6 January 2017

Just in time for NFL Playoffs 2016, our Madden 17 simulation series is back to take a crack at the NFL Wild Card Weekend matchups.

What a long, strange trip it’s been this past NFL season. We saw a rookie quarterback (and probable Rookie of the Year) light up the league, only for fans of his team to doubt him after a two-week “slide.” We saw the Minnesota Vikings go from absolute shocker out the gate to a team that missed the playoffs. Rex Ryan took his ostensibly-decked-out Bills truck home after being fired, and Chip Kelly might be heading back to college as we speak.

More importantly, after 12 weeks of absolutely appalling results, our Madden 17 simulations took a turn for the worse. We’re back again on the eve of NFL Playoffs 2016 and are hoping for better results with simulations for the Wild Card Weekend. Buckle up: it’s time for some football!

If you’re new to this feature, the NFL Wild Card Weekend matchups are simulated using a PS4 copy of Madden 17 on All-Pro difficulty, completed using six-minute quarters. Once the prompt for kickoff/kick return appears, we press the Super Sim button to simulate the results. Screenshots are grabbed after the results are presented.

Let’s see if Madden 17 still doesn’t like Brock Osweiler now that he’s in the playoffs.

Madden 17 NFL Playoffs Wild Card Weekend Oakland Raiders Houston Texans

EA Sports

Oakland Raiders 19 – Houston Texans 14

With two teams having to rely on their lesser quarterbacks in a decisive Wild Card matchup, everything is up in the air. There is a large amount of pressure squared on the shoulders of Connor Cook and Brock Osweiler, each having to make this a statement game hoping that the results fall in their favor. Unfortunately, with one passing touchdown between them, neither truly stepped up in a way that should have fans looking forward to what happens next.

Connor Cook did the best he could, resulting in a throwing line of 23-39, 249 passing yards, a 58% completion rate, and a lone interception. His counterpart, despite hurling a touchdown pass, got picked off twice, completed just 19 of 45 passes and obtained 213 passing yards. Again, not the stat lines you’re looking for, but considering Cook is being thrown head first into the fire with the injury to Derek Carr, he did what he could.

As the stats suggest, it was the running games of both the Oakland Raiders and the Houston Texans that left their marks on their respective offenses. Latavius Murray was the go-to guy of the evening, trusted on 33 rushing attempts and racked up 129 rushing yards and a touchdown. He did fumble three times on the day, however, which would be a problem if the Raiders were facing most other teams. Lamar Miller had 77 yards rushing and a touchdown on the day, but it wasn’t enough to give the Texans a win at home.

Next: Detroit Lions at Seattle Seahawks

Madden 17 NFL Playoffs Wild Card Weekend Detroit Lions Seattle Seahawks

EA Sports

Detroit Lions 9 – Seattle Seahawks 27

The Seattle Seahawks took an important first step towards their goal of making the Superbowl in three of the past four seasons by taking down a Detroit Lions team that just squeaked into the playoffs in the first place. Madden 17 doesn’t project a strong quarterback performance in this game either, with a measured passing and rushing effort for both teams.

Russell Wilson connected with Marcel Reece, of all people, for his lone touchdown of the evening, finishing up with 203 passing yards, an interception, and 20 for 33 passing. Matthew Stafford fared a bit better on the day from a QB rating standpoint, completing 17 of 29 passes for a touchdown and 171 yards, but with no interception. Neither QB sparked their respective offenses.

In fact, the Lions’ offensive game was slain before they even got the chance to get the ball rolling. With just 50 rushing yards, converting on just four of eleven 3rd downs, and by scoring just once in the red zone, the Seahawks defense went to work.

Next: Miami Dolphins at Pittsburgh Steelers

Madden 17 NFL Playoffs Wild Card Weekend Miami Dolphins Pittsburgh Steelers

EA Sports

Miami Dolphins 10 – Pittsburgh Steelers 41

One of three teams to make the NFL playoffs by scoring fewer points than allowed, the Miami Dolphins were promptly shown the door by a supremely more competent offense, according to Madden 17. Big Ben Roethlisberger completed 23 of 32 passes on the afternoon for 266 yards, racking up four massive touchdowns that put the Dolphins offense to shame.

Antonio Brown has been the main target of Roethlisberger’s eyes all season, and in the big playoff spot we got to see that magic replicated once more. He caught the ball nine times for 155 yards, scoring a touchdown. Eli Rogers was no slouch either, scoring two touchdowns on six catches for 53 yards. Wanting to get in on the action, Le’Veon Bell rushed for 119 yards and scored a touchdown on his own.

Despite having more wins than other division winners, the Miami Dolphins are going to have to go back to the old drawing board next season. With two turnovers, fewer than 297 yards of offense, converting just 25% of their 3rd down attempts and racking up tons of penalties, you’re just not going to get far in the NFL playoffs at all.

Next: New York Giants at Green Bay Packers

Madden 17 NFL Playoffs Wild Card Weekend New York Giants Green Bay Packers

EA Sports

New York Giants 31 – Green Bay Packers 25

No matter how much you try to contain his wondrous dad bod, it always unleashes its mighty power come playoff time (should the New York Giants make the NFL playoffs that year). I am, of course, talking about Eli Manning, who steered his team to victory against the Green Bay Packers on the road, in the (expected) subzero temperatures of Green Bay, Wisconsin. Never count Eli out.

Aaron Rodgers tried his best, single-handedly trying to keep his team in this game with a 34-44, 359 passing yards, and two-touchdown performance on the day to keep things within one scoring opportunity. Green Bay tried to keep things in the air as much as possible, with ten passes connecting to Jordy Nelson (104 yards), eight heading Randall Cobb’s way (34 yards), seven completed to Davante Adams (97 yards, touchdown), and five passes landing in the hands of Jared Cook (74 yards, touchdown).

The Giants, however, decided to balance out their offense, going to Paul Jerkins 27 times on the ground as he racked up 101 yards and a touchdown. By mixing things up between passing and rushing plays, the Packers defense was kept off kilter, as the Giants converted 62% of their 3rd downs. Considering the Packers converted just three of their ten 3rd down attempts, efficiency was the deciding factor in this Madden 17 matchup.