Madden 18 – NFC East – Team Preview
After 7 division previews we have saved the best division for last – the NFC East. This is one of the more interesting divisions in the leagues with all 4 teams offering value in some form. The Cowboys have their offensive line, the Giants have one of the best WR’s, Redskins have one of the more underrated OL and a great TE in the making and the Eagles have a fantastic defensive line which features Cox & Graham.
This is going to be one of the better divisions this year but who is the team to choose in this division, click here to read more!
This is a team I feel is very underrated in this years version by many people. There is a stockpile of talent on the defensive line with Cox, Graham & a personal favourite of mine being Jerningan. Couple that with a very talent offensive line which features 4 of the 5 starting lineman being over 80 OVR. Coupled this with a good group of WR’s with the addition of Jeffery this team is sneaky good.
Player to Watch: Jordan Hicks – When people talk about this team in Madden; Kendricks is the pick of the bunch and rightfully so in the past – but Hicks has overtaken him as my favourite Eagles LB. He has that combo of ACC (90) and fantastic awareness. Last year he was one of the best MLBs in the league in terms of coverage and his upgrades this year show that. In a game where it is so important to be able to cover the middle of the field he is the player to go to.
Over-Rated Player: Jason Kelce – Earlier I mentioned this team has 4/5 of its lineman rated 80+. Kelce is that player who sits outside of that. What makes him overrated is his salary, He is the 10th highest paid Eagles player on the roster and his rating doesn’t justify the level of cap that is being sacrificed. In Madden I’ve always felt the Centre is a position that you could take a rating drop. Although that has changed in recent years I would consider looking to move him and use that cap to upgrade what I believe is the Eagles biggest weakness.
Weakness: Corners – looking over the Eagles roster the depth at the corner positon is a problem. I really like the look of their rookie Sidney Jones (who was probably a top 20 pick before he got injured) and has tremendous upside but outside of him the cupboard is bare. In Madden the CB position is one of the most valuable positions on defense. If these guys can’t hold up on the backend to give the pass rush time your not going to get far. Make it a priority to upgrade this defensive back group but most importantly put a lot of practice points into Jones – by Season 3 in your CFM he could be a top 10 DB.
Wrap-Up: Overall there is a lot I like about this team – the defensive line and offense make this team a really good option. But the team is let down by their lack of anything in the DB’s outside of Jones & Mcleod. With that said the biggest weakness this team has is at the DB position and with everything else in place it makes this team easy to manage. The Eagles will be a team I’ll be looking to pick up in the mid picks of any draft. If they were to drop outside of a top 20 pick I would be very surprised.
Connected Franchise Grade: B-
The Redskins present an intriguing option to many CFM users. They offer value across the field with an elite corner, talented offensive line and a good cast of receiving options. Over the past few years it seems the NFC East teams have looked to adopt the blueprint set out a few years ago by the Cowboys by strengthening the O-line and the Redskins are a perfect example of this with some great talent across the line anchored by arguably the best LT in the game Trent Williams.
Player to Watch: Zach Brown– If you were able to catch my write up of the AFC East. You may recall I mention the loss of Zach Brown for the Bills being one of their larger losses. He played fantastic in Buffalo last season and he enters this Madden as an 85 Rated MLB with great acceleration to cover the routes across the middle. I do feel like I’m looking to much at MLB’s but I can’t stress how good Brown is and considering his only taking up 2.5m of Cap space the production potential this guy has presents excellent value for the cap space. He will be one of your favourite defensive players here.
Over-Rated Player: Kirk Cousins – This is really nothing against Cousins as a player it is more so the cap hit you take in relation to his ability. He will cost you a pretty penny at 23.9m in Season 1. This limits your ability from the get go. Sure if you sign him at the end of the season to a nice 3 year deal you’ll be ok. But knowing how the leagues go here you can always good some great value in trades from day 1 and he limits your ability. Coupled that with his not exactly in the top tier QB’s but your paying premium value for him here.
Weakness: Running Backs – I personally think the passing game is fairly good on this team you have reliable targets with Pryor and Doctson – not to forget your TE. But to get this all clicking together your going to need that running game to keep the defense honest. Looking at the Redskins backfield there isn’t a player there that scares you or makes you respect the run game. I think Perrine was a good pick up in the draft and Keeley was a surprise last season. But with a team with this sort of potential you want a home run threat that is going to make your opponent at least respect your run game and not just play 3-4 CB sets on you all day. Make this a priority of an upgrade and get an 80+ RB.
Wrap-Up: Similar to the Eagles in many ways – there is a lot to like in this Redskins team. They have the right pieces all around the field and a little better off in the key areas. They have a Top 5 CB, decent defense you can run with. The offense is good at most facets with the exception of the running game. Leaving not too much to be worried about from day 1. However there are a few too many question marks for me to mark this team higher. Kirk Cousins contract, Running Backs and defensive line.
