking and 98 stiff arm rating provides the power to run over oncoming tacklers (don’t expect as much from spins or jukes). Run behind strong left tackle Jonathan Ogden; use the all-pro lineman in lead blocking mode and pancake defensive lineman.
Baltimore Ravens Key Players
- ’05 Record: 5-11 (3rd in AFC East)
- ’05 Offensive Stats: 257.6 yards per game (28th)
- ’05 Defensive Stats: 343.5 yards allowed per game (29th)
- ’05 Points Scored Per Game: 16.9 pts (24th)
- ’05 Points Allowed Per Game: 22.9 pts (24th)
The Buffalo Bills remain in rebuilding mode-offensively the Bills are talented but very young and inexperienced (note the low awareness rating of the three primary offense position players). You have options at quarterback. Mobile J.P. Losman will probably be the team’s starter but veteran Kelly Holcomb can be used for higher accuracy and awareness. Former Miami Hurricane Willis McGahee is arguably the offense’s top talent. Use the stiff arm move to take advantage of McGahee’s 99 rating.
Young speedster Lee Evans assumes the number one wide receiver role vacated by longtime Buffalo Bill Eric Moulds, now with the Houston Texans. Challenge defenses deep using Lee Evans’ 96 speed. The Bills are more experienced on defense. Takeo Spikes and London Fletcher are excellent linebackers and Nate Clements is a solid strong safety. Buffalo Bills Key Players
- ’05 Record: 11-5 (2nd in NFC South)
- ’05 Offensive Stats: 309.4 yards per game (21st)
- ’05 Defensive Stats: 282.6 yards allowed per game (3rd)
- ’05 Points Scored Per Game: 24.4 pts (8th)
- ’05 Points Allowed Per Game: 16.2 pts (5th)
A swarming defense and an assortment of offensive weapons have made the Carolina Panthers a favorite to reach this season’s Super Bowl (last year the Panthers’ lost the NFC Championship game to the Seattle Seahawks). Jake Delhomme is a consistent pocket passer and the Panthers’ feature a duo of elusive running backs in DeShaun Foster and rookie DeAngelo Williams. Both are similarly rated (DeAngelo with higher elusiveness and DeShaun with higher trucking) and can be used simultaneously with clever use of packages.
The Panthers’ most potent offensive weapon is Steve Smith, one of the fastest and highly rated receivers in Madden ’07. Steve Smith is a game-changing wide receiver. Mix up playcalling and packages (shift Smith to the slot, put him in motion, use any means!) to keep defenses off guard and give Steve Smith as many opportunities as possible. Test a defense with the wide receiver screen play and watch Smith explode down the field. The Panthers’ added veteran Keyshawn Johnson; he’ll assume the role as a consistent possession receiver to complement Steve Smith’s gamebreaking speed.
The Panthers’ defensive line is one of the strongest in Madden ’07. Julius Peppers, Mike Rucker, and Kris Jenkins can create havoc for opposing quarterbacks without the need for additional blitzing defenders. But a strong defensive line can be even more potent with carefully timed blitzes, which could keep opposing offenses in long yardage situations.
Carolina Panthers Key Players
- ’05 Record: 11-5 (1st in NFC North)
- ’05 Offensive Stats: 256.3 yards per game (29th)
- ’05 Defensive Stats: 281.8 yards allowed per game (2nd)
- ’05 Points Scored Per Game: 16.3 pts (26th)
- ’05 Points Allowed Per Game: 12.6 pts (1st)
The Chicago Bears dominating defense single-handedly led the team to an NFC North division title and playoff birth. Offensively the Bears were rated 29th in yards and 26th in points; but defensively the Bears were rated 2nd in yards and 1st in points allowed. Former Florida Gator star Rex Grossman returns as the Bears’ starting quarterback; but he’s missed more games than he’s played in his short career (hence the low 67 injury rating). The Bears added vet Brian Griese to serve as Grossman’s backup (or eventual starter once the controversies begin).
Thomas Jones (last season’s real bright spot on offense) and young Cedric Benson are expected to split the duties of primary running back, though Thomas Jones offers better statistics overall. Use lead blocking mode behind perennially highly rated center Olin Kreutz. Take pressure off of Grossman with a strong rushing attack. Burn clock and maintain field position to avoid falling behind; the Bears’ lack of offensive firepower in the passing game makes comebacks a long shot. The Bears’ defense continues to be led by Pro Bowl linebacker Brian Urlacher, one of the best in the game.
Chicago Bears Key Players
- ’05 Record: 11-5 (1st in AFC North)
- ’05 Offensive Stats: 358.1 yards per game (6th)
- ’05 Defensive Stats: 338.7 yards allowed per game (28th)
- ’05 Points Scored Per Game: 26.3 pts (4th)
- ’05 Points Allowed Per Game: 21.9 pts (22nd)
The emergence (and subsequent playoff injury) of Carson Palmer was one of last season’s biggest stories. Everyone knew Carson Palmer would be an elite NFL quarterback but not many expected it this soon and this good (remember how pitiful his vision cone was in last year’s Madden?). He’s one of the top quarterbacks in Madden 07 with high throw power, accuracy, and awareness. Palmer’s top target is Chad Johnson, one of the highest rated and most elusive wide receivers in the game. T.J. Houshmandzadeh is a capable weapon if the opposing defense decides to double Chad Johnson.
Run the Bengals’ burly running back Rudi Johnson behind highly rated right tackle Willie Anderson. Rudi Johnson is more of a power back (96 trucking, 96 stiff arm) than a finesse back (only 64 elusiveness and 70 juke move). Pound the interior of the defensive line with inside runs; use run to daylight mode with Willie Anderson and open holes for Rudi Johnson. The Bengals feature a solid backup running back in Chris Perry that should be inserted in sets (perhaps in Dual HB or HB Wideout) for his pass catching and elusiveness abilities.
Cincinnati Bengals Key Players
- ’05 Record: 6-10 (4th in AFC North)
- ’05 Offensive Stats: 284.4 yards per game (26th)
- ’05 Defensive Stats: 316.8 yards per game (16th)
- ’05 Points Scored Per Game: 14.5 pts (32nd)
- ’05 Points Allowed Per Game: 18.8 pts (11th)
The Cleveland Browns had the worst scoring offense in the NFL last season: not a stat Browns’ fans hope their team repeats. But the Browns’ offense remains young and inexperienced. Charlie Frye will be a first time starter in the NFL. He’s a mobile quarterback but relatively average throw power and accuracy and poor awareness. Braylon Edwards is a young receiver coming off injury and highly touted tight end Kellen Winslow is seeing is first action in more than a season after suffering a vehicle accident prior to the ’05 campaign (Winslow’s 55 awareness speaks volumes).
Running back Reuben Droughns had his breakout season while in Denver and posted solid numbers for his first season in a Cleveland Brown uniform. He’s a bigger back and better with trucking and power moves than finesse spins and jukes. Run to daylight behind LeCharles Bentley, the Browns’ highly rated center. Two solid linebackers anchor the Browns’ defense (which wasn’t bad in ’05 ranking 11th in points allowed and 16th in yards per game allowed). Former New England Patriot Willie McGinest joins Andra Davis to provide leadership (97 awareness rating) to the young team.
Cleveland Browns Key Players
- ’05 Record: 9-7 (3rd in NFC East)
- ’05 Offensive Stats: 325.1 yards per game (13th)
- ’05 Defensive Stats: 300.9 yards allowed per game (10th)
- ’05 Points Scored Per Game: 20.3 pts (15th)
- ’05 Points Allowed Per Game: 19.3 pts (12th)
Controversial wide receiver Terrell Owens now calls Dallas his home in Madden 07. Terrell basically imploded the Philadelphia Eagles last season, but it didn’t stop Dallas owner Jerry Jones from gambling and adding the outspoken wide out to the Cowboy roster. Although a questionable team player, it’s impossible to argue against Owens’ skills as a wide receiver. He’s one of the best in the game and a threat to break open a big play every time he touches the ball.
Other stars on offense include Jason Witten, an above average pass catching tight end, and Julius Jones, the Cowboys’ starting running back and an effective blend of speed, elusiveness, and power (though not excelling in any of those specific categories). Note that the Cowboys also utilize backup Marion Barber in a third down back role to spell Jones on occasion. Run both backs behind Marco Rivera, a highly rated right guard. Strong safety Roy Williams leads an above average defense that placed in the top 12 in both yards allowed and points allowed per game.
Dallas Cowboys Key Players
- ’05 Record: 13-3 (1st in AFC West)
- ’05 Offensive Stats: 360.4 yards per game (5th)
- ’05 Defensive Stats: 312.9 yards allowed per game (15th)
- ’05 Points Scored Per Game: 24.7 pts (7th)
- ’05 Points Allowed Per Game: 16.1 pts (3rd)
The Denver Broncos capped a successful 2005 season with home field advantage in the AFC Championship game. But the Broncos were dominated by the sixth seed Pittsburgh Steelers and left wondering what could have been. In the off season, the Broncos added disgruntled wide receiver Javon Walker (hurt for all but one game of 2005) to bolster the team’s receiving squad, still led by veteran (97 awareness) Rod Smith.
The Broncos have utilized a running back by committee approach the last few seasons. With the departure of Mike Anderson to the Ravens, this season the Broncos look to combine the talents of Tatum Bell, Ron Dayne, and upstart Mike Bell (as of this writing, Mike Bell wasn’t in the official Madden 07 roster but expect him to be added to an update if he continues his fine preseason play). Tatum Bell is extremely quick but lacks awareness and high special move abilities. Champ Bailey is the Broncos’ defensive stud; he’s the highest rated cornerback in the game. Don’t hesitate to leave him in man coverage (99 rating).
Denver Broncos Key Players
- ’05 Record: 5-11 (3rd in NFC North)
- ’05 Offensive Stats: 269.9 yards per game (27th)
- ’05 Defensive Stats: 322.4 yards allowed per game (20th)
- ’05 Points Scored Per Game: 15.9 pts (28th)
- ’05 Points Allowed Per Game: 21.6 pts (21st)
Years of adding young talent through the draft has yet to pay dividends for the Detroit Lions. The franchise added a highly touted quarterback in Joey Harrington and drafted wide receivers in the first round for three years running. As the 2006 season begins, Joey Harrington now plays for Miami and one of the first round receivers may not even make the team. The Lions have been expected to contend for the NFC North titles for years now. Consistency on offense will likely be the key to a successful Lions season.
To replace Joey Harrington, the Lions added former backups Jon Kitna (from Cincinnati) and Josh McCown (from Arizona). Both are similarly rated: Kitna boasts better awareness and accuracy and McCown offers more mobility. A lot was expected of running back Kevin Jones last season but he failed to deliver. His statistics are good but not spectacular in any particular area. Roy Williams has established himself as the team’s clear number one wide receiver.
Detroit Lions Key Players
Green Bay Packers
- ’05 Record: 4-12 (4th in NFC North)
- ’05 Offensive Stats: 319.9 yards per game (18th)
- ’05 Defensive Stats: 293.1 yards allowed per game (7th)
- ’05 Points Scored Per Game: 18.6 pts (22nd)
- ’05 Points Allowed Per Game: 21.5 pts (19th)
The bottom fell out for the Green Bay Packers last season. The Brett Favre era has usually meant division titles and playoff births--not 4-12 and last place in the NFC North seasons. A series of injuries (the Packers lost three of their running backs) forced Brett Favre to try and win games with nothing but his arm, which resulted in a league high interception total. But despite almost retiring, Favre returns for another season with the hope of returning the Packers to their former glory.
If the backs can stay healthy, Green Bay’s running game should be solid. Ahman Green is still a proven starter (decent trucking ability and acceleration) and the Packers’ blockers, such as William Henderson and fullback and Tauscher and Clifton on the line can open big holes. Donald Driver is Favre’s most consistent performer at the receiver position. Use multiple tight end sets for run blocking and as options in the passing game.
Green Bay Packers Key Players
- ’05 Record: 2-14 (4th in AFC South)
- ’05 Offensive Stats: 253.3 yards per game (30th)
- ’05 Defensive Stats: 364 yards allowed per game (31st)
- ’05 Points Scored Per Game: 16.3 pts (26th)
- ’05 Points Allowed Per Game: 26.9 pts (32nd)
Five years from now it may be written that this was the year the Houston Texans passed up on one of the best football players ever in Reggie Bush. Then again, it may be written that first overall pick Mario Williams is the next Reggie White. The Texans have not been able to get over the hump and essentially regressed last season with near dead last finishes in major offensive and defensive categories--not to mention a 2-14, last place finish in the AFC South.
The Texans added longtime Buffalo Bill Eric Moulds to the receiving squad providing an additional weapon for quarterback David Carr. Domanick Davis (not Reggie Bush!) remains the Texan starter at running back (though at the time of this writing he’s injured and his season is in question: rookie Wali Lundy may replace him). Davis is an elusive back with excellent hands: utilize him out of the backfield and open up opportunities for speedy Andre Johnson.
Houston Texans Key Players
- ’05 Record: 14-2 (1st in AFC South)
- ’05 Offensive Stats: 362.4 yards per game (3rd)
- ’05 Defensive Stats: 307.1 yards allowed per game (11th)
- ’05 Points Scored Per Game: 27.4 pts (2nd)
- ’05 Points Allowed Per Game: 15.4 pts (2nd)
The 2005 Indianapolis Colts had one of the best seasons in the history of the National Football League-except for one thing: the season ended after their first playoff game, a home loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers. The Colts made a run at immortality and an undefeated season before losing games near the end of the season (after the Colts’ division title and home field advantage was wrapped up).
Although the Colts lost Edgerrin James to the Arizona Cardinals, their offense remains one of the most potent and feared in the NFL. Peyton Manning is clearly the best quarterback in the game (99 overall, 98 accuracy, 99 awareness, and 98 injury means he’s durable). Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne are arguably the best wide receiver tandem (close call with Arizona’s Fitzgerald and Boldin).
