With coaching camp in full swing and the preseason just two months away, the 2017 NFL season is finally upon us. Along with the roster cuts and conclusion of position battles that usually greets us at the end of August comes Madden, as well, a video game franchise that has become so permanently ingrained in football culture that it is impossible to envision the sport without it. For most Buffalo Bills fans that have suffered a lengthy playoff drought, it might serve as helpful escapism.
While Madden 18 starts on August 25th, rosters have already found their way online. Madden-school. Com has released player ratings for many teams, and, as is tradition, it's time to analyze them.
Offensively, the Bills are led by stud running back LeSean McCoy. After an excellent season in 2016, McCoy has been given a 92 complete evaluation, good for third among all running backs (behind only LeVeon Bell and David Johnson). McCoy's large juke, spin, and agility stats make him an absolute nightmare to guard against. Behind him, but there is not much to work with; Jonathan Williams has been given only a 64 overall while journeyman Joe Banyard includes a 69 overall. Maintaining McCoy brand new will be key for anyone playing as Buffalo.
Tyrod Taylor is still one of the better quarterbacks to use in Madden. At 82 overall, his agility and speed are dangerous, and while he doesn't have the strongest arm (91), he makes up for it in accuracy (83). Mobile quarterbacks are dangerous in video games since the days of Randall Cunningham at Tecmo Bowl, and Taylor is no different.
Taylor's weapons are far more of a mixed bag. Sammy Watkins and Charles Clay (equally 86 total) are his finest pass-catchers, while McCoy has a pretty high grab rating out of the backfield also. The wide receiver position behind Watkins can be a tiny question mark; Philly Brown (77 total), Andre Holmes (76 general), and Zay Jones (74 total) will be your choices to complement the undisputed WR1. Taking a look at the individual evaluations, however, Jones appears to be the most suitable choice. While he is not as fast as Brown, he has the maximum grab rating out of almost any wideout on the team (88), meaning that he will be a trusted player to lean on.
Eric Wood has been severely underrated by Madden in a 73 overall with abysmal individual skills, while the right side of the line is manned by John Miller (76 total) and rookie Dion Dawkins (76 overall).
The Bills are led on the other side of the ball by veteran defensive tackles Kyle Williams (87 overall) and Marcel Dareus (85 overall). As has been the case for many years now, the interior of Buffalo's defensive line is rock solid.
Jerry Hughes (81 overall) has a high finesse moves rating of 88, making him a dangerous pass rusher. The only weakness on the defensive line is Shaq Lawson (76 overall), whose poor individual skills will likely result in him being a non-factor in competitive play.
At linebacker, Lorenzo Alexander (84 overall) is the only playmaker. After a renaissance year in 2016, he was rewarded with a power moves rating of 87, which can make him a horror on blitzes. Oddly enough, the second-best LB is Gerald Hodges (79 overall), a participant who will have to compete for a role on defense in actual life, while Preston Brown (74 overall) and Reggie Ragland (73 total) are the center linebackers.
The Bills secondary has seen a ton of turnover in the offseason, and the region has the capacity to be a serious liability in Madden. Ronald Darby (79 overall) and Tre'Davious White (78 overall) lead the bunch, but White is the actual star of the bunch. Despite being a late-first round draft pick, White has higher ratings in the zone and man coverage compared to Darby and is the highest-rated beginner corner from the match despite being the fifth one drafted. He is a stud and the pride of this secondary. The flexible Micah Hyde (76 total) is that the team's strong security, and could likely observe a rating jump right into his pay grade if he excels in the part.
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