Madden NFL 13 is getting some of its best reviews in years. A lot of new players are taking the plunge into online play for the first time, and it can be intimidating. That’s especially true if you don’t know a whole lot about football. Don’t worry, you can still succeed online even if haven’t mastered the intricacies of the safety blitz. Here are some things to keep in mind before going head-to-head online.
Use an elite team.
If the Cleveland Browns are your favorite team and you have fun using them, that’s fine. But if you want to win with any consistency, particularly if you’re new, use one of the best teams. The game shows you every team’s rating before you pick them. New players probably want to stick with a rating in the 90s or high 80s.
As a matter of fact, I highly recommend the San Francisco 49′ers. Every year in the game there’s at least one team that’s just a little too good. This year San Fran is that team. I am no pro Madden player, but I win regularly with the Niners. Their defense is full of playmakers such as linebacker Patrick Willis. On offense, tight end Vernon Davis and running back Frank Gore keep the chains moving regularly.
I was playing a game online before writing this. My opponent was driving, when a phone call came in I had to take. I returned to my Xbox 360 a minute later and San Fran had forced a turnover without me controlling them. Speaking of turnovers…
Be a ball hawk.
Madden NFL offenses were getting out of hand in recent installments. EA instituted the “Ball Hawk” mechanic to put defensive players on equal footing. After switching to the defender, hold down Y on Xbox 360, or triangle on PS3, to attempt an interception. Press LB on 360 or L1 on PS3 to swat the ball away. Once you master these controls, your opponent will think twice about passing the ball into coverage. If you happen to be using a team with a “shutdown corner” such as Nnandi Asomugha or Darrelle Revis, you can take the opponent’s best receiver right out of the game.
Punt the ball on 4th down, kick field goals rather than turn the ball over.
If you don’t listen to anything else I say, please take this advice. There’s a breed of player that thinks it’s a sin to punt the ball. Don’t join in that foolishness. Punting the ball isn’t sexy, but neither is giving up an easy 20-yard touchdown because of pride. The same applies to going for the touchdown on 4th down when a field goal narrows the gap. You don’t ever want to leave the red zone without scoring some points.
Make use of practice mode.
Madden’s practices allow you to try any offensive plays you like against any opposing defense you can set up. This lets you know what plays you want to run in short yardage situations, or at the goal line, or any other scenario. If you do the practices in Connected Careers mode, you can even unlock experience points for your player or coach.
Some plays from me to you to get started:
Here are some of my favorite offensive plays for short yardage situations. Nearly every team’s base playbook has these gems:
Y Shallow Cross – This sends your tight end on a cross route and often draws a mismatch against a linebacker. This usually is good for 3-4 yards. If you have an elite tight end such as Vernon Davis or Rob Gronkowski, they may break through the initial tackle and can turn it into a long gain.
FB Dive – I love this play, especially near the goal line. You can sub in a fullback with a high “truck” rating if necessary. This often gets the job done even if the opponent is run blitzing. Your fullback does a lot of the dirty work, show him some love.
QB Sneak -This play isn’t as ridiculously good as it was in previous versions, but it still warrants a mention. It’s an excellent play for those 3rd and inches situations. Should you have a speedster such as Cam Newton at quarterback, this can go for a lot more than one yard.
These are some good plays for when you need 8-10 yards:
Curl Flats – The default setting for online play is All-Pro. Defenders make some insane catches on this setting, and curl routes help stop that. Receivers will run right to the first-down marker and cut back to you. Curl routes in general are an effective way to move the ball in Madden NFL 13. Some teams have two versions of Curl Flats in their book. Other similar plays to look for are Curl Combo and X Curl. If you fear the turnover (and on All-Pro you should) these are short, safe routes that typically put your receiver in position to make a play.
Plays to the Tight End – Tight ends are putting up sick numbers in the NFL right now, and Madden is certainly reflecting that. There’s a fair amount of variation in the TE playbooks between teams. But plays such as TE Seam and TE Attack can be super effective, particularly with the top notch tight ends. Earlier I mentioned using high-rated teams. Many of them have really good tight ends, a fact that is not a coincidence. Madden allows you to search for plays by player. I recommend looking through your tight end’s playbook and finding a long and short yardage play you’re comfortable with.