Edgerrin James will be replaced by Dominic Rhodes and rookie Joseph Addai (both are almost identically rated with Rhodes given the awareness "veteran" edge). The Colts’ have a strong offensive line for pass protection and lead blocking. Look to run left with Saturday and Glenn opening the big holes. From the "if you can’t beat them, join them" book: the Colts’ added clutch kicker Adam Vinatieri, formerly of the Super Bowl dynasty New England Patriots.
Indianapolis Colts Key Players
- ’05 Record: 12-4 (2nd in AFC South)
- ’05 Offensive Stats: 321.8 yards per game (15th)
- ’05 Defensive Stats: 290.9 yards allowed per game (6th)
- ’05 Points Scored Per Game: 22.6 pts (12th)
- ’05 Points Allowed Per Game: 16.8 pts (6th)
The 2005 Jacksonville Jaguars worked hard for their 12-4 record and playoff birth (lost in the opening round to the New England Patriots). The Jaguars seemed to win games by the narrowest of margins: was it good defense or a sluggish offense? Jimmy Smith, arguably the Jaguars best player and one of the best receivers in the league during his prime, retired in the off season leaving a young squad for the Jags’ quarterback Byron Leftwich.
Fred Taylor is the Jaguars’ starting running back but don’t hesitate to get Greg Jones, a bulky fullback into the mix (at the time of this writing, however, Greg Jones was lost for the season with an ACL tear). The Jags also have several young running backs that are worth consideration. Defensively the Jaguars are strong, especially on the line with two of the best defensive tackles in the game: Marcus Stroud and John Henderson. Safety Donovin Darius and cornerback Rashean Mathis anchor a decent secondary.
Jacksonville Jaguars Key Players
Kansas City Chiefs
- ’05 Record: 10-6 (2nd in AFC West)
- ’05 Offensive Stats: 387 yards per game (1st)
- ’05 Defensive Stats: 328.1 yards allowed per game (25th)
- ’05 Points Scored Per Game: 25.2 pts (6th)
- ’05 Points Allowed Per Game: 20.3 pts (16th)
Last season, the Kansas City Chiefs Pro Bowl running back Priest Holmes was injured paving the way for Larry Johnson to assume the starting job. And did he ever! If he had been the full time starter all year, Larry Johnson may have broken numerous single season rushing records. He boasts excellent speed and acceleration with a 98 trucking ability to break through tackles. Don’t neglect the stiff arm move! Use lead blocking mode behind powerful right guard Will Shields.
Larry Johnson isn’t the Chiefs’ only offensive weapon. Despite having a down year in catches and touchdowns, Tony Gonzalez remains one of the league’s best tight ends and one of the best rated in Madden 07. Dante Hall is one of the fastest players in Madden; the Chiefs use the lightning quick Hall primarily as a kick and punt return man (99 acceleration, 99 agility, 99 spin move, 99 juke move, 99 return-you get the point!) but also feature him as a wide receiver. Pound the ball with Larry Johnson and set up a play action pass to Dante Hall on a deep go route.
Kansas City Key Players
- ’05 Record: 9-7 (2nd in AFC East)
- ’05 Offensive Stats: 324.9 yards per game (14th)
- ’05 Defensive Stats: 317.4 yards allowed per game (18th)
- ’05 Points Scored Per Game: 19.9 pts (16th)
- ’05 Points Allowed Per Game: 19.8 pts (15th)
The Miami Dolphins upgraded their quarterback position dramatically with the addition of Daunte Culpepper. Although the former Viking quarterback is coming off a devastating injury, he’s looked solid throughout the preseason and brings a proven passer (if sometimes inconsistent) for the Dolphins’ myriad of offensive weapons.
Ricky Williams departed for the CFL (and various league suspensions) paving the way for former Auburn standout Ronnie Brown to assume fulltime duties as the Dolphins’ starting running back. Use the fast and powerful Brown in sets with highly rated fullback Fred Beasley (former 49er) for lead blocking.
Chris Chambers is one of the league’s most underrated wide outs and should see serious attention with Culpepper leading the offense. The Dolphins also utilize an excellent tight end in their passing scheme with Randy McMichael. Defensively the Dolphins are led by all-pros Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas. Both are some of the best players at their respective positions.
Miami Dolphins Key Players
- ’05 Record: 9-7 (2nd in NFC North)
- ’05 Offensive Stats: 288.3 yards per game (25th)
- ’05 Defensive Stats: 323.3 yards allowed per game (21st)
- ’05 Points Scored Per Game: 19.1 pts (19th)
- ’05 Points Allowed Per Game: 21.5 pts (19th)
The 2005 Minnesota Vikings finished the season strong after a terrible start (culminating in Daunte Culpepper’s season ending knee injury; the quarterback now plays for the Miami Dolphins). Consistent veteran Brad Johnson resembled his Super Bowl winning self while leading the team to a winning 9-7 record and second place in the NFC North.
The off season has led to even more changes. Gone are wide receiver Nate Burleson and running back Michael Bennett (along with Koren Robinson, who’s on the roster in Madden 07 but was recently cut in preseason because of off the field problems). New to the team are former Ravens running back Chester Taylor, a skilled but moderately rated tail back and Steve Hutchinson, a dominant force at right guard (he paved the way for Shaun Alexander’s record breaking season last year). Pancake defenders with Steve Hutchinson’s 98 impact blocking rated in lead blocking mode.
Minnesota Vikings Key Players
New England Patriots
- ’05 Record: 10-6 (1st in AFC East)
- ’05 Offensive Stats: 352 yards per game (7th)
- ’05 Defensive Stats: 330.2 yards allowed per game (26th)
- ’05 Points Scored Per Game: 23.7 pts (10th)
- ’05 Points Allowed Per Game: 21.1 pts (17th)
The New England Patriots seem to battle injuries all season (last season the Patriots lost key defenders as well as Corey Dillon for significant time) but still manage to remain in the Super Bowl hunt. In 2005, the Patriots still won the NFC East and won an opening round playoff game against Jacksonville. Tom Brady is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and in Madden 07: excellent accuracy and near perfect awareness.
Corey Dillon is a solid power back with 93 trucking and 98 stiff arm. The Patriots drafted Laurence Maroney as their lead back of the future. Deion Branch is a former Super Bowl MVP but a current holdout. As of this writing, it doesn’t appear he’ll be starting the season in a Patriots uniform.
Despite allowing 330 yards per game (26th in the NFL), the New England defense is strong because the injuries have healed and defensive stars like Rodney Harrison are back on the field. The Patriots have their own defensive playbook which unique defenses such as the Nickel 1-5-5, which features one defensive lineman, five linebackers, and five defensive backs.
New England Patriots Key Players
New Orleans Saints
- ’05 Record: 3-13 (4th in NFC South)
- ’05 Offensive Stats: 314.4 yards per game (20th)
- ’05 Defensive Stats: 312.1 yards allowed per game (14th)
- ’05 Points Scored Per Game: 14.7 pts (31st)
- ’05 Points Allowed Per Game: 24.9 pts (28th)
Perhaps the New Orleans Saints will have the Houston Texans’ management to thank for their future success: that could be the case if number two overall draft pick Reggie Bush flourishes as expected. Reggie Bush is one of the most dynamic players to enter the NFL in some time. In Madden 07, Reggie Bush boasts spectacular ratings for a rookie (the only knock is awareness naturally). Bush is one of the fastest in the game, 98 in both acceleration and agility, and 99 in elusiveness and juke move.
Consider using Saints’ running back Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush simultaneously. Bush’s versatility (86 catch rating) allows you to move him around the field in a wide out or slot position to take advantage of his skills as a wide receiver. He’s a potent weapon that must be utilized to be successful with the Saints. Drew Brees, former quarterback of the San Diego Chargers, was added to provide consistency at the position. He’s a former comeback player of the year and should return wide receiver Joe Horn to downfield threat status.
New Orleans Key Players
New York Giants
- ’05 Record: 11-5 (1st in NFC East)
- ’05 Offensive Stats: 361.7 yards per game (4th)
- ’05 Defensive Stats: 327.5 yards allowed per game (24th)
- ’05 Points Scored Per Game: 26.4 pts (3rd)
- ’05 Points Allowed Per Game: 19.6 pts (14th)
The era of the second Manning began in full force last season. Eli Manning, brother of Peyton Manning, had a fantastic second season and elevated the Giants to a NFC East division title and playoff birth. Running back Tiki Barber is one of the best all-around backs in the game: use Barber’s skills as a receiver (84 catch rating) and get him in the open field to take advantage of his speed, elusiveness, and special moves.
Tight end Jeremy Shockey is Manning’s best weapon in the passing game. He’s one of the highest rated tight ends in Madden 07. Don’t hesitate to move him into a wide out position to open new routes for Shockey. On defense, Michael Strahan is a top rated defensive lineman. The Giants also added former Redskin LaVar Arrington to improve the linebacker squad.
New York Giants Key Players
New York Jets
- ’05 Record: 4-12 (4th in AFC East)
- ’05 Offensive Stats: 248.1 yards per game (31st)
- ’05 Defensive Stats: 308.8 yards allowed per game (12th)
- ’05 Points Scored Per Game: 15 pts (29th)
- ’05 Points Allowed Per Game: 22.2 pts (23rd)
After a promising 2004, the New York Jets struggled mightily in 2005. Running back Curtis Martin, one of the best in the NFL in 2004, battled injuries throughout 2005 and may not even play in the 2006 season. During preseason, the Jets traded for 49er running back Kevan Barlow to be their new top guy. Barlow isn’t featured on the Jets in Madden 07’s default rosters but should be included in a roster update once you connect to the EA servers. The Jets drafted left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson to provide running room and pass blocking: use Ferguson’s 96 impact blocking skill to pancake defenders in run to daylight mode.
Jets’ quarterback Chad Pennington has shown promise in the past but has fought shoulder injuries the last few seasons (45 injury rating in Madden 07). Pennington is accurate but lacks throw power for a consistent deep ball. Lavernaeus Coles is the Jets top wide receiver. Utilize his 98 speed on crossing routes against man coverage.
New York Jets Key Players
- ’05 Record: 4-12 (4th in AFC West)
- ’05 Offensive Stats: 309.4 yards per game (21st)
- ’05 Defensive Stats: 330.8 yards allowed per game (27th)
- ’05 Points Scored Per Game: 18.1 pts (23rd)
- ’05 Points Allowed Per Game: 23.9 pts (25th)
The addition of elite wide receiver Randy Moss didn’t help the Oakland Raiders in 2005: the Raiders finished 4-12 and last in the AFC West division and Moss missed a number of games with a nagging injury. The Raiders hope to improve their deep threat with former New Orleans Saints quarterback Aaron Brooks. He has the throw power (94 rating) and mobility (72 speed) but relatively poor accuracy and awareness for a starter. But to be successful, you must get Randy Moss the ball. The receiver has game-changing speed, special moves, and jump ability.
LaMont Jordan (former Jets backup) made an excellent debut with the Raiders last season and provided a punch to their running back position. Jordan is a good all-around back but doesn’t excel in any particular area (decent trucking and average elusiveness). The Raiders drafted much heralded Robert Gallery a few seasons back to anchor the offensive line at left tackle. He hasn’t dominated as expected but is a solid performer and a choice to open holes in lead blocking mode.
Oakland Raiders Key Players
- ’05 Record: 6-10 (4th in NFC East)
- ’05 Offensive Stats: 319.3 yards per game (19th)
- ’05 Defensive Stats: 325.4 yards allowed per game (23rd)
- ’05 Points Scored Per Game: 19.4 pts (17th)
- ’05 Points Allowed Per Game: 24.3 pts (27th)
Terrell Owens imploded the Philadelphia Eagles. Last year was a disaster for the team. After a decent start, wide receiver Terrell Owens outspoken criticism of the team began to take its toll and he was eventually suspended for the remainder of the season. Soon after Pro Bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb was injured and also lost for the rest of the season. Did we mention running back Brian Westbrook was also lost to injury? The Eagles had a rough 2005 but hope to bounce back without Terrell Owens in 2006.
Donovan McNabb (former Madden cover man) is one of the game’s best quarterbacks: excellent mobility and throw power, though a tad low in accuracy and awareness. Use running back Brian Westbrook in the passing game to take advantage of his speed, acceleration, catch ability (86 catch rating) and elusive special moves. Use lead blocking mode behind big left tackle William Thomas or outside in pitch and sweep plays. The Eagles have several defensive stars, including Jevon Kearse (the "freak") on the line, Jeremiah Trotter at linebacker, and Brian Dawkins at free safety, one of the highest rated defensive backs in the game.
Philadelphia Eagles Key Players
- ’05 Record: 11-5 (2nd in AFC North)
- ’05 Offensive Stats: 321.8 yards per game (15th)
- ’05 Defensive Stats: 284 yards allowed per game (4th)
- ’05 Points Scored Per Game: 24.3 pts (9th)
- ’05 Points Allowed Per Game: 16.1 pts (3rd)
With all the hype surrounding the Indianapolis Colts’ potential undefeated season and the emergence of Carson Palmer, most prognosticators ignored the steady and eventual AFC and Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers. Sneaking into the playoffs as the lowest rated seed, the Steelers romped through three straight road games to make the big game in Detroit (and then wiped out the Seattle Seahawks for the title).
Big Ben Roethlisberger, a phenomenal record so far as the Steelers’ starting quarterback was injured during the off season in a motorcycle accident but has made a full recovery and played well in the preseason. In Madden 07, he possesses decent mobility and solid passer numbers. Fast Willie Parker exploded onto the scene last year and now assumes duty as the Steelers’ starting running back. Use his excellent speed behind talented and highly rated left guard Alan Faneca.
With consistent veteran Hines Ward at wide receiver and an excellent defensive cast that includes Casey Hampton at defensive tackle, Joey Porter at linebacker, and the gamebreaker skills of Troy Polamalu at strong safety, the Steelers look to repeat their success in 2006. Unfortunately for the Steelers, they won’t be overlooked this time.
