Madden 25 Sim for Wild Card Weekend - Saturday Games
When you’re excited for Wild Card weekend but the games just aren’t coming fast enough, why not do the next best thing while you wait — simulate it?
I did just that with Madden 25 on Playstation 4, and I’m here to tell you what the simulation got right and what it got wrong. The post got lengthy, so this is only for Saturday’s Wild Card games. Look for another post on Sunday’s games later.
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).
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Indianapolis Colts
Madden Says: Chiefs – 31, Colts – 10
|Andrew Luck||24 of 44, 254 yds, 1 TD/1 INT||Alex Smith||20 of 33, 195 yds, 2 TD/0 INT|
|Trent Richardson||8 car, 17 yds, 0 TD, 3 rec, 25 yds, 0 TD||Jamaal Charles||15 car, 76 yds, 2 TD, 3 rec, 16 yds, 0 TD|
|T.Y. Hilton||7 rec, 94 yds, 1 TD||Dexter McCluster||6 rec, 66 yds, 0 TD|
|Coby Fleener||7 rec, 59 yds, 0 TD||Dwayne Bowe||5 rec, 69 yds, 1 TD|
What will come true
1) Trent Richardson averaging 2.x yards per carry.
He will probably gain over 17 yards, but don’t expect him to be pounding the rock like a top-five pick on Saturday.
When the Colts played the Chiefs in real life in Week 16, Richardson averaged 2.7 yards per carry. It’s safe to expect more of the same.
2) T.Y. Hilton finishing with seven catches and a score.
He hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 9 — and actually scored all five of his touchdowns this season in just two games — but I like his odds of scoring given the number of targets he should see.
Over the last three weeks of the regular season, Hilton had 34 targets, tied for sixth most in the league. Of receivers that had at least 25 targets in that span (there were 22 of them), only three failed to score a touchdown.
3) Andrew Luck throwing for over 250 yards.
His per-game average this season was 238, and he had six games with over 250. When the Colts and Chiefs played each other in Week 16, Luck threw for 241 yards — and that was with a lead late in the game.
This time around, I think the Chiefs will be winning late, which will force Luck to throw it just enough to eclipse 250 yards.
4) Jamaal Charles scoring two total touchdowns.
He has three two-touchdown games over his past five games. Whether they come through the air or on the ground (or both), I think JC Superstar finds the end zone twice this weekend.
5) Dwayne Bowe ending with five receptions for 70 yards.
When these two teams last met, Bowe caught five passes for 46 yards — an average of 9.2 YPC, significantly below his season average of 11.8.
He would need to beat his season average in order to gain 70 yards on five catches, but even if it takes him six to do it, I think he reaches that yardage mark. Keep in mind he was targeted 10 times against the Colts in Week 16.
What won’t come true
1) Andrew Luck throwing the ball 44 times.
He averaged about 35 attempts per game during the regular season, and had 44-plus attempts just twice. The Colts did go pass-happy-crazy in last year’s Wild Card round (Luck threw the ball 54 times in that game), but they’ve had a much more balanced attack this season than last.
2) Jamaal Charles finishing with just 16 yards receiving.
Charles had the fifth-most receptions (70) among all running backs this season, and he had the most receiving yards with 693. His YPC average on the season was 9.9, so even if he catches three balls (as Madden predicts), it shouldn’t be too hard for him to eclipse 16 yards.
It is worth noting he did drop 10 passes, which tied for most among all running backs. But given how good he was when he did catch the ball, we tend to forgive that.
3) Coby Fleener ending with seven receptions.
Fleener’s season-high for receptions in a game was eight, set back in Week 11. He didn’t have any other game with more than five receptions. In fact, there were only six games during the regular season in which Fleener was even targeted at least seven times.
Given the fact his catch rate is 61.9 percent, which is low for a player with an average depth of target of 9.0, I don’t like Fleener’s odds of catching seven passes.
