Now that we are preparing for NFL Training Camps and Hard Knocks with my beloved Cleveland Browns it is time to start planning which teams we want to use in Madden 19 Franchise Mode.
This season, we will be putting teams into one of three categories – Ready To Build, Super Bowl Contender, and Tear It Down.
Ready To Build
– What used to be the novel pick as a tear it all down has become the biggest team to pick as ready to build. The pieces are there – Taylor, Mayfield, Johnson, Hyde, Chubb, Garrett, Gordon, Landry, Ward, Kendricks, Kirksey, Bitonio, Ogbah… The Browns are going to be a lot of fun to use in Madden 19 and hopefully a bit more fun to watch than the 0-16 Preseason Champs of last year. GO BROWNS!
– They are close to still being in tear it all down mode, but they have some nice pieces to build around, including Trubisky and now Roquan Smith to help lift the defense. They did bring in Allen Robinson, but outside of him the WR squad isn’t much to look at. Give them a year or two and some good drafting, you will have a solid team in due time.
– Okay, they pulled the trigger on Josh Allen and even brought in McCarron to help him along. You have McCoy for a year or two before his regression will inevitably set in as well. They have Kelvin Benjamin and Zay Jones which is quite nice in terms of WR talent. They also made Edmunds a 1st Round pick at LB – not a lot of flash, but they also made the playoffs last year… they are a threat to shock the world again, assuming they don’t rue the day they got rid of Tyrod Taylor (weird to say that and believe it, I know).
– Rosen and Kirk come into a situation that could make the Cardinals into quite a fun build. Fitzgerald is aging, but seeing the pieces that are ready to put together is promising to say the least. The real question is how you will build them on defense. There really isn’t much left to tear down at this point in Arizona – just start building with what you can.
– Sorry, but we know you won’t be using Case Keenum for more than the 2018 season at most. Which QB will you sign or draft for the 2019 season? Outside of that decision, you have one hell of a team to build up from a disappointing 2017 season. Chubb was one heck of a pick, and pairing him with Von Miller is almost criminal. Add the other pieces that are both aging and young with good drafting and this is a fun team that could get you to the playoffs in 2018 if you are smart. This is a quick build.
– Rivers is most likely walking into the sunset, who do you replace him with? Figure that out and you will have one nice team for the next decade. My guess is that this is a team that will try to trade up in the draft in 2019 to grab the top QB available. You have the pieces you need on defense, you have the young players on offense in Gordon, Allen and Co. Make the right moves and you will be competing in a tight AFC West.
– They spanked the Patriots in Week 1 of 2017 and looked like a monster before they basically shrunk in the light of pressure towards the end of the season. They have a young QB they think is the next big thing in Mahomes. Add in a great WR threat in Watkins, Hill and Kelce with the amazing Kareem Hunt and you have a team that needs you to make some smart defensive moves in order to dominate soon.
– Considering both Manning and Rivers were drafted next to eachother, you shouldn’t be shocked to see this. Combine that with the idea that you will have Saquon Barkley and OBJ on the same team with Engram?… Wow! Now you just have to get the pieces you want on defense and replace Eli Manning in the 2019 season. It will be fun for Giants fans to see this team grow – too bad it in a division with Dallas and Philly.
– They have Jimmy G and a base that is finally looking like a football team again. It’s about time and not a moment too soon. You will want to invest in some more pieces and maybe trade down in the next draft to pick up pieces, but they will be a great team with a solid QB guiding them.
– I hate to say it… They are poised to compete every year. They are still trying to build what they had with Ray Lewis, but now they have Lamar Jackson and a nice TE in Hurst from the Draft. Add Orlando Brown as a new OL and Michael Crabtree on offense? You have a powerful set of guys on a team that needs you to add a few pieces at WR and on defense. They will be fun to build – please take it easy one my Browns.
– I can’t stand the Bengals. That said – they are a team to contend with if you can figure out what you want to do with your QB and potentially with your LB corps. They have good CBs and a solid DL. Add a healthy AJ Green and few other pieces and you will have a team to fight for the playoffs soon.
– Carr and Cooper had a bad year. You will need to find a couple HBs to replace Lynch as he declines. You also need to get some guys to compliment all world LB Khalil Mack. Do these things and you will have a great team. Your time to build is now – do it wisely.
SUPER BOWL CONTENDERS –
For those of you that either have a favorite team that happens to be great or you don’t want a challenge in building a team in 2018, here are the teams to choose.