Pittsburgh Steelers Key Players
San Diego Chargers
- ’05 Record: 9-7 (3rd in AFC West)
- ’05 Offensive Stats: 349.9 yards per game (10th)
- ’05 Defensive Stats: 309.3 yards allowed per game (13th)
- ’05 Points Scored Per Game: 26.1 pts (5th)
- ’05 Points Allowed Per Game: 19.5 pts (13th)
The Philip Rivers era begins in San Diego. During the off season, the San Diego Chargers let Drew Brees go (he now leads the New Orleans Saints) and are now depending on former first round draft pick Philip Rivers to lead the team back into the playoffs. Fortunately, the Chargers won’t have to lean on Rivers’ arm for success: just give the ball to LaDainian Tomlinson, one of the best running backs in Madden 07.
LT’s all-around ratings are impressive: top speed, acceleration, agility, trucking, and special moves. Also, an 85 catch rating makes LT extremely valuable in the passing game. Run LT in two back sets to take advantage of the top rated fullback in the game, Lorenzo Neal. Use Lorenzo in lead blocking mode to punch open holes for LT.
The Chargers’ strong running game should open opportunities for the best tight end available in Madden 07: Antonio Gates. You’ll find Gates to be the most dominating force in the Chargers’ passing game. Offensively you should concentrate playcalling on sets featuring the tight end. Utilize packages and motion to move Gates around the field to open new routes. On defense the Chargers and decent (top 13 in major categories last season) with two solid linebackers, Merriman and Edwards.
San Diego Chargers Key Players
San Francisco 49ers
- ’05 Record: 4-12 (4th in NFC West)
- ’05 Offensive Stats: 224.2 yards per game (32nd)
- ’05 Defensive Stats: 391.2 yards allowed per game (32nd)
- ’05 Points Scored Per Game: 14.9 pts (30th)
- ’05 Points Allowed Per Game: 26.8 pts (30th)
The 49ers are slowly developing a nucleus of young talent but will it return the franchise to the glory days of Montana and Rice? The Niners finished almost dead last in offensive and defensive statistics last season: both yards per game and yards allowed per game were the league worst. Inexperienced quarterback Alex Smith is still learning and needs to show improvement. In Madden 07, Alex Smith has good mobility but weak passer and awareness ratings.
During the preseason, the Niners traded Kevan Barlow to the Jets (which should be reflected in Madden 07 roster updates) leaving former Miami Hurricane Frank Gore as the team’s featured running back. Gore isn’t explosive but does provide decent trucking and stiff arm ability to break through tackles. Run behind long time Cowboy guard Larry Allen. Speedy tight end Vernon Davis was the Niners first round draft pick and could become one of the featured players in the Niners meager passing game.
San Francisco 49ers Key Players
- ’05 Record: 13-3 (1st in NFC West)
- ’05 Offensive Stats: 369.7 yards per game (2nd)
- ’05 Defensive Stats: 316.8 yards allowed per game (16th)
- ’05 Points Scored Per Game: 28.3 pts (1st)
- ’05 Points Allowed Per Game: 16.9 pts (7th)
The Seattle Seahawks were in the unenviable position of being 2005’s Super Bowl runner-up. The Seahawks had a fantastic season led by record-breaking running back Shaun Alexander (he set the single-season touchdown record) and excellent play from quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. A soft division should mean a return to the division title and the playoffs, though the Seahawks expectations are nothing less than a return trip to the big game and a win to complete their season.
Shaun Alexander is your featured player on offense--obviously since he’s the Madden 07 cover man! Alexander boasts awesome acceleration, awareness, and trucking ability. He’s elusive and powerful, capable of breaking a long run while still knocking over several defenders along the way. Fullback Mack Strong is one of the best in the game; use lead blocking behind this excellent blocker as well as left tackle Walter Jones, one of the highest rated linemen in the game (99 overall, 97 run block, 97 impact block).
Darrell Jackson remains one of the league’s better wide receivers. The Seahawks added former Viking Nate Burleson to line up opposite Jackson. The Seahawks also improved their defense with the addition of former 49er Julian Peterson, a highly rated right outside linebacker.
Seattle Seahawks Key Players
St. Louis Rams
- ’05 Record: 6-10 (2nd in NFC West)
- ’05 Offensive Stats: 348.2 yards per game (9th)
- ’05 Defensive Stats: 350.1 yards allowed per game (30th)
- ’05 Points Scored Per Game: 22.7 pts (11th)
- ’05 Points Allowed Per Game: 26.8 pts (30th)
Injuries to Marc Bulger and Issac Bruce derailed the 2005 season. The Rams finished just 6-10, which was still good enough for second place in the soft NFC West. To challenge the division champion Seahawks, the Rams must stay healthy and improve on defense, which placed 30th in both yards allowed per game and points allowed per game.
Offensively the Rams remain strong if key players can remain healthy. Marc Bulger is an accurate pocket passer and wide outs Torry Holt and Issac Bruce remain one of the game’s best receiving combinations. Torry Holt has explosive speed, best used to stretch defenses and veteran Issac Bruce is slower but remains a solid possession target, especially against defenses that may focus too heavily on Holt’s deep threat.
Steven Jackson is a young, promising tailback with bruising power (89 trucking). Utilize lead blocking behind one of the game’s best left tackles in Orlando Pace. The Rams improved their defensive line with the addition of La’Roi Glover, which should further increase opportunities for pass rusher Leonard Little.
St Louis Rams Key Players
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- ’05 Record: 11-5 (1st in NFC South)
- ’05 Offensive Stats: 294.8 yards per game (23rd)
- ’05 Defensive Stats: 277.8 yards allowed per game (1st)
- ’05 Points Scored Per Game: 18.8 pts (20th)
- ’05 Points Allowed Per Game: 17.1 pts (8th)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers surprised some with a strong 2005 season and division title in the NFC South. Although last year’s starter Brian Griese was injured and later traded to the Chicago Bears, young Chris Simms has shown promise. He’s a young quarterback and rated accordingly (low awareness). Second year running back Carnell "Cadillac" Williams offers a shifty mix of elusiveness and power (and 96 acceleration). The Buccaneers can also feature brawny fullback Mike Alstott in their rushing attack. Use speedster Joey Galloway to stretch defenses.
The Buccaneers remain one of the league’s best defenses (number one last year in years allowed per game). Tampa Bay features three of the best defenders in the game: Simeon Rice at left end, Derrick Brooks at right outside linebacker, and Ronde Barber at cornerback.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Key Players
- ’05 Record: 4-12 (3rd in AFC South)
- ’05 Offensive Stats: 320.1 yards per game (17th)
- ’05 Defensive Stats: 319.4 yards allowed per game (19th)
- ’05 Points Scored Per Game: 18.7 pts (21st)
- ’05 Points Allowed Per Game: 26.3 pts (29th)
The Tennessee Titans made big strides toward the youth movement in the 2006 NFL Draft. The Titans selected both a quarterback (Vince Young of the NCAA Champion Texas Longhorns) and a running back (LenDale White, also known as Reggie Bush’s teammate). Both should be future stars in the NFL and may see playing time during this season.
Vince Young may not start the season as the Titans’ quarterback (expect Billy Volek to get the nod or, as of this writing, newly signed Kerry Collins) but his Madden 07 speed makes him a powerful weapon even if his awareness is that of an inexperienced rookie. Use Young’s speed (rated 89) to frustrate defenses into trying to spy on Young while maintaining coverage on the Titans’ downfield receivers (look for the Titans’ skilled tight end squad as outlets for Young).
Mix in last year’s starter Chris Brown and rookie LenDale White in the backfield (the Titans also have former Bills star Travis Henry on the running back roster). Lead block behind all-pro left tackle Kevin Mawae.
Tennessee Titans Key Players
- ’05 Record: 10-6 (2nd in NFC East)
- ’05 Offensive Stats: 330.6 yards per game (11th)
- ’05 Defensive Stats: 297.9 yards allowed per game (9th)
- ’05 Points Scored Per Game: 22.4 pts (13th)
- ’05 Points Allowed Per Game: 18.3 pts (9th)
Redskin owner Dan Snyder continues to build his team through free agency and trades. In the off season as well as the preseason, the Redskins added former Steeler Randel El and former 49er Brandon Lloyd to bolster a receiving group led by extremely fast Santana Moss (no power, hence the low stiff arm move, but electrifying elusiveness, spin, and juke moves). The Redskins also added a little insurance for their star running back Clinton Portis by trading with the Atlanta Falcons for big running back T.J. Duckett (expect the Madden 07 roster update to reflect this).
Clinton Portis is one of the game’s top running backs. Portis, a former Denver Bronco, features excellent speed, acceleration, spin, and juke moves. Chris Cooley has emerged as a potent downfield weapon as a hybrid fullback and tight end (called an H back). In fact he’s the highest rated Redskin! Note, however, that Madden lists Cooley as a fullback and once switched to TE, his overall rating decreases a bit. Mix up your playcalling to feature Portis runs behind right guard Randy Thomas, short passes to Cooley and Portis out of the backfield, and deep shots to Santana Moss.
Washington Redskins Key Players
|Chris Cooley||FB (TE)||98||82||84||46||54||90||76||68||82|
Chapter 3 - Offense
Last season’s Madden, with Donovan McNabb on the cover, introduced the vision cone. Each quarterback featured their own unique vision cone which was influenced by their awareness rating (essentially their experience and skill). Elite quarterbacks like Peyton Manning featured a large vision cone while "less experienced" quarterbacks had narrow cones. The vision cone affected accuracy. It was a big change to offensive gameplay. The cone does make a return in Madden 07 but it’s not mandatory. You could choose not to use it at all. Instead, the new offensive change in Madden 07 is in the running game.
The lead blocking control is Madden 07’s next innovation. On a running play, you can select a blocker and help open a hole for your running back. You can allow the CPU to control the runner the entire play or switch back to the running back to control your player once he’s broken through the block.
In this section we’ll cover tips on managing a team’s offense including specific tips on passing and rushing attacks, including the new Run to Daylight feature. Find Madden 07’s best offenses and stars complied for easy viewing as well as each team’s offensive playbook formations and play types.
Top Ranked Offenses
The following chart reveals the top offenses in Madden 07 based on overall rating.
|TEAM||CONFERENCE AND DIVISION||OFFENSE RATING|
|Indianapolis Colts||AFC South||97|
|Seattle Seahawks||NFC West||97|
|Kansas City Chiefs||AFC West||96|
|Denver Broncos||AFC West||95|
|New York Giants||NFC East||94|
|Carolina Panthers||NFC South||93|
|New England Patriots||AFC East||93|
|Cincinnati Bengals||AFC North||92|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||AFC North||92|
|Atlanta Falcons||NFC South||91|
|Dallas Cowboys||NFC East||91|
Worst Ranked Offenses
This chart reveals the worst offenses in Madden 07 based on overall rating.
|TEAM||CONFERENCE AND DIVISION||OFFENSE RATING|
|San Francisco 49ers||NFC West||74|
|Detroit Lions||NFC North||79|
|New York Jets||AFC East||79|
|Buffalo Bills||AFC East||80|
|Tennessee Titans||AFC South||80|
|Cleveland Browns||AFC North||82|
|Houston Texans||AFC South||82|
|Philadelphia Eagles||NFC East||83|
|Baltimore Ravens||AFC North||85|
|Chicago Bears||NFC North||85|
|Minnesota Vikings||NFC North||85|
|New Orleans Saints||NFC South||85|
|Oakland Raiders||AFC West||85|
Offensive Formations and Packages
The table below reveals each Madden 07 team playbook and featured offensive formations. Each team also includes Goal Line and Hail Mary formations.
