The 2020 NFL Draft is just a few of weeks away and the dust seems to have settled on the first wave of free agency.
Between big signings, big trades and big departures, the league looks quite a bit different than it did when we last saw all 32 teams take the field for Week 17 of the 2019 regular season. And, as is usually the case in the offseason, the itch to play some football is starting to set in — which has got me thinking about Madden NFL 20. More specifically, how fun some of these new changes are going to be once they're worked into the game this summer.
Which ones change the game the most? Which new fits am I most eager to try out?
Kyler Murray to DeAndre Hopkins
Expect to see a whole lot of this one when you play ranked matches online. Kyler Murray's mobility and arm talent throwing to DeAndre “Nuk” Hopkins? With Kenyan Drake back for another go in 2020? Man, oh, man. That's a pretty exciting proposition, especially when you consider Murray’s willingness to let wide receivers go up and get it. This is going to be one of the hottest combos, so get your popcorn ready. I'm fixing to try it out myself. Bring the blitz if you'd like or sit back in zone; the makings are here for an unstoppable duo.
Tom Brady to Mike Evans, Chris Godwin
It still hasn't really settled in that we're going to get Tom Brady versus Drew Brees twice in the upcoming season and that Brady, a year after throwing to Mohamed Sanu, Julian Edelman and Matt LaCosse, will now be throwing to perhaps the best one-two punch at receiver. Brady's quick decision making and ability to slide within the pocket should afford the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the chance to hang up plenty of points in real life; getting Mike Evans and Chris Godwin in the virtual world with Brady's accuracy is sure to draw the ire of many online gamers too. The first time I break this combo out, rest assured I'm running four ‘verts' on every play and seeing what kind of magic we can make.
The Dolphins' secondary vs. the Bills’ wide receivers
The Miami Dolphins' secondary is a fun group. They boast the most expensive units in football and feature two press man corners in Byron Jones and Xavien Howard. At safety, Miami has separate defenders who have ample experience playing cornerback in Bobby McCain and Eric Rowe. Rowe had a career year in 2019 once he transitioned to strong safety and the addition of Jones will make this AFC East clash a lot more fun to test. The Buffalo Bills have a mobile passer who can extend plays with his legs and launch it deep but also now have a lot of potent quick game potential; so having "in your face" corners will look to try to throw the Bills' offensive timing on ice.
The Broncos vs. the Chiefs
The Denver Broncos aren't on the Kansas City Chiefs level yet; not by a long shot. But it is easy to start to like what Denver is turning into as John Elway bounces back from a shaky stretch as the main architect of this Broncos squad. Drew Lock passing to Noah Fant, Courtland Sutton and a mystery receiver via the draft while also having the chance to hand off to Melvin Gordon behind an evolving and maturing offensive line should equate to a fair amount of points on the board.
Whenever these two teams draw each other in the virtual world, bet the over.
The Patriots vs. the salary cap
If I were crafting a big board of preferred teams to start a franchise with in Madden’s franchise mode, the New England Patriots would probably be 32nd. Why? New England has a brutal cap situation, no definitive answers at the quarterback position and, to top it all off, the coaching brilliance of Bill Belichick in the virtual world. So yes, New England is still very much a threat to win 10 games in real life. But if I'm taking my talents to Madden, I'll be staying far away from Foxborough, Massachusetts.