4) Dexter McCluster ending with six catches for 66 yards.
It’s not a devil-may-care stat line, but I still think it’s too much to expect from McCluster. He gained 66-plus yards just twice this season, and he never gained more than 70 yards in a single game.
He also only had six-plus catches in three games, and when the Chiefs and Colts met late in the season, McCluster caught just one pass for 11 yards.
New Orleans Saints vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Madden Says: Eagles – 23, Saints – 17
|Drew Brees||43 of 64, 397 yds, 1 TD/2 INT||Nick Foles||24 of 36, 267 yds, 1 TD/0 INT|
|Pierre Thomas||14 car, 36 yds, 1 TD, 7 rec, 31 yds, 0 TD||LeSean McCoy||17 car, 99 yds, 0 TD, 4 rec, 69 yds, 1 TD|
|Jimmy Graham||10 rec, 113 yds, 1 TD||DeSean Jackson||7 rec, 104 yds, 0 TD|
|Kenny Stills||10 rec, 108 yds, 0 TD||Riley Cooper||4 rec, 44 yds, 0 TD|
|Marques Colston||6 rec, 70 yds, 0 TD|
|Lance Moore||4 rec, 43 yds, 0 TD|
What will come true
1) Drew Brees throwing for 350-plus yards.
I’m expecting a handful of points in this game, which means I’m expecting Drew Brees to be throwing it well. He had six games this season with over 350 passing yards, and the Eagles are among the worst when it came to pass coverage (-30.5 PFF grade).
2) Jimmy Graham having over 100 yards and scoring.
He actually didn’t have as many 100-yard games this season as you might expect — six, and just two in the last 11 games — but he is as integral to New Orleans’ offense as ever.
Plus, as I previously mentioned, I’m expecting plenty of points and Drew Brees to be on target, which goes hand-in-hand with Graham having a big game.
3) Lance Moore catching four passes for 43 yards without scoring.
That would just be the most Lance Moore thing ever. And if you’ve ever owned him in fantasy — this season or ever — you know it’s true.
4) LeSean McCoy gaining over 150 total yards.
Shady had over 1,600 rushing yards in the regular season, but he also had over 500 receiving yards. He is prone to a bad game through the air here and there (he caught just one pass in five games this season), but he did average 33 receiving yards per game on the season as a whole.
5) DeSean Jackson having over 100 yards.
He had over 100 receiving yards in five games this season. But the biggest reason I think Jackson eclipses 100 yards actually has nothing to do with him.
Foles is among the most accurate quarterbacks when it comes to deep balls (45.5 percent accuracy), and the Eagles’ strong rushing attack could set up some nice deep balls off of play action for Jackson. Foles had a QB rating of 134.9 when throwing off of play action, second highest in the league.
What won’t come true
1) Drew Brees throwing the ball 64 times (and only throwing one touchdown if he does)
It needs to be noted that Brees does have a tendency to throw the ball a lot in the playoffs — 60 times in the 2010 Wild Card game and 63 times in the 2011 Divisional Round game, his two highest-volume games in terms of pass attempts in the past six seasons. But while 64 pass attempts might not be completely unrealistic given his recent playoff games, there’s no way he would throw just one touchdown with that many chances.
In 2013, Brees averaged a touchdown once every 16-17 attempts. In 2012, he threw a touchdown once every 15-16 attempts. So on the off chance he does throw it 64 times, you can expect three or four touchdowns.
2) Kenny Stills catching 10 passes and gaining over 100 yards.
I guess this is what happens when simmed-Drew Brees throws 64 passes.
Stills hasn’t even been targeted 10 times in a game this season. In fact, the most targets he had in a game this season was five. He’s enticing for a big-play ability (20 yards per catch), but he probably won’t even have five receptions, let alone 10.
3) Pierre Thomas playing.
He’s been ruled out for this week’s game, but Mark Ingram’s stat line could look similar with fewer catches involved.