|TEAM PLAYBOOK||MADDEN 07 OFFENSIVE FORMATIONS|
|Arizona Cardinals||Singleback Big, Singleback Big Twin WR, Singleback Twin TE WR, Singleback Big 3 TE, Singleback Normal, Singleback Normal Slot, Singleback Slot Strong, Singleback Trips Bunch, Singleback 4WR, I Form Normal, I Form Twin WR, I Form Big, Strong I Normal, Strong I Normal Flex, Weak I Normal, Weak I Tight Twins, Shotgun 2RB 3WR, Shotgun Normal Offset Wk, Shotgun Slot Strong, Shotgun Slot Strg HB Wk, Shotgun 4WR|
|Atlanta Falcons||Singleback Big, Singleback Twin TE WR, Singleback Normal, Singleback Slot Strong, Singleback Trips TE, Singleback 4WR Falcon, Singleback Flip Trips, I Form Normal, I Form Twin WR, I Form Tight Twins, Strong I Normal, Strong I Twin WR, Strong I Big Tight, Weak I Normal, Weak I Twin WR, Shotgun 2RB Flex, Shotgun Normal, Shotgun Slot Strong, Shotgun 5WR|
|Baltimore Ravens||Singleback Big, Singleback Twin TE, Singleback Big 3 TE, Singleback Normal, Singleback Trips TE, Singleback Slot Strong, Singleback Trips Bunch, Singleback 4WR Spread, I Form Normal, I Form Twin WR, I Form 3 WR, I Form Twin TE Wing, Strong I Normal, Strong I Twin WR, Strong I Twin TE, Weak I Normal, Weak I Twin TE, Shotgun Normal, Shotgun Slot Strong, Shotgun 4WR, Shotgun Trips|
|Buffalo Bills||Singleback Big, Singleback Twin TE, Singleback Normal Slot, Singleback Slot Strong, Singleback Trips Bunch, Singleback Flip Trips, Singleback Tight Slots, Singleback 4WR, Singleback Trips WR, I Form Normal, I Form Close, I Form 3WR, Split Backs Normal, Split Backs 3WR, Strong I Normal, Strong I 3WR, Strong I H Pro, Weak I Normal, Weak I Twin WR, Shotgun 2RB 3WR, Shotgun 4WR, Shotgun 5WR|
|Carolina Panthers||Singleback Big, Singleback Big Wing, Singleback Twin TE WR, Singleback Normal Slot, Singleback Slot Strong, Singleback Panther Trips, Singleback 4WR, Singleback Trips WR, Singleback Empty 5WR, I Form Normal, I Form Twin TE Wing, Split Backs 3WR, Split Backs Big, Full House Philly, Strong I H Pro, Strong I H Twins, Strong I H TE Flip, Strong I H Twin TE, Weak I H Pro, Weak I H Twins, Weak I H Wing TE, Weak I H Twin TE, Shotgun 4WR Spread, Shotgun 5WR Tight, Shotgun Empty TE Flip, Shotgun Empty Trey Stack|
|Chicago Bears||Singleback Big, Singleback Twin TE, Singleback Big 3TE, Singleback Normal Slot, Singleback Slot Strong, Singleback Strg TE Flip, Singleback Trips Bunch, Singleback Tight Slots, Singleback 4WR Spread, I Form Normal, I Form Twin WR, I Form 3WR, I Form Big, Split Backs Normal, Split Backs 3WR, Strong I Normal, Strong I 3WR, Weak I Normal, Weak I Twin WR, Shotgun 2RB 3WR, Shotgun Normal, Shotgun 4WR|
|Cincinnati Bengals||Singleback Big Wing, Singleback Twin TE, Singleback Normal, Singleback Slot Strong, Singleback Trips Bunch, Singleback Tight Slots, Singleback 4WR Flex, Singleback Trips WR, I Form Normal, I Form Twin WR, I Form 3WR, I Form Twin TE Wing, Split Backs Normal, Split Backs 3WR, Strong I Normal, Strong I 3WR, Weak I Close, Weak I Twin WR, Weak I 3WR, Shotgun Split Offset, Shotgun Trips, Shotgun 4WR|
|Cleveland Browns||Singleback Big Twin WR, Singleback Twin TE WR, Singleback Normal Slot, Singleback Slot Strong, Singleback Trips Bunch, Singleback 4WR Flex, Singleback Trey Open, Singleback Empty 5WR, I Form Normal, I Form Twin WR, I Form Close, Split Backs Pro, Split Backs 3WR, Near Pro, Full House Normal Wide, Strong I Normal, Strong I Twin TE, Weak I Normal, Weak I 3WR, Shotgun 2RB 3WR, Shotgun 4WR|
|Dallas Cowboys||Singleback Big Twin WR, Singleback Twin TE, Singleback Normal Slot, Singleback Slot Strong, Singleback Trips Bunch, Singleback 4WR, Singleback Trey Open, Singleback Empty 5WR, I Form Normal, I Form Twin WR, I Form Close, I Form Big, Split Backs Pro, Split Backs 3WR, Full House Normal Wide, Strong I Normal, Strong I Twin TE, Weak I Normal, Weak I Twin WR, Shotgun 2RB 3WR, Shotgun 4WR|
|Denver Broncos||Singleback Big, Singleback Big Twin WR, Singleback Twin TE WR, Singleback Normal, Singleback Normal Slot, Singleback Base Flex, Singleback Empty Trey, I Form Normal, I Form Twin WR, I Form Close, I Form Big, Strong I Normal, Strong I Twin WR, Strong I Big Tight, Weak I Normal, Weak I Twin WR, Weak I Close, Weak I Tight Twins, Shotgun Normal Slot, Shotgun Empty Trey, Shotgun 5WR|
|Detroit Lions||Singleback Big, Singleback Big Twin WR, Singleback Twin TE WR, Singleback Normal, Singleback Normal Slot, Singleback Trips Bunch, Singleback Tight Slots, Singleback 4WR Flex, I Form Normal, I Form Twin WR, I Form 3WR Tiger, I Form Close, I Form Big, Split Backs Normal, Split Backs 3WR, Strong I Normal, Strong I 3WR, Strong I H Pro, Weak I H Twins, Weak I 3WR, Weak I Big, Shotgun 4WR|
|Green Bay Packers||Singleback Big Wing, Singleback Twin TE WR, Singleback Big 3TE, Singleback Normal Slot, Singleback Slot Strong, Singleback Trips Bunch, Singleback 4WR Flex, Singleback Empty Bunch, Singleback Bunch TE, Singleback Tight, Singleback Flip Trips, I Form Normal, I Form Twin WR, I Form Big, I Form Twin TE Wing, Strong I Normal, Strong I Twin TE, Weak I Normal, Weak I Twin WR, Split Backs 3WR, Shotgun 2RB 3WR, Shotgun Normal, Shotgun 4WR|
|Houston Texans||Singleback Big, Singleback Big TE Flip, Singleback Big 3TE, Singleback Normal Slot, Singleback Slot Strong, Singleback Base Flex, Singleback 4WR, Singleback Empty Trey, I Form Normal, I Form Twin WR, I Form Close, I Form Big, Strong I Normal, Strong I Twin TE, Weak I Normal, Weak I Twins WR, Weak I Close, Weak I Tight Twins, Shotgun Wing Trips, Shotgun Slot Strg HB Wk, Shotgun 4WR, Shotgun Trey Open|
|Indianapolis Colts||Singleback Deuce, Singleback Big Twin WR, Singleback Dice, Singleback Dice Slot, Singleback Slot Strong, Singleback 4WR Stack, Singleback 4WR, I Form Normal, I Form Big, Split Backs 3WR, Strong I Normal, Strong I 3WR, Strong I Jumbo, Shotgun 2RB 3WR, Shotgun Normal, Shotgun Normal Slot, Shotgun Slot Strong, Shotgun Slot Strg HB Wk, Shotgun 4WR|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||Singleback Big, Singleback Twin TE WR, Singleback Normal Slot, Singleback Slot Strong, Singleback 4WR Special, Singleback Empty 4WR, I Form Normal, I Form Twin WR, I Form Twin TE, Split Backs Normal, Split Backs 3WR, Strong I Normal, Strong I Jumbo, Weak I Normal, Weak I Twin WR, Shotgun 2RB 3WR, Shotgun Slot Strg HB Wk, Shotgun Trips Bunch, Shotgun 4WR, Shotgun 5WR|
|Kansas City Chiefs||Singleback Big, Singleback Twin TE, Singleback Twin TE WR, Singleback Normal Slot, Singleback Slot Strong, Singleback Trips TE, Singleback Trips Bunch, Singleback 4WR, Singleback Flip Trips, I Form Normal, I Form Twin WR, I Form Twin TE Wing, Strong I Twin WR, Strong I Normal Flex, Weak I Normal, Weak I Twin WR, Shotgun 2RB Flex, Shotgun 4WR, Shotgun Slot Strg HB Wk, Shotgun 5WR|
|Miami Dolphins||Singleback Big, Singleback Big Twin WR, Singleback Twin TE, Singleback Twin TE WR, Singleback Big Wing, Singleback Normal, Singleback Normal Slot, Singleback Slot Strong, Singleback Trips Bunch, I Form Normal, I Form Twin WR, I Form 3WR, I Form Twin TE, Strong I Normal, Strong I Twin TE, Weak I Normal, Shotgun 2RB 3WR, Shotgun Normal Slot, Shotgun Slot Strong, Shotgun Wing Trips, Shotgun 4WR, Shotgun 5WR|
|Minnesota Vikings||Singleback Big, Singleback Normal, Singleback Slot Strong, Singleback Trips Bunch, Singleback Bunch TE, Singleback Flip Trips, Singeback 4WR Flex, Singleback Trips WR, I Form Normal, I Form Twin TE Wing, I Form 3WR, Split Backs Normal, Split Backs 3WR, Near Normal, Near 3WR, Strong I Normal, Strong I 3WR, Weak I Normal, Weak I Twin WR, Shotgun 2RB 3WR, Shotgun 4WR Spread|
|New England Patriots||Singleback Big, Singleback Big Twin WR, Singleback Twin TE, Singleback Twin TE WR, Singleback Big 3TE, Singleback Normal Slot, Singleback 4WR Spread, Singleback Empty 4WR, Singleback Empty 5WR, I Form Normal, I Form Twin TE, Strong I Normal, Strong I Jumbo, Weak I Normal, Weak I Twin TE, Shotgun Normal, Shotgun Twin TE Trips, Shotgun Slot Strong TE Flip, Shotgun Trips TE, Shotgun 4WR, Shotgun 5WR, Shotgun Empty Trey Stack|
|New Orleans Saints||Singleback Big, Singleback Twin TE, Singleback Twin TE WR, Singleback Normal, Singleback Tight Doubles, Singleback Slot Strong, Singleback 4WR, Singleback Empty Trey, I Form Normal, I Form Big, I Form Twin TE, Split Backs Normal, Full House Normal Wide, Strong I Normal, Strong I Twin WR, Strong I Twin TE, Weak I Normal, Weak I Twin WR, Weak I Twin TE, Shotgun Normal, Shotgun Slot Strong, Shotgun 4WR, Shotgun Empty 4WR, Shotgun 5WR Bunch|
|New York Giants||Singleback Normal, Singleback Big Wing, Singleback Twin TE, Singleback Normal Slot, Singleback Slot Strong, Singleback 4WR Flex, Singleback Flip Trips, Singleback Empty 4WR, I Form Normal, I Form Twin WR, I Form Close, I Form Twin WR, Full House Normal Wide, Strong I Normal, Strong I Twin WR, Weak I Normal, Weak I Twin TE, Shotgun Normal Offset Wk, Shotgun Trips Bunch, Shotgun Slot Strong TE Flip|
|New York Jets||Singleback Big, Singleback Big Twin WR, Singleback Big Wing, Singleback Normal, Singleback Slot Strong, Singleback Trips Bunch, Singleback Tight Flex, Singelback 4WR, Singelback Empty 4WR, I Form Normal, I Form Twin WR, I Form Big, Strong I Normal, Strong I Twin WR, Strong I Normal Flex, Strong I Twin TE, Weak I Normal, Weak I Close, Shotgun Normal Offset Wk, Shotgun Slot Strong, Shotgun 4WR|
|Oakland Raiders||Singleback Big, Singleback Big Wing, Singleback Twin TE, Singleback Normal Slot, Singleback Slot Strong, Singleback Offset Strong, Singleback Trips Bunch, Singleback Tight, Singleback Empty 4WR, I Form Normal, I Form Twin WR, I Form 3WR, I Form Twin TE, Split Backs Flex Close, Strong I Normal, Strong I Twin WR, Weak I Normal, Weak I Twin WR, Weak I Close, Weak I Tight Twins, Weak I Twin TE, Shotgun 2RB 3WR|
|Philadelphia Eagles||Singleback Big, Singleback Normal, Singleback Slot Strong, Singleback Trips Bunch, Singleback Bunch TE, Singleback Flip Trips, Singleback 4WR Flex, Singleback Trips WR, Singleback Empty 5WR, I Form Normal, I Form 3WR, I Form Twin TE, Split Backs Normal, Split Backs 3WR, Near Normal, Near 3WR, Strong I Normal, Strong I 3WR, Weak I Normal, Weak I Twins WR, Weak I Twin TE, Shotgun 2RB 3WR, Shotgun 4WR Spread|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||Singleback Big, Singleback Big Twin WR, Singleback Twin TE, Singleback Twin TE WR, Singleback Normal Slot, Singleback Slot Strong, Singleback Trips Bunch, I Form Normal, I Form Twin WR, I Form Big, I Form Twin TE Wing, Strong I Normal, Strong I Twin WR, Strong I Jumbo, Weak I Normal, Weak I Twin WR, Weak I Twin TE, Shotgun 2RB 3WR, Shotgun Normal, Shotgun Trips Bunch, Shotgun Trips, Shotgun 4WR|
|San Diego Chargers||Singleback Big, Singleback Twin TE, Singleback Twin TE WR, Singleback Normal Slot, Singleback Slot Strong, Singleback Base Flex, Singleback 4WR Spread, Singleback Flip Trips, Singleback Trey Open, I Form Normal, I Form Twin WR, I Form Twin TE, Split Backs 3WR, Strong I Normal, Strong I Twin WR, Strong I Normal Flex, Strong I Twin TE, Weak I Normal, Weak I Close, Shotgun 2RB Flex, Shotgun 2RB 3WR, Shotgun 4WR|
|Seattle Seahawks||Singleback Big, Singleback Normal, Singleback Tight Doubles, Singleback Slot Strong, Singleback Bunch Swap, Singleback 4WR Spread, Singleback 4WR Flex, Singleback Trey Open, Singleback Empty Trey, I Form Normal, I Form Twin WR, I Form 3WR, I Form Big, Split Backs Pro, Split Backs 3WR, Far Pro, Far Tight Twins, Far 3WR, Near Pro, Near Close, Near Jumbo, Strong I Normal, Strong I Twin WR, Weak I Twin WR|
|San Francisco 49ers||Singleback Big, Singleback Big Twin WR, Singleback Twin TE WR, Singleback Normal, Singleback Slot Storng, Singleback 4WR, Singleback Empty Trey, I Form Normal, I Form Twin WR, I Form 3WR, I Form Big, Split Backs Normal, Strong I Normal, Strong I Twin WR, Weak I Normal, Weak I Close, Weak I Twin WR, Weak I Twin TE, Shotgun Normal, Shotgun Slot Strong, Shotgun Trips Bunch, Shotgun 4WR|
|St. Louis Rams||Singleback Big, Singleback Big Twin WR, Singleback Twin TE, Singleback Twin TE WR, Singelback Big Wing, Singleback Normal, Singleback Normal Slot, Singleback Slot Strong, Singleback Trips Bunch, I Form Normal, I Form Twin WR, I Form 3WR, I Form Twin TE, Split Backs Normal, Split Backs 3WR, Strong I Normal, Strong I 3WR, Strong I H Pro, Weak I Normal, Shotgun 2RB 3WR, Shotgun Normal Slot, Shotgun Slot Strong, Shotgun 4WR, Shotgun 5WR|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Singleback Big, Singleback Twin TE WR, Singleback Normal, Singleback Slot Strong, Singleback Bunch TE, Singleback Trips Bunch, Singleback Tight, Singleback 4WR Flex, Singleback Flip Trips, Singleback Empty Bunch, Singleback Empty 4WR, Singleback Empty 5WR, I Form Normal, I Form Tight Twins, I Form Big, Split Backs Normal, Split Backs 3WR, Strong I Normal, Strong I 3WR, Strong I Twin TE, Weak I Normal, Weak I Twins WR|
|Tennessee Titans||Singleback Big, Singleback Big Twin WR, Singleback Big Wing, Singleback Big 3TE, Singleback Normal Slot, Singleback Slot Strong, Singleback Trips Bunch, Singleback Tight Flex, Singleback 4WR Spread, Singleback Trey Open, Singleback Empty 5 WR, I Form Normal, I Form Big, Strong I H Pro, Strong I H Twins, Weak I H Pro, Weak I H Twins, Shotgun Normal Offset Wk, Shotgun Slot Strong, Shotgun Trips TE, Shotgun 4WR|
|Washington Redskins||Singleback Big, Singleback Big Twin WR, Singleback Twin TE, Singleback Twin TE WR, Singleback Big TE Flip, Singleback Deuce Wing, Singleback Big Jumbo Wing, Singleback Normal TE Flip, Singleback Strg TE Flip, Singleback Trips Bunch, Singleback Stack Doubles Wk, Singleback 4WR Stack, Singleback 4WR Spread, Singleback Trips WR, I Form Close, I Form 3WR, I Form Twin TE, Split Backs 3WR, Full House Normal Wide, Strong I H Twin TE, Weak I H Wing TE, Weak I H Twin TE, Shotgun Normal Slot, Shotgun Wing Trips|
Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each formation can be a key to victory. Some formations are better suited for the run while others are used in the passing game. However, it’s important to play on these strengths and weaknesses when up against a savvy opponent. Throwing out of a run formation can create mismatches against a defense that expected a run.