Ultimately, this could be your sleeper team of Madden 18 – the pieces in the places you need and not much work to do to make them a force in the NFC. In the right hand can be deadly, I would say if this team was available at pick 15 I would be happy to take them.
Connected Franchise Grade: B
New York Giants
Before I started typing out this article I thought the Giants would be so so – a very solid CFM that you would expect to fall to pick 14-16 upper mid-tier. It wasn’t till I started preparing for this article I realised this team doesn’t have too many problems. Also they’ve got one of the best DB Units in the game with their 2 CB’s being 89 OVR and a 91 Safety. A fantastic trio of WR’s, Great defensive line with Harrison being a monster in the middle. This isn’t a mid-tier team they are top 10!
Player to Watch: Evan Engram – I love, love this draft pick – the Giants have been screaming for a top notch TE for a long time ever since Shockey left the team all those years back. They’ve had a few guys come in and do well but not hold down the position solid. Engram is your man – listen to these numbers 90 SPD, 91 ACC 82 CTH and this guy is just a rookie. Couple this with your WR combo and this team has the potential to put people into fits. Manning struggled last year with the long ball as he didn’t have this mid short option now he does and its going to make a difference there as much as is to your Madden Game. Engram = BEAST!
Overrated Player: Eli Manning – Eli had a terrific 2015 but then dropped off a cliff last season and he stats show that. His getting a little long in the tooth and the first thing I would look to get in is a successor. His 80 accruacy doesn’t set the world on fire and did I mention he eats up 19.7m of cap space. I personally don’t blame Eli overly I think the Offensive line and the running game have to take a bit of the blame and the other player I look at here is Ereck Flowers! This guy was a top 20 pick a few years ago and his development has been awful in the last 2 years his given up more QB pressures than any other lineman in the league. The guys at EA have made sure this reflects in his stats with a 71 did I mention this guy is your starting LT!
Weakness: Linebacker – As you may know I love a good LB. I personally think this is a position where the Giants need to improve with outside of Kennard there isn’t much to like here. Although with the quality of this pass defense I would just be looking for pass rushers. On a side note – if he makes it through training camp and stays with the Giants keep your eyes on Eric Pinkins he was a converted DB into LB has good speed and could be a good project player.
Wrap Up: Coming into this I had written this team as a good team. But my this is a deep team. There is talent all over the field with not many positions needing help beside LB, LT being the key ones – although I would still want to do something about the RB position.
In summary, if I was picking outside the top 5 this would be a team that would be on my list for that combo of DRC + Jenkins + Collins just brings all my fantasies to life!
Connected Franchise Grade: A-
The surprise package from last year, the Dallas Cowboys and boy has Madden being kind to these guys (rightfully so) they have one of the strongest OL in the game with 3 of their 5 starters being over 90 OVR. Couple this with some great players in key positions this team is a set contender. Outside of the big 3 on the offense I really like the look of Byron Jones who is going to be an awesome player. However there are a few weaknesses I don’t like in key areas which have me thinking the Giants might be the team to pick here.
Player to Watch: Anthony Brown -With Claibourne gone its Browns turn to take the mantel and put himself forward as the no 1 CB. This guy has mountains of potential and actually played very well down the stretch last season. He possesses that elite speed you’re going to need to need in this division. I think by the end of the first season he could be your number 1 cornerback.
Over-Rated Player: Tyrone Crawford – Crawford had a poor season last season not playing up to the standards he had set. He was a very middle of the park DE last year and considering he chomps away at 10.3m of cap space. The cap space he soaks up against his productivity doesn’t stack up and not to mention this is a position I consider a significant weakness for the team.
Weakness: Defensive Line – As mentioned the Cowboys defensive line has been lacking and it showed in the playoffs last season. They were rated 25th in team pass rush grades by PFF. With their DB’s providing a lot of support. Now Carr, Claibourne & Church are gone it becomes more critical than ever for the team to bring a long an elite pass rusher.
Wrap-Up: I really like this Cowboys team they have the right base to work with in all the right positions. The key spots are covered – there are a few question marks but these can be addressed in the first draft and through some trades. I will raise the possible issues that could come with this O-line being this deep. Zack Martin is due 9m in Year 2 and will require resigning. Also you have the potential issue with Witten close to retirement, there isn’t a clear backup to him.
On the face of things there is enough to love about this team and to warrant taking the team in the top 10 – they have their big 3 and good defenders in Sean Lee & Byron Jones. However in my opinion the Giants look the better Madden team. Although if run blocking is as important as has been rumored I reserve the right to change this grade.
Connected Franchise Grade: -A
So that covers off all our Divisional CFM Grades! I hope you have all enjoyed our series and this goes a long way to helping you choose what team you’re going to use for Madden 2018. We would love to hear what you thought of our CFM Grades what did we miss, what did we get wrong – give us a shoutout @MaddenPFL with your thoughts or better yet post your opinions on the forums.
Over the next day or two we will be releasing our consolidated team rankings which have been put together by the MaddenPFL Experts and Heli.
If you missed our Grades for the rest of the NFL you can check them out here: