Madden 25 Sim for Wild Card Weekend - Sunday Games
How accurate are Madden simulations? I simmed all Wild Card weekend playoff games on Madden 25 on Playstation 4, and just like real football, my virtual football players had just one chance to prove their worth; this is not the average of multiple simulations. The quarters were set for six minutes and the difficulty set to All-Pro. The entire game was simulated (no user-controlled plays).
This post analyzes the simulations to find out what Madden will get right and what it will get wrong. The below simulations are for Sunday’s games. You can find simulations for Saturday’s games here.
Madden Says: 49ers – 20, Packers – 17
|Aaron Rodgers||28 of 50, 273 yds, 2 TD/2 INT||Colin Kaepernick||21 of 37, 296 yds, 0 TD/2 INT, 7 car, 16 yds, 0 TD|
|Eddie Lacy||12 car, 51 yds, 0 TD||Frank Gore||26 car, 102 yds, 0 TD|
|Jordy Nelson||8 rec, 101 yds, 1 TD||Anquan Boldin||9 rec, 140 yds, 0 TD|
|James Jones||7 rec, 66 yds, 0 TD||Michael Crabtree||5 rec, 87 yds, 0 TD|
|Randall Cobb||4 rec, 40 yds, 0 TD||Vernon Davis||2 rec, 6 yds, 0 TD|
What will come true
1) Jordy Nelson leading the Packers in receptions.
Nelson had 85 receptions on the season, nearly 30 more than any other Packers receiver. Had Randall Cobb played all 16 games, he would have finished with around 85 as well, but Cobb is still getting back into the swing of things — he played just 47.8 percent of Green Bay’s snaps in Week 17.
In Rodgers’ first game back from injury, Nelson had season-highs in targets (15), receptions (10), and yards (161). I think Nelson will be the go-to guy when Rodgers drops back to pass again.
2) Aaron Rodgers throwing for less than 300 yards.
Quarterbacks are no longer esteemed for breaking the 300-yard mark, but doing so in this game’s expected weather conditions would be worthy of praise — I just don’t think he’ll do it. Rodgers threw for over 300 yards in four of the eight full games he played this season, including Week 17 against the Bears. But that game turned into a shootout, which likely won’t happen against the 49ers.
3) Frank Gore carrying the ball over 20 times.
I think the 49ers are going to hand the ball off a lot in this game — Colin Kaepernick won’t be able to run all over the Packers by himself again. So that means a heavy dose of Frank Gore.
Gore had more than 20 carries in six games this season, including back-to-back games in Weeks 15 and 16. The 26 carries Madden predicts would be a season-high, but 20 is not out of the question.
4) Anquan Boldin coming through.
He might not finish the real game with nine receptions and 140 yards, but he has traditionally been a safe bet in the playoffs. Boldin caught four touchdowns in four playoff games with the Ravens last season.
Boldin has seven straight games with a positive PFF grade. He also finished this season with 0.53 PPO (fantasy points per opportunity), second most among all receivers. The only player ahead of him in terms of PPO? Calvin Johnson.
What won’t come true
1) Eddie Lacy finishing with just 12 carries.
The second-team All-Pro rookie has carried the ball more than 12 times in all but two games this season, and in one of those he was knocked out of after just one carry.
Excluding the games in which he was injured, Lacy averaged over 20 carries per game. And that didn’t change when Rodgers came back; Lacy carried the ball 21 times in Week 17.
2) Colin Kaepernick, Frank Gore, Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree, and Vernon Davis all failing to score.
I mean, really, Madden? It’s possible that Gore will have a touchdown vulture from him, but one of these five is going to score a touchdown.
3) Vernon Davis having just six yards.
Davis ending with two catches isn’t the most unrealistic thing — he has averaged just 2.8 catches per game over the past nine weeks — but gaining only six yards is not likely to happen.
Davis averaged 16.3 YPC on the season. That’s of note because he averaged 16.3 YPC in the Week 1 game against the Packers, when he gained 98 yards and scored twice.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. San Diego Chargers
Madden Says: Bengals – 34, Chargers – 20
|Philip Rivers||26 of 43, 271 yds, 2 TD/1 INT||Andy Dalton||25 of 41, 292 yds, 3 TD/0 INT|
|Ryan Mathews||19 car, 73 yds, 1 TD||Giovani Bernard||11 car, 46 yds, 0 TD, 3 rec, 32 yds, 0 TD|
|Vincent Brown||7 rec, 83 yds, TD||BenJarvus Green-Ellis||9 car, 51 yds, 1 TD, 3 rec, 20 yds, 0 TD|
|Eddie Royal||6 rec, 52 yds, 1 TD||A.J. Green||4 rec, 94 yds, 1 TD|
|Antonio Gates||5 rec, 64 yds, 0 TD||Jermaine Gresham||7 rec, 42 yds, 2 TD|
|Keenan Allen||3 rec, 34 yds, 0 TD||Marvin Jones||5 rec, 80 yds, 0 TD|
What will come true
1) “Good” Andy Dalton showing up.
The “Good” Andy Dalton and “Bad” Andy Dalton narrative is based in truth. He has eight games this season with a negative PFF grade and eight games with a positive PFF grade.
However, Dalton is on a streak of four straight games with a positive grade. In two of those games he was just barely graded positively, but they count nonetheless. Madden seems thinks he will make it five straight, and I don’t see any reason to disagree; San Diego’s defense did struggle against Kansas City’s second stringers, after all.
2) Ryan Mathews scoring a touchdown.
Over the last nine games of the season, Mathews scored a touchdown in six of them. He also averaged over 26 carries per game over the last four weeks, and there’s no reason he won’t carry the load again this weekend.
3) Giovani Bernard finishing with 11 carries.
Bernard’s carries since Week 10: 14, 10, 14, 12, 13, 13, 13.
He was one of the best in terms of yards per carry for the majority of the season, but struggled down the stretch. He averaged 2.5, 1.5, and 1.7 YPC in Weeks 15, 16, and 17, respectively, so it’s possible the Bengals will give BenJarvus Green-Ellis — a player with playoff experience — a slightly larger role if Bernard can’t get it going right off the bat.
4) A.J. Green having 90-plus yards and a touchdown.
If “Good” Andy Dalton really does show up, that will mean good things for Green. Green saw 39 targets over the last three weeks of the season, second most among all wide receivers.
What won’t come true
1) Vincent Brown ending with seven receptions for 83 yards.
Brown caught seven passes in both Weeks 4 and 5, but hasn’t caught more than three in a game since then. He also gained more than 40 yards just once since Week 5.
2) BenJarvus Green Ellis catching three passes.
He had four receptions the entire season.
3) Jermaine Gresham scoring two touchdowns.
He did have four touchdowns in the regular season — all of which came in the second half of the season — but he has never had a multi-touchdown game in his career.