- Goal Line: This is a short yardage formation. Perhaps you’re on the goal line (hence the name) or need less than a yard for a first down. It can be used as a deceptive formation, such as calling a play action pass. Be careful, however, since most opponents call a heavy blitz against short yardage hoping to plug the running lanes. Could also be used to take advantage of an inside run against an opponent calling a lot of dime or quarter coverage. Quarterback sneak is effective if you’re a yard or less to go. Just hike and push forward!
- I Form: Another typical run formation, though I Form does offer a lot of versatility, particularly in the short passing game. In the I Form formation, a fullback and a running back (in default packages) line up behind the quarterback in an "I" formation. Teams with strong fullbacks may find effectiveness in lead blocking mode or even mixing it up and using the fullback as a runner. Call passing plays that send your backs out into the flats for short yardage passing if downfield receivers are covered. If your favorite team has two solid running backs (such as Deuce McAlister and Reggie Bush at New Orleans), switch to Dual HB packages to take advantage.
- Strong I, Weak I: These are similar to the I Form formation but the fullback (or second running back) is offset to the strong side (side of the field with more linemen, essentially the tight end) or the weak side (side of the field with less linemen and without the tight end). Use in a lead blocking ground game or short passing situations.
- Far, Near: The Far and Near formations are rare in Madden 07 playbooks; find them in Seattle and Minnesota’s playbook for instance. These formations are similar to Strong and Weak, but the fullback (or second running back) are positioned close together behind the quarterback. It can give the fullback another step to find his blocker. These are good formations for backs with strong receiver skills as well.
- Split Backs: Two backs (a fullback and a running back or two running backs depending on the package) line up split behind the quarterback. It’s also been called the Pro Set or Pro Formation. Blocking is a bit more challenging because of the position of both backs. For instance, pitch plays means typically losing a blocker since the other back can’t get into position quickly.
- Full House: This formation is another rare set seen in a few playbooks, including Carolina and Dallas. The Full House features three backs behind the quarterback. You can use packages to alter the personnel. The extra backs can provide blocking or use them in the passing game. It’s also useful to disguise the direction of your run and who will be the runner given the number of options.
- Singleback: In this formation, one back lines up behind the quarterback. It’s a common formation and numerous variations fill team playbooks. Some have more wide outs suited for the passing game while others utilize multiple tight ends for extra run blocking or disguised passing. You do lose the extra lead blocker but if your team lacks a good fullback, it’s likely optimal to use singleback formations with extra blocking tight ends to bust open holes with lead blocker control.
- Shotgun: Although not exclusively, shotgun is traditionally a passing formation. The quarterback lines up steps behind center and takes the snap back from the oncoming rush. It provides extra time for receivers to get open (and extra time for the quarterback not to get crunched!). It can also be a deceptive run formation if your opponent lines up in dime or quarter playing the pass. Call a HB draw play, block the linebacker with lead blocking, and get your running back into the secondary.
When selecting your formation, you can also use package substitutions to alter the formation’s personnel. Perhaps you want to move Reggie Bush to the wide out position, shift Steve Smith or Jeremy Shockey into the slot, or send in tight ends and fullbacks instead of wide receivers for better blocking. We’ve listed some of the common packages below and tips on using each.
- Dual HB: In formations with two running backs (including Form, Strong, Weak, and Shotgun-2RB 3WR), this package switches the fullback for the team’s secondary running back. This can be an effective substitution for teams with two decent running backs (for instance, New Orleans, Carolina) for pass plays to the backs. Also if you want a quick way to utilize the secondary running back on plays designed for the fullback.
- Jumbo Backfield: Substitutes your running back for the fullback for dual fullbacks. Good for short yardage situations and for teams with good fullbacks (San Diego, Seattle, Tampa Bay for instance) for use in runs designed for running backs.
- WR Swap: Swap the primary and secondary receiver positions to alter their assigned pass routes. Could create mismatches against a defense that hasn’t made defensive assignments for man coverage.
- WR Swap Strong: Places your best two receivers on the strong side then swaps their position (essentially placing your top receiver in the slot position).
- HB Slot: Substitution your running back into the slot position in a three or more receiver set--a great way to get a stellar pass receiving running back into the passing game. For instance, pass a ball deep to Atlanta’s speedy Warrick Dunn, Philadelphia’s shifty Brian Westbrook, or New Orleans’ elusive Reggie Bush.
- HB Wideout: Substitutes your running back into the wideout position. Much like HB Slot, useful if your favorite team has a running back with great hands.
- Strong Slot: Substitutes your best receiver into the slot position. Excellent for opening new routes for a star receiver and putting that receiver up against new defenders--possibly a mismatch against a safety or even a linebacker. Move Steve Smith around the field to give him more route options. Use that speed!
- TE Slot: Substitutes your tight end into the slot position. Use this package if your team has a good receiving tight end (San Diego, Kansas City, Washington, Baltimore, New York Giants) or plan to run in the formation toward the tight end--the tight end is usually a better blocker.
- TE Swap: Switch tight end positions in formations with two tight ends. Also could be strong and weak.
- TE Backfield: Switched the tight end into the backfield. Useful for a good blocking tight end in lead blocking mode. It can also provide some unique passing routes for your excellent pass catching tight ends.
- WR Strong: Places your top receivers on the strong side of the formation.
- WR Strong Weak: Places your best two receivers on the same side in a multiple receiver set--for instance in a five receiver set.
- WR Bunch: Positions the top receivers into the "bunch" area of the formation.
- Big: Substitutes wide receivers for tight ends and fullbacks for a "big" formation. This could turn a bunch formation passing play into a solid running play with the increased blocking abilities of the tight ends and fullbacks.
- Strong Solo: In formations with multiple receivers on one side and one receiver on another, places your top receiver in the solo position.
- Heavy: A linemen subs for a tight end, optimum for extra blocking in lead blocker mode.
- Miami: On goal line, substitutes your receiver for a tight end and a defensive lineman for your tight end.
The Passing Game
An effective pass attack requires skill in play-calling, reading the defense, finding the open man, tossing a correct pass, and catching the ball. This section covers the fundamentals of succeeding as a passer. You’ll find a rundown of pass play types in each team’s playbook and strategies and tips for getting the ball from quarterback to receiver.
Team Playbooks: Passing Plays
The chart below reveals the passing play types in all NFL team playbooks. Note that each team also features a Hail Mary play not included in this table. There is variation in the team playbooks that should be considered when selecting a team (the play types typically mirror their real life counterparts). For instance, the Indianapolis Colts’ playbook features 50 play action passes--Peyton Manning is arguably the best play action passer in the NFL. Note that Seattle and Tampa Bay playbooks offer no shotgun formations.
|Green Bay Packers||11||25||15||90||39|
|Kansas City Chiefs||8||35||17||80||34|
|New England Patriots||6||48||13||77||31|
|New Orleans Saints||24||43||10||59||21|
|New York Giants||13||25||8||80||27|
|New York Jets||10||32||11||74||27|
|San Diego Chargers||15||19||9||74||29|
|San Francisco 49ers||31||36||8||73||24|
|St. Louis Rams||16||47||9||87||24|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||13||0||10||121||38|
Top Ranked Quarterbacks
If you’re looking to become an elite passer, than you should probably start with a skilled quarterback. We’ve compiled the top 20 ranked quarterbacks in the chart below. The quarterbacks are sorted by overall rating. If you use the vision cone, note the quarterback’s awareness rating since it affects the cone’s size. Other important quarterback stats include throw power (distance), accuracy, speed (for all you Michael Vick scramblers out there!), and injury-some quarterbacks aren’t as durable as others so be careful if you decide to take off downfield with the football!
|Peyton Manning||Indianapolis Colts||99||99||95||98||59|
|Tom Brady||New England Patriots||98||98||92||96||60|
|Carson Palmer||Cincinnati Bengals||95||89||97||95||56|
|Donovan McNabb||Philadelphia Eagles||94||84||95||87||79|
|Matt Hasselbeck||Seattle Seahawks||93||91||92||91||64|
|Ben Roethlisberger||Pittsburgh Steelers||92||87||92||88||70|
|Drew Brees||New Orleans Saints||92||88||89||95||62|
|Daunte Culpepper||Miami Dolphins||92||79||98||84||77|
|Jake Delhomme||Carolina Panthers||92||92||88||92||64|
|Michael Vick||Atlanta Falcons||91||77||96||79||93|
|Trent Green||Kansas City Chiefs||91||96||87||96||51|
|Marc Bulger||St. Louis Rams||90||90||89||94||57|
|Jake Plummer||Denver Broncos||90||85||89||89||71|
|Byron Leftwich||Jacksonville Jaguars||89||83||97||87||57|
|Eli Manning||New York Giants||88||83||93||89||61|
|Steve McNair||Baltimore Ravens||88||83||91||85||68|
|Brett Favre||Green Bay Packers||88||92||97||85||52|
|Kurt Warner||Arizona Cardinals||87||92||89||93||46|
|Drew Bledsoe||Dallas Cowboys||87||89||97||87||45|
|Mark Brunell||Washington Reskins||87||86||89||88||65|
Your decisions begin at the play call screen. It’s important to mix up your play calling. If you are simply calling shotgun, four wide receiver formation every single time you pass the ball, a savvy opponent will pick up on that tendency and focus entirely on the pass. Expect good online opponents (or a friend sitting next to you) to check your offensive personnel before deciding on a defense. When your opponent sees three or four wide receiver, he’s going to think pass.
To mix it up you’ll want to call pass plays during expected run situations (such as 1st and 10 or 2nd and 2). And when you select a formation and personnel, consider a standard formation of two wide receivers, one or two running backs, and a tight end. Through play calling and personnel, you’ve disguised--as best as possible--your intended play call. Now your opponent may try and stuff the run but be burned deep by your fast wide receiver.
When selecting the specific pass play, consider your opponent’s play calling. Crossing routes will work against man defenses or middle linebacker blitz defenses (hitting a receiver in the middle of the field becomes more challenging when that middle linebacker is sitting there in a zone defense). Does your opponent leave the flats unprotected? Take advantage with by utilizing your running back out of the backfield. Call plays that feature an outlet man, perhaps a quick out pattern or a running back in the flat. That way if you’re pressured, you have a quick pass opportunity to dish off the ball and avoid the sack.
Play action is also a powerful offensive weapon. In a play action pass (marked "PA" on the pass plays), the quarterback (and even offensive linemen) simulates a run play but it’s actually a pass play. The action can cause defenders to cheat against the run, which could leave a wide receiver open downfield.
Be cautious calling play action plays against a blitzing opponent. The play action animation isn’t quick. Although some blitzing defenders may be confused and attempt to tackle the running back, others may ignore the runner and head straight for the quarterback and an easy sack. It’s a nice weapon to have in your arsenal. Set it up with running plays then call a typical run formation with a play action pass and hit a speedy receiver on a go route.
At the Line
As your players move to the line of scrimmage, there are two key moments to look for to help you gauge where to best throw the ball. It’s right before the snap of the ball and right after the snap of the ball.
Before the snap, see how the defenders adjust to your play call. If you notice a safety cheating up toward one of your wide receivers, the defensive play call is likely double coverage on that receiver (an opponent may feel it requires two defenders to handle Steve Smith!). If the safety moves to the line, it’s probably a safety blitz (which could leave a receiver in single coverage for a deep pass).
At the snap of the ball, check defenders and their positions. Watch the linebackers. If they charge the line, they’re likely on a blitz. Hit a wide receiver on a quick pass in the area where the linebacker vacated. Watch how the cornerbacks affect your receivers on the line. You may spot your receiver tangled up with a corner, which makes a play take longer giving more time for defenders to reach your quarterback.
Check the safeties. If a safety comes in toward a receiver, he’s in man coverage. If the safeties retreat, they’re in zone and will likely double downfield receivers on post or go routes. Look to hit underneath receivers or running backs in the flat.
Focus your eyes on defenders not your receivers. Know where your receivers will be by remembering your play selection--your receivers will run those routes! During the play, by looking at the position and actions of defenders, you will know which receiver is open and which is not. Watching defenders will tell you when and where to throw the football.
Completing the Pass Play
When deciding on where to put the ball, look for single coverage or mismatches. You have a much higher chance of completing a pass when there aren’t multiple defenders draped over your receiving target. The position of the wide receiver is also important. If the defender is between the quarterback and the receiver, the ball will likely be knocked down or intercepted. For mismatches, look for receivers matched up against a linebacker or a nickel defenders (not as skilled as the starting cornerbacks).
Give your receivers a chance to run under the ball using a lob pass. Tap the button briefly to toss a lob pass or hold it down to fire a bullet pass. For instance, on a crossing route, toss a lob pass then control the receiver and run under the ball and make the catch. On a wide receiver screen or hook route, fire a bullet pass to get the ball into your receivers hands as quickly as possible. Don’t throw a bullet pass if there are defenders in the passing lane. The ball’s low trajectory could result in an interception.
Use your quarterback’s legs to your advantage, especially if you have a mobile quarterback like Michael Vick, Vince Young, or Daunte Culpepper. Scrambling out of the pocket can buy extra time for receivers to get open and also give you a chance to run downfield if the field is clear. If you can’t find a receiver open, wait until one breaks off his route and returns toward the quarterback. The defender is usually behind the receiver at this point. If the passing lane is clear, fire a bullet pass on the returning receiver. With no defender in front, it’s almost always a completion.
Top Ranked Wide Receivers
Who’s the fastest receiver in Madden 07? Which receiver has the best hands? Which receiver has the elusiveness to catch a short pass and spin and juke his way through the secondary? The following chart lists the top receivers and their important statistics, including speed, catching, jumping, and special moves.
|Steve Smith||Carolina Panthers||97||97||98||96||95||91||89||93||75||94||98|
|Chad Johnson||Cincinnati Bengals||97||96||95||95||96||94||92||91||45||90||96|
|Randy Moss||Oakland Raiders||97||98||97||96||95||99||89||94||55||90||95|
|Torry Holt||St. Louis Rams||97||93||95||95||98||89||97||90||50||86||89|
|Terrell Owens||Dallas Cowboys||97||93||96||94||94||91||92||91||80||86||87|
|Marvin Harrison||Indianapolis Colts||97||95||97||97||99||95||99||92||30||97||97|
|Hines Ward||Pittsburgh Steelers||94||89||91||94||95||86||93||88||85||85||90|
|Larry Fitzgerald||Arizona Cardinals||93||88||90||90||95||97||86||86||75||80||87|
|Anquan Boldin||Arizona Cardinals||92||88||91||91||94||90||88||90||75||82||86|
|Reggie Wayne||Indianapolis Colts||92||89||93||92||95||86||92||88||55||88||90|
|Santana Moss||Washington Redskins||92||97||98||98||92||85||87||88||30||96||97|
|Chris Chambers||Miami Dolphins||91||95||94||92||88||97||85||84||55||83||87|
Top Ranked Tight Ends
More and more teams are utilizing skilled pass-catching tight ends to exploit defensive coaches focused on stopping the run or defending deep balls against faster receivers. Some tight ends are their team’s most potent weapon in the passing game--examples include Antonio Gates, Jeremy Shockey, and Alge Crumpler. Get them the ball! Note that Chris Cooley is a hybrid fullback and tight end, though mostly used as a pass catching tight end.
|Antonio Gates||San Diego Chargers||99||87||91||90||77||85|
|Chris Cooley||Washington Redskins||98||82||84||90||76||82|
|Jeremy Shockey||New York Giants||97||84||89||88||87||84|
|Tony Gonzalez||Kansas City Chiefs||97||84||85||92||72||94|
|Alge Crumpler||Atlanta Falcons||96||85||86||87||78||84|
|Todd Heap||Baltimore Ravens||95||79||86||88||72||86|
|Jason Witten||Dallas Cowboys||92||77||82||85||75||80|
|Randy McMichael||Miami Dolphins||92||83||87||84||74||75|
The Running Game
With record-breaking running back Shaun Alexander on the cover, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the biggest new gameplay feature in Madden 07 involves the running game. On a run play, you can select a particular lead blocker, hike the ball, and attempt to pancake a defender to open a gaping hole for your running back.
Patience in the running game is still important. You’re not going to break a long touchdown run every time you touch the ball. Astute play calling can give your running game an advantage. It’s about giving your running game the best chance to succeed. If you spot the defense with a crowded line and eight defenders "in the box" then don’t be surprised when you’re tackled for a loss.
This section reveals team playbook running play types and provides tips on using Madden 07’s lead blocking mode. You’ll also find general strategies for maintaining a strong ground game as well as a compilation of the best running backs, fullbacks, and offensive linemen in the game.
Team Playbooks: Running Plays
The following table dissects each NFL team playbook and reveals the number of different run play types available. Note that the QB Run column also includes the quarterback sneak plays.
|TEAM||INSIDE||OUTSIDE||PITCH||COUNTER||DRAW||FB RUN||QB RUN|
|Green Bay Packers||33||8||14||17||20||9||3|
|Kansas City Chiefs||33||16||14||14||19||8||2|
|New England Patriots||28||12||13||18||16||8||1|
|New Orleans Saints||30||11||13||16||9||10||2|
|New York Giants||33||10||13||19||15||7||2|
|New York Jets||34||9||16||17||9||10||1|
|San Diego Chargers||31||10||14||21||11||11||1|
|San Francisco 49ers||34||8||11||13||8||10||2|
|St. Louis Rams||29||12||13||20||12||6||1|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||30||9||17||15||15||10||2|
In the Huddle
Your running game decisions at the play call screen mirror your decisions in the passing game. Don’t become one-dimensional and predictable. Running every single time out of two wide receiver, two running back, one tight end sets will alert an opponent to your tendencies. The same goes for game situations. Don’t run on 1st and 10 every time. When it is 2nd and 15, your opponent is probably thinking pass: not a bad time for an unexpected run call.
Running against situation can create match up advantages. For instance, running out of a three or four wide receiver set can cause your opponent to think pass and select a nickel, dime, or quarter defense. This puts more defensive backs on the field (worse at tackling) and fewer linebackers (better at tackling). This is a huge plus for a good running back.
Call plays that take advantage of your running back’s strengths. A slower, but more powerful back is better suited for inside runs (Dives, Whams) while a faster, but less powerful back excels in outside runs (or runs that take a bit longer to develop like Counters, Pitches). This isn’t a black and white issue, though, since smaller backs can certainly pick up big yardage by running inside.
Before the Snap: Lead Blocker Control
Check the defense’s alignment before snapping the ball. If the defense has overloaded one side that protects your outside run, flip the play at the line. Likewise if the defense is pinching the interior, consider calling an audible to another run play or even a pass play. You can use motion to move receivers, tight ends, or fullbacks into better blocking position. Use the hot route button to force a wide receiver to block in a particular direction, which could assist your run call.
Madden 07’s new gameplay feature is lead blocking control. Before the snap, you can use the shoulder button to cycle through blocking options (lineman, tight ends, fullback) and choose to control the specific blocker. Hike the ball as normal but now you’re in control of the blocker and can choose which defender to engage. At any point you can revert back to controlling the running back.
When using lead blocker control, know the design of the play. If it’s an inside run between the left guard and left tackle then that’s where you want to open the hole. Control one of the interior linemen and push the defender away from the other side to open a hole for the running back. On an outside run, you may control the tight end or fullback and push a defender inside so your running back can turn the corner and scamper down the sideline for a big gain.
There are a few options you can tweak, such as making it automatically switch back to your running back after the lead blocker engages or to keep the camera viewpoint extended. You’ll also note that another player (even online) can spot your selection of the lead blocker. This is a tip off that you’re running and where you’re running. Of course, it can be used as a mind game. There’s nothing stopping you from selecting a blocker on a pass play. Hike the ball and you’ll control the quarterback as normal while your opponent may be adjusting for your "fake out" run play.
After the Snap
When engaging the defender in lead block mode, you can use the right thumb stick for an impact block or a cut block. An impact block is essentially a pancake block: shove the defender down and out of the way then find another defender to engage. A cut block sends your lineman lower to "cut" the defender’s legs and drop him to the ground. Take note of your blocker’s impact blocking rating if you hope to pancake defenders, which is usually the best option cause it keeps your blocker upright and ready to engage another defender.
When controlling the running back, follow the design of the play. That’s where the hole should open up. However, if there’s no running room, don’t hesitate to switch direction and look for another running lane. Don’t press the sprint button immediately. If you do you may outrun blockers and can weaken some of your running back’s special maneuvers.
Madden 07 adds the "highlight stick" to the right analog controls. Essentially this means the right analog stick can be used for special moves like juke moves and trucking (break tackles). Spins and jukes are ways of avoiding oncoming defenders. As the defender approaches, use a spin or juke away from other defenders and continue running down the field. Utilize "trucking" when smashing into a tackler. Running backs with high trucking can break through these tackles more easily. The stiff arm is also highly underrated. Top power running backs feature high stiff arm ratings. Hit the stiff arm just as the tackler hits you to shove him off.
Top Ranked Running Backs
A consistent running game begins with a star running back. Some running backs excel in power, inside runs (higher trucking and stiff arm rating) while others are shifty and elusive and excel in outside runs (higher elusiveness, spin and juke move ratings). And some of the elite running backs can do both! The catch rating is also a valuable running back asset. Utilizing your running back in the passing game as short dump offs in the flat, screen passes, and even as downfield threats.
|Shaun Alexander||Seattle Seahawks||98||91||98||89||97||82||98||72||94||99||94||85||86|
|LaDainian Tomlinson||San Diego Chargers||97||95||97||95||90||93||87||85||90||98||88||93||97|
|Larry Johnson||Kansas City Chiefs||96||93||96||90||86||80||95||67||98||90||97||75||84|
|Edgerrin James||Arizona Cardinals||96||92||93||92||91||92||91||79||90||98||92||96||88|
|Clinton Portis||Washington Redskins||94||95||98||95||88||93||85||68||87||95||65||91||96|
|Tiki Barber||New York Giants||94||93||93||94||94||92||86||84||84||96||70||88||91|
|Rudi Johnson||Cincinnati Bengals||92||87||93||84||89||64||97||62||96||88||96||60||70|
|Carnell Williams||Tampa Bay Buccanners||90||93||96||94||78||93||84||72||83||90||77||89||94|
|Domanick Davis||Houston Texans||90||92||95||93||85||94||85||79||82||92||66||90||92|
|Willis McGahee||Buffalo Bills||90||89||95||87||81||73||88||65||94||85||99||70||82|
|LaMont Jordan||Oakland Raiders||90||89||92||86||85||74||87||79||89||87||88||72||80|
|Warrick Dunn||Atlanta Falcons||90||96||98||96||91||98||91||84||66||98||75||97||96|
Top Ranked Fullbacks
Level a defender in lead blocking mode with one of the league’s best fullbacks. A good fullback is a running back’s best friend. Would LaDainian Tomlinson be the running back he is without Lorenzo Neal punishing defenders? The chart below compiles the best fullbacks in the game. Use these backs in lead blocking mode, as short yardage runners, and even as a receiver when mixing it up. We didn’t include Redskins’ Chris Cooley in this table since he’s primarily used as a tight end.
|Lorenzo Neal||San Diego Chargers||99||60||85||62||79||70||90|
|Mack Strong||Seattle Seahawks||97||83||70||68||80||68||75|
|Fred Beasley||Miami Dolphins||97||72||62||75||85||77||90|
|William Henderson||Green Bay Packers||96||62||68||77||80||74||83|
|Justin Griffith||Atlanta Falcons||92||80||66||70||82||75||66|
|Dan Kreider||Pittsburgh Steelers||92||63||84||54||75||55||80|
|Tony Richardson||Minnesota Vikings||91||77||61||70||84||76||75|
|Mike Alstott||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||91||82||53||61||97||72||91|
|Jerald Sowell||Tampa Bay Buccanners||90||67||68||77||69||64||73|
|Alan Ricard||Baltimore Ravens||89||65||82||64||72||64||72|
Top Ranked Offensive Lineman
This table reveals the best offensive linemen in the game. The lineman are sorted by overall rating but check statistics for pass and run blocking, impact blocking (pancake defenders!) and blocking strength and footwork.
|Walter Jones||Seattle Seahawks||LT||99||97||98||97||97||99||97||94||97||95|
|Steve Hutchinson||Minnesota Vikings||LG||98||97||88||98||98||95||98||86||91||90|
|Alan Faneca||Pittsburgh Steelers||LG||98||96||94||97||97||94||98||86||93||94|
|Olin Kreutz||Chicago Bears||C||98||92||92||93||93||95||93||95||91||91|
|Will Shields||Kansas City Chiefs||RG||97||91||93||94||94||95||95||87||95||97|
|Orlando Pace||St. Louis Rams||LT||97||95||97||91||85||97||91||97||96||96|
|Jeff Saturday||Indianapolis Colts||C||96||90||97||88||78||95||88||98||87||95|
|Mike Wahle||Carolina Panthers||LG||96||94||92||94||94||94||94||93||85||87|
|Jonathan Ogden||Baltimore Ravens||LT||96||98||92||98||93||98||99||80||79||95|
|Willie Anderson||Cincinnati Bengals||RT||95||97||91||98||95||93||98||80||83||97|
|Marco Rivera||Dallas Cowboys||RG||95||94||92||95||90||93||95||78||80||95|
|LeCharles Bentley||Cleveland Browns||C||95||93||90||93||96||94||95||92||91||84|
|Kevin Mawae||Tennessee Titans||C||95||92||92||90||90||94||93||80||83||97|
|Tom Nalen||Denver Broncos||C||95||84||87||92||97||85||85||93||98||95|
|Tarik Glenn||Indianapolis Colts||LT||95||95||98||93||87||98||93||98||93||92|
Chapter 4 - Defense
A strong defense can win a game on its own. Prevent the other team from scoring points and put a few on the board via turnovers, defensive returns for touchdowns, or just great field position and that’s likely enough to win the game. A great offense could put up 45 points a game but if it can’t stop anyone on defense then all those offensive fireworks won’t matter.
This section covers the defensive side of the ball. We’ll compile the best and worst defenses in Madden 07, provide a breakdown of the formations in each defensive playbook and for each team, and tell you when to select 4-3, Nickel, or Dollar sets. You’ll also find general strategies for stuffing your opponent’s pass or run plays and a list of the top defensive players in Madden 07.
Top Ranked Defenses
Having trouble stopping the opposition? Here are the best defenses in Madden 07 sorted by defensive rating.
|TEAM||CONFERENCE AND DIVISION||DEFENSE RATING|
|San Diego Chargers||AFC West||97|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||AFC North||96|
|Baltimore Ravens||AFC North||95|
|Chicago Bears||NFC North||94|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||NFC South||93|
|Carolina Panthers||NFC South||92|
|New England Patriots||AFC East||91|
|Philadelphia Eagles||NFC East||90|
|Seattle Seahawks||NFC West||90|
Worst Ranked Defenses
If you want a challenge in stopping a high powered offense, consider one of these teams: they’re the worst ranked defenses in Madden 07.
|TEAM||CONFERENCE AND DIVISION||DEFENSE RATING|
|San Francisco 49ers||NFC West||73|
|Houston Texans||AFC South||74|
|Detroit Lions||NFC North||78|
|Oakland Raiders||AFC West||78|
|St. Louis Rams||NFC West||78|
|Tennessee Titans||AFC South||79|
|New Orleans Saints||NFC South||80|
|New York Giants||NFC East||80|
|New York Jets||AFC East||83|
|Kansas City Chiefs||AFC West||83|
Defensive Formations and Packages
In Madden 07, each team uses a specific defensive playbook that includes specific formations. You can switch defensive playbooks at the team selection screen. Note that two teams, the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots have their own playbooks (the Patriots’ playbook features unique Nickel formations).
|PLAYBOOK||4-3 DEFENSES||3-4 DEFENSES||46 DEFENSES||NICKEL DEFENSES||DIME DEFENSES||DOLLAR DEFENSES||QUARTER DEFENSES|
|4-3||Normal, Over, Under||None||Normal||Normal, Strong, 3-3-5||Normal, Flat||Normal||Normal, 3 Deep|
|3-4||None||Normal, Over, Under, Solid, Even, Stack||None||3-3-5, Strong, 2-4-5||Normal||Normal||Normal, 3 Deep|
|Cover 2||Normal, Under, Over||Over||None||Normal, 3-3-5, Strong||Normal, Flat||Normal||Normal|
|46||Normal, Under||Even, Solid||Normal, Bear||Normal, Strong, 3-3-5||Normal, Flat||Normal||Normal|
|Multiple D||Normal, Under, Over||Normal, Under||None||Normal, Strong, 3-3-5||Dime, Flat||Normal||Normal, 3 Deep|
|Baltimore Ravens||Normal, Under||Even, Solid||Normal, Bear||Normal, Strong, 3-3-5||Normal, Flat||Normal||Normal|
|New England Patriots||None||Normal, Over, Under, Solid, Even, Stack||None||2-4-5, 3-3-5, 1-5-5, 1-5-5 Prowl||Normal||Normal||Normal, 3 Deep|
The table below reveals the default defensive playbook for each NFL team in Madden 07. There are a few changes from last year, including specific playbooks for the Ravens and Patriots.
|TEAM||DEFAULT DEFENSIVE PLAYBOOK|
|Baltimore Ravens||Bal - Ravens|
|Chicago Bears||Cover 2|
|Detroit Lions||Cover 2|
|Green Bay Packers||4-3|
|Indianapolis Colts||Cover 2|
|Kansas City Chiefs||Cover 2|
|Miami Dolphins||Multiple D|
|Minnesota Vikings||Cover 2|
|New England Patriots||NE - Patriots|
|New Orleans Saints||4-3|
|New York Giants||4-3|
|New York Jets||3-4|
|San Diego Chargers||3-4|
|San Francisco 49ers||3-4|
|St. Louis Rams||4-3|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Cover 2|
Knowing when and how to use each defensive formation will help keep your defense in good match-up situations. But it can be guesswork since your opponent may call a passing formation but still run. Keep your opponent’s tendencies in mind when selecting your formation but consider the offensive personnel carefully to have the best chance of stuffing the play.
In general, linemen and linebackers are your run stoppers. If you want to stop the run, call formations that feature more lineman and linebackers. In general, linemen and linebackers are better at tackling and pursuing than pass coverage. Defensive backs protect against the pass. These players have high man and zone coverage ratings but poorer tackling ratings. When you believe the offense will pass, select a defense with more defensive backs.
The table below covers all formations, reveals the personnel and packages, and offers some tips on when and when not to use them.
|Goal Line||Run prevent in short yardage situations, specifically third or fourth and short or on the goal line.||Safety Swap, Jumbo, 3 DT, Strong, LB Ends||Packed defense to prevent the short run. There are a lot of tacklers near the line of scrimmage.||Audible to another defense if the offense changes formation. So many defenders near the line can be disastrous if a running back breaks through.|
|4-3 Normal||Four defensive linemen, three linebackers, four defensive backs.||CB Swap, Safety Swap, Coverage Flip, LB Flip, DE Flip||A balanced run and pass defense. Good against inside runs and short to medium passing.||Avoid using against four or more receiver sets (even three is risky). Blitzing linebackers can leave slants and outside runs open.|
|4-3 Over, Under||Moves an outer linebacker to the line for five defensive linemen, two linebackers, and four defensive backs (Over and Under refers to different sides of the line).||CB Swap, Safety Swap, Coverage Flip, LB Flip, DE Flip,||Increased pass rush possibilities. Protect against inside and outside runs.||Vulnerable to the passing game and fewer linebackers in the middle could mean fewer tacklers if the back breaks the line.|
|3-4 Normal||Three defensive linemen, four linebackers, and four defensive backs.||CB Swap, Safety Swap, Coverage Flip, OLB Flip, MLB Flip, DE Flip||A balanced run and pass defense. Defends outside runs and flat passes.||Softer pass rush, though more blitz variation with extra linebackers. Vulnerable to multiple receiver sets.|
|3-4 Over, Under||Three defensive linemen, four linebackers, and four defensive backs. An outside linebacker tightens up the edge of the line (Over and Under refers to different sides of the line).||CB Swap, Safety Swap, Coverage Flip, OLB Flip, MLB Flip, DE Flip||Increased pass rush with linebacker at the line.||Fewer linebackers defending the short passes. Vulnerable to multiple receiver sets.|
|3-4 Solid||Three defensive linemen, four linebackers, and four defensive backs. Both outside linebackers crowd the line.||CB Swap, Safety Swap, Coverage Flip, OLB Flip, MLB Flip, DE Flip||Increased pass rush opportunities and disguised blitzing. Stuff the run with increased penetration.||Vulnerable to quick passes if outside linebackers blitz. Avoid against multiple receiver sets.|
|3-4 Even||Three defensive linemen, four linebackers, and four defensive backs. Outside linebackers crowd the line and middle linebackers tighten up.||CB Swap, Safety Swap, Coverage Flip, OLB Flip, MLB Flip, DE Flip||Balanced run stoppage for inside and outside runs.||Tighter formation could be vulnerable to the pass.|
|3-4 Stack||Three defensive linemen, four linebackers, and four defensive backs. Resembles a 4-3 in alignment.||CB Swap, Safety Swap, Coverage Flip, OLB Flip, MLB Flip, DE Flip||A 4-3 look for your excellent linebackers. Variation in pass rushing for fast outside linebackers.||Avoid using against heavy passing situations.|
|46 Normal||Four defensive linemen, three linebackers, four defensive backs but shifts one safety up to the linebacker position leaving one safety deep.||Speed, OLB Swap||Similar to 4-3 but safety provides extra run stopping support. Pressuring defense.||Vulnerable to deep passes with just one safety back. Avoid using against heavy passing situations and multiple receiver sets.|
|46 Bear||Six defensive linemen (some are linebackers on the line), one linebacker, three defensive backs with one safety playing in a linebacker spot leaving one deep safety.||46 Swap, LB/DE Swap, LB Coverage||Combines the 46 Normal and 4-3 Over defenses. Increased pressure along the line for stronger run defense and pressure.||Weak pass defense. Avoid using against multiple receiver sets.|
|Nickel Normal||Four defensive linemen, two linebackers, five defensive backs.||Strong Nickel, Strong Shift, CB Swap, Safety Swap, LOLB Right, LOLB Left, LB Swap||An additional defensive back helps protect against the pass. Be sure the "nickel back" is lined up against the slot receiver. Optimum against 3 WR sets.||Losing a linebacker means losing a good tackler. Use packages to ensure best corners are against best receivers. Your nickel back isn’t as skilled as your starters, usually.|
|Nickel Strong||Same as nickel but shifts the safety toward the strong side.||Strong Nickel, Strong Shift, CB Swap, Safety Swap, LOLB Right, LOLB Left||Increased safety help on the strong side. Helps provide additional coverage on a stacked formation (where more receivers and/or tight ends are on one side).||Similar to the standard nickel. Also the safety shifted over could leave the other side open, especially if there are backs on pass patterns.|
|Nickel 1-5-5, 1-5-5 Prowl||One defensive lineman, five linebackers, five defensive backs. Crowded line of scrimmage with basically one MLB (prowl with two). Found in the New England playbook.||DE Pass Rush, MLB Swap (MLB 2 in Prowl), OLB Swap, CB Swap, Safety Swap, SS Nickel, FS Nickel||Five linebackers help defend against a run and five defensive backs help defend the pass. Allows for some blitzing variation.||Can be a weak run defense if your linebackers focus on coverage.|
|Nickel 2-4-5||Two defensive linemen, four linebackers, five defensive backs.||DE Pass Rush, MLB Swap, OLB Swap, CB Swap, Safety Swap, SS Nickel, FS Nickel||Added linebackers help defend against an unexpected run. In the 3-4 playbook because of the team’s typical linebacker skill.||Need to increase pass rush with linebacker pressure.|
|Nickel 3-3-5||Three defensive linemen, three linebackers, and five defensive backs.||4th CB, OLB Flip, Safety NB, Safety Flip, DE Flip, CB Flip||An added linebacker to defend the run or short passing.||Need to increase pass rush with linebacker pressure.|
|Dime Normal||Four defensive linemen, one linebacker, six defensive backs.||ROLB, LOLB, CB Swap, LB Pass Rush||Six defensive backs to counter the passing game. Use against four or more wide receiver sets.||Weak against an unexpected run.|
|Dime Flat||Same as dime but closes safeties in and backs off corners.||ROLB, LOLB, CB Swap, DE Swap, DT Swap, LB Rush||Defenders are tighter and closer to the line to protect against run or short passing. Good for end zone defense.||Weaker against deep passing.|
|Quarters Normal||Three defensive linemen, one linebacker, seven defensive backs.||Linebackers, LB Pass Rush, LOLB, ROLB, CB Flip, Safety Swap, Slot CB Flip, SS Tight,||Seven defensive backs as a pass prevent defense.||Easy to run against.|
|Quarters 3 Deep||Same as quarters but shifts a defensive back into a deep safety position for three deep safeties.||ROLB Swap, CB Swap, Safety Swap, Coverage Swap, Slot Swap, LB Pass Rush, LOLB Swap||Three deep safeties to protect against the deep ball. Use in long yardage situations.||Easy to run against.|
|Dollar Normal||Eight defensive backs.||4th CB, MLB/ROLB Swap, MLB/LOLB Swap, Safety Flip, CB Strong RT, CB Strong LT,||Eight players focused on stopping the pass. Use in certain passing situations (long yardage) or even in the red zone to crowd the end zone.||You have a lot of bad tacklers on the field if your opponent runs the ball!|
After you’ve called your defensive formation and personnel, you can still make adjustments to your current alignment. You can make shifts to the line, linebackers, or defensive backs to guard against your opponent’s tendencies or expected play.
|POSITION||SHIFTS (LEFT STICK)||COMMENTARY|
|Defensive Line||Shift outside tackles, shift tight between tackles, shift line left, shift line right||Against an expected inside run, shift line tighter; against an expected outside run, spread line out. Shift line toward a left or right run or toward a tight end to bump him at the line.|
|Linebackers||Spread linebackers out, shift linebackers in tight, shift linebackers left, shift linebackers right||Against an expected inside run, shift linebackers tighter; against an expected outside run, spread linebackers out. Shift linebackers left or right against corresponding run or to help free up blitzing linebackers.|
|Defensive Backs||Put defensive backs into bump and run (tighter coverage at line), put defensive backs in loose coverage, show blitz or align coverage.||Play tight coverage when your defensive backs have an advantage over opponent’s receivers; play looser against expected deep passes. Show blitz to disguise coverage and perhaps force opponent to throw earlier. Align to line defenders up against their assignment.|
By using the right stick, you can use "hot routes" for the different defenders.
|POSITION||HOT ROUTES (RIGHT STICK)||COMMENTARY|
|Defensive Line||Crash the line left, crash the line right, crash the line outside, or crash the line inside.||Adjust the line depending on where you think the run play will go. Crash left or right against runs expected in those directions. Crashing outside can help guard against either and inside against inside runs.|
|Linebackers||Blitz the left linebacker, blitz the right linebacker, hook zones for all linebackers (up), blitz all linebackers (down).||Change your defensive call at the linebacker position with these hot routes. Add pass rush to the left or right side (or all) with linebacker pressure or call them back into a zone to protect the middle of the field.|
|Defensive Backs||Shift deep zones left, right, or out.||Shift deep zone coverage toward the side of the field with more receivers.|
Managing your Defense
Bolster your defense with these general strategies. These include tips on play calling, containment, and choosing your coverage.
- Offensive personnel often dictate your defensive play calling decisions. An opponent could certainly call pass plays out of goal line formation or run plays out of four wide receiver shotgun formation but you must put your defense in the best position to counter the play. If you see the offensive personnel as four wide receivers, call a nickel, dime, quarter, or dollar defense. If you see the offensive personnel as all tight ends and running backs, counter with a 4-3 or 3-4 defense. These aren’t always the correct decisions but if you see that it’s 2nd and 1 and assume a run and call goal line and then the offense sends out four wide receivers, your personnel aren’t equipped to stop the play.
- Madden 07 expands player stats considerably and breaks down defensive players with block shedding, pursuit, and coverage statistics. Check your favorite team’s defensive players and know which defender excels in man or zone coverage. Stronger man coverage cornerbacks can be left against your opponent’s top receivers while weaker man coverage corners may need extra zone or double-team help. Who’s your fastest linebacker with excellent block shedding to use for aggressive blitzing? Know your personnel.
- If you’re up against a player who likes crossing routes through the field’s center, call defensive plays with middle linebackers in zone coverage. That will protect the middle of the field but can leave the route open if the quarterback is patient enough (couple with a blitz package to put pressure on the quarterback). If your opponent uses a lot of flat passes, call a zone defense that moves linebackers or corners in the flat. Watch deep outs or fades against zone coverage.
- Counter a team with one excellent wide receiver with double coverage. There are many defensive plays that will double certain receiver positions. The safety (usually) will move up to help defend against the particular receiver. Many receivers are skilled enough to conquer double coverage but it’s a play that could lead to an interception against a careless quarterback.
- Defending against the scrambling quarterback can be a challenge. Look for defenses with outside blitzes, such as a corner blitz, or defenses that use "spies" that will follow the quarterback around the field to help against the fleet footed signal callers (the speed of Vick and Vince Young are especially dangerous). An outside blitzing defender can help push the quarterback back to the inside where defensive help will be found (or if you lucky make the tackle). Avoid dive tackling the quarterback and instead just contain until help arrives. This would be important for any tackles. Don’t dive haphazardly. Force a runner right or left instead of downfield to give other defenders time to shed blocks and reach the ball carrier.
- There’s no "best defender to control" in the game. It’s a personal preference. Just be sure that you follow the defender’s role. If the defender is assigned to man coverage, then you need to follow the assignment or you will leave a receiver open. If the defender is in zone coverage, remain in the zone or a receiver could enter the zone and find it quite empty.
Top Ranked Defensive Linemen
Here are the top ranked defensive linemen available in Madden 07.
|Dwight Freeney||Indianapolis Colts||RE||98||87||76||87||76||87||99||83||97||84|
|Julius Peppers||Carolina Panthers||LE||97||86||82||88||77||94||98||89||90||75|
|Richard Seymour||New England Patriots||RE||97||72||92||70||88||98||91||93||87||88|
|Michael Strahan||New York Giants||LE||97||76||86||72||85||96||97||92||88||96|
|Casey Hampton||Pittsburgh Steelers||DT||97||58||98||59||97||99||67||98||75||86|
|Marcus Stroud||Jacksonville Jaguars||DT||97||66||94||67||89||97||87||97||82||80|
|Jamal Williams||San Diego Chargers||DT||96||54||98||49||93||98||67||96||70||88|
|Jason Taylor||Miami Dolphins||RE||96||82||74||78||83||90||97||85||88||91|
|Simeon Rice||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||RE||95||84||74||78||76||83||97||82||92||93|
|Shaun Rogers||Detroit Lions||DT||95||63||96||64||92||95||75||97||73||80|
Top Ranked Linebackers
This chart compiles the top ranked linebackers in Madden 07.
|Ray Lewis||Baltimore Ravens||MLB||98||83||75||83||83||96||99||99||98|
|Brian Urlacher||Chicago Bears||MLB||98||88||78||93||88||95||96||98||92|
|Joey Porter||Pittsburgh Steelers||ROLB||97||85||77||95||82||90||91||92||92|
|Derrick Brooks||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||ROLB||97||82||72||86||86||89||84||97||98|
|Zach Thomas||Miami Dolphins||MLB||96||75||78||80||74||96||97||99||98|
|Keith Bulluck||Tennessee Titans||ROLB||96||86||73||90||87||90||92||94||86|
|Julian Peterson||Seattle Seahawks||ROLB||96||66||74||90||87||91||90||97||88|
|Al Wilson||Denver Broncos||MLB||95||86||75||88||83||94||87||96||92|
|Keith Brooking||Atlanta Falcons||ROLB||95||82||79||85||76||92||95||90||90|
|Takeo Spikes||Buffalo Bills||ROLB||95||82||84||83||79||92||99||91||92|
Top Ranked Defensive Backs
Here are the top ranked cornerbacks and safeties in Madden 07.
|Champ Bailey||Denver Broncos||CB||99||98||98||99||99||95||65||94||93|
|Ed Reed||Baltimore Ravens||SS||99||93||92||93||90||97||67||91||93|
|Troy Polamalu||Pittsburgh Steelers||SS||98||93||95||91||75||85||87||85||80|
|Brian Dawkins||Philadelphia Eagles||FS||98||90||92||92||85||98||80||87||92|
|Darren Sharper||Minnesota Vikings||FS||96||88||87||85||84||96||70||84||92|
|Chris McAlister||Baltimore Ravens||CB||95||94||97||95||91||95||68||97||92|
|Sean Taylor||Washington Redskins||FS||95||91||94||93||85||96||85||95||71|
|Roy Williams||Dallas Cowboys||SS||94||85||90||82||55||80||90||78||85|
|Rodney Harrison||New England Patriots||SS||94||82||84||78||58||88||92||70||94|
|Ronde Barber||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||CB||94||88||95||94||83||99||70||91||95|
Chapter 5 - Online Strategies
All-Madden difficulty can put up quite a challenge but you won’t see some of the unpredictable situations you’ll find against a human opponent. You may find an online opponent blitzing every single play on defense or scrambling with the quarterback on every offensive play (expect a lot of this!). This section provides some tips on navigating the unpredictable play of online opponents.
- Consider your team selection as well as your opponent’s team selection. Expect to face a lot of Atlanta Falcons online! Madden players just can’t resist Vick’s speedy legs. You’ll face a lot of drop back, scramble around, and either chuck it 50 yards downfield or run outside and around your sluggish line and linebackers. Counter these players with outside blitzes and containment defenses (especially those that include spies that follow the quarterback). Don’t go for dive tackles or you’ll miss and Vick will pick up another 20 yards running the football.
- If you’re a fan of the NFL you’ll know who’s who on each team and know who to get the ball to on your offense and who to watch out for on your opponent’s offense. Know the playmakers. Know which of your receivers can stretch a defense deep and which is better on hooks or out patterns that don’t require game-breaking speed. Know your opponent’s best player and game plan to shut down that player.
- You can use Madden 07’s new lead blocker feature online; however, realize that your opponent can see the "yellow circle" that’s selecting your lead blocker. This obviously will tip your opponent off to a run as well as the direction of the run. You can use that information to your advantage, though, and toggle through blockers on a pass play. When you hike the ball, you’ll gain control of the quarterback immediately as if you hadn’t even selected lead blocker mode.
- When you’re up against an opponent who likes to make frequent defensive adjustments, such as showing blitz or aligning coverage, don’t hesitate to quick snap the ball. A defense that’s shifting around can be caught out of position. Against an opponent who blitzes frequently, be wary of the play action pass. The animation is rather slow and gives a lot of time for blitzing defenders to reach your quarterback. Focus on quick passes, such as receiver screens or slants to counter the blitz.
- The mental game begins at the coin toss. A lot of online players will elect to kickoff when they’ve won the coin toss. Kicking off to start the game means getting the ball first at the start of the second half. Many players try to capitalize on this by scoring late in the second half and hoping to put up more points at the start of the second half. This is a also a good strategy for teams with strong defenses because you put a solid unit on the field to start the game. Shut down your opponent here and you further elevate the advantage.
- Observe your opponent’s tendencies throughout the game. Don’t be rigid in your game plan. If something’s not working, change it. Figure out how to counter your opponent’s strategy. If your opponent likes to play run defense when you’re on 1st and 10, call a pass play disguised as a run play. If your opponent blitzes heavily, call formations with additional blockers or plays with quick outlet passes. Burn your opponent enough times and he’ll have to lay off the blitz. When on defense, check your opponent’s personnel before calling a defensive formation. On offense, be unpredictable and pass in expected run situations and run in expected pass situations.
- Utilize the clock to your advantage. The pro football game has a long play clock. If you’re ahead late in the game and have the ball, don’t rush things. Call your play, get to the line, and run down some clock before hiking the ball. On the flip side, use your time outs wisely. You may need them on offense to make a last second comeback or on defense to try and stop the opposition for one last try for the win.
Chapter 6 - Achievements
This section reveals Madden 07 Xbox 360 achievements and completion tips. The table below reveals all Madden 07 achievements, corresponding description and gamer score.
|Madden Gamer Level 2||Successfully reach a Madden Gamer Level of 2||10|
|Madden Gamer Level 10||Successfully reach a Madden Gamer Level of 10||20|
|Madden Gamer Level 20||Successfully reach a Madden Gamer Level of 20||40|
|Madden Gamer Level 30||Successfully reach a Madden Gamer Level of 30||70|
|Madden Gamer Level 40||Successfully reach a Madden Gamer Level of 40||85|
|Madden Gamer Level 50||Successfully reach a Madden Gamer Level of 50||100|
|Season Record: Receive TD||Set the season record for Receiving Touchdowns||20|
|Season Record: Receiving Yards||Set the season record for Receiving Yards||20|
|Season Record: Receptions||Set the season record for Receptions||20|
|Season Record: Rush Touchdowns||Set the season record for Rushing Touchdowns||20|
|Season Record: Rush Yards||Set the season record for Rushing Yards||20|
|Season Record: Pass Yards||Set the season record for Pass Yards||20|
|Season Record: Pass TD||Set the season record for Passing Touchdowns||20|
|Season Record: Sacks||Set the season record for Sacks||20|
|Season Record: INT’s||Set the season record for Interceptions||20|
|Game Record: Interceptions||Set the single game record for Interceptions||10|
|Game Record: Sacks||Set the single game record for Sacks||10|
|Game Record: Pass Yards||Set the single game record for Passing Yards||10|
|Game Record: Pass Touchdowns||Set the single game record for Pass Touchdowns||10|
|Game Record: Rushing Yards||Set the single game record for Rushing Yards||10|
|Game Record: Rush TD’s||Set the single game record for Rushing Touchdowns||10|
|Game Record: Receptions||Set the single game record for Receptions||10|
|Game Record: Receiving Yards||Set the single game record for Receiving Yards||10|
|Game Record: Receiving TD’s||Set the single game record for Receiving Touchdowns||10|
|All-Madden Shut Out||Pitch a shut out on All-Madden difficulty||10|
|30 Years of Franchise||Complete 30 years of Franchise mode||100|
|Perfect Season||Successfully complete a Perfect Season||30|
|Super Bowl Win||Win the Super Bowl||30|
|Import Draft Class||Successfully import a Draft Class||10|
|Mini-Games||Enter the Mini-Games mode||5|
|Create-A-Player||Successfully create a player||5|
|Live Opponent||Play a Live Opponent game||5|
|SS Season: 30 Pass TDs||30 Pass TDs in Superstar Mode season||10|
|SS Season: 10 Receiving TDs||10 Receiving TDs in Superstar Mode season||10|
|SS Season: 1400 Rush Yards||1400 Rushing Yards in Superstar Mode season||10|
|SS Season: 140 Tackles||140 Tackles in Superstar Mode season||10|
|SS Season: 16 Sacks||16 Sacks in Superstar Mode season||10|
|SS Season: 7 Forced Fumbles||7 Forced Fumbles in Superstar Mode season||10|
|SS Season: 7 INTs||7 INTs in Superstar Mode season||10|
|SS Career: 200 Pass TD’s||200 Pass TD’s in Superstar Mode career||20|
|SS Career: 60 Receiving TDs||60 Receiving TDs in Superstar Mode career||20|
|SS Career: 10000 Rush Yards||10000 Rush Yards in Superstar Mode career||20|
|SS Career: 500 Tackles||500 Tackles in Superstar Mode career||20|
|SS Career: 100 Sacks||100 Sacks in Superstar Mode career||20|
|SS Career: 20 Forced Fumbles||20 Forced Fumbles in Superstar Mode career||20|
|SS Career: 25 Interceptions||25 Interceptions in Superstar Mode career||20|
Madden 07 increases the achievement difficulty somewhat over last year’s game. However, there is a "workaround" of sorts to clear out a large chunk of the achievements with very little effort on your part (so much for difficulty). You can reach the highest Madden level and break season and game records through simulations. Select franchise mode and select every single team in the league. Then just start simulating seasons.
There’s a 100 point achievement for completing 30 years franchise mode so that’s a good target number. Keep simulating seasons until you reach 30, which will unlock that achievement and should knock out many of the single season and single game record achievements as well. Simulating a season will also knock out the Super Bowl win and, if you’re patient and don’t mind restarting each week, could complete the perfect season.
The few 5 point achievements are easy. Just enter the mini-games section (you don’t even have to play) to unlock one achievement; create-a-player to unlock a second 5 point achievement; and play a Live Opponent game. You need a Gold account to complete this achievement it seems. Go to the Play Now screen, select a team and hit LB on your controller to connect to live and unlock the achievement-without having to play the game.
Superstar mode achievements can be simulated as well but are much more time consuming to achieve (since there are different positions). You can tweak AI sliders or even move penalty sliders, such as Offside, to zero, if you want to do it without simulation but still easily. Getting sacks or tackles is cake with no offside penalties! Just line up next to the quarterback or running back, without touching the offensive player, and get an easy sack or tackle after the ball is snapped.
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