– Get Watson healthy at QB and you will have a team that can basically pick up where they left off… to think they will be in this position without having a 1st or 2nd Round pick in 2018 is insane. However, they have the talent to give every team a headache. Have fun with this team as they are primed to be great… not to mention, they will have a full slate of draft picks in 2019.
– They are all in… flat out. Trading out of the first and second rounds of 2018 in order to add pieces to contend now they are stacked. The Rams have Suh and Donald on the DL. Add Gurley, Goff, Cooks and the rest… They won’t be a surprise in 2018 like they were in 2017.
– You will still have Aaron Rodgers. That says enough in most cases. However, you have a team that drafted a great CB in Josh Jackson, a good WR in St. Brown and found a way to sign Jimmy Graham. Figure out how you want to replace an aging defense pretty fast because after 2018, who knows what will happen with this team. You have the bonus of an extra first round pick in 2019 as well – so be daring.
– They had a down year, but the Panthers are set to come back in a big way. DJ Moore was a great pick for the late first round. Couple the pieces that basically haven’t changed since their recent Super Bowl run and another smart 2019 Draft and off season – you will be in the playoffs in 2018 and for the next few years.
– This almost isn’t fair. The Falcons now have Calvin Ridley AND Julio Jones to go with Freeman and Ryan. Put that together with a defense that continues to over-perform in some ways. Draft a couple defensive studs in 2019 and this will be a Super Bowl winner in the next season or two.
– The Cowboys should compete in the NFC East and for a Super Bowl this year. They have tremendous talent on both sides of the ball and Elliott will most likely seek to punish every team he faces after such a bumpy 2017. Look to draft a couple WR and a DB in 2019, maybe a DL/LB to top off a dangerous situation on Defense… The Cowboys will be good if they stay healthy.
– They have to be the favorites to win it all again in 2018 and contend with Wentz being the all world star Iggles fans hope he will remain after a terrible injury in 2017. This team will be a monster to contend with.
– They got robbed in 2017 by a bogus replay decision. The Steelers will have to decide on a replacement for Roethlisberger in the next season or two. Find a way to bring back Bell and you will have a team destined to push for the title. You will want to find a way to replace the huge hole left by the Shazier injury. Win now and make smart moves – otherwise this could be a two year window… win now and build or win now and lose later – it’s a risk, but if you’re smart about your moves it could be a long term WINdow.
– They seemingly always have a spot here. The Patriots have a window that is closing on Brady and The Hoody. If you can find a way to replace Brady and keep the rotation of talent on this team you will have a Super Bowl contender in 2018 for sure, but the tough decisions will dictate your future winning and that might mean parting ways with Brady in the off-season. The 49ers did it with Montana – I believe in you!
– Much like the team above, as goes the QB, so goes the season. The Saints will be leaning heavily on Kamara and their WRs to help carry the team with Brees as Ingram is suspended (probably not in Madden… if it’s in the game, it’s probably not politically correct to put in the game). The Saints picked up a risky DE prospect from UT San Antonio and gave up a 2019 First Rounder to get him in Davenport. If he is as dominant as the Saints hope he can be this will be a monster. If not, you better find a way to get a good replacement for Brees and in short order.
– They added Kirk Cousins to a team that got smacked in the mouth by the Super Bowl champs. The Vikings are a team that was truly a QB away from possibly being in the Super Bowl. Their defense is second to none and their offense now has a real threat and talent in Cousins.
– That escalated quickly! The Jags took a huge leap in the same way the Browns are hoping to this year. This team is stacked in terms of young talent on both sides. Fournette, Bortles, Ramsey, etc. The Texans will put up a hell of a fight, but this team is a threat, no doubt.
Tear It Down
The moment you were waiting for… these are the teams I think need to be gutted in some dangerous ways. If there is anything left to gut.
– I don’t know what the hell they are doing. Trying to build from the trenches is a good idea, but if you don’t have answers elsewhere, what’s the point? This feels like a team destined to win three games this season. I wish you luck in your pursuits.
– I challenge you to trade Andrew Luck and build this team in the vision of someone with courage to be crazy. This team desperately needs a direction that doesn’t involve a guy that has a bumb shoulder. I will be curious to see what his injury rating looks like in Madden 19. You should be ready and willing to trade him to a team that is crazy enough to take his contract and give you a 1st Rounder or maybe even two of them for a chance to win now. My suggestion – see what you can get from the Broncos.
– But they were in the playoffs?!? You’re stupid… maybe. I see this team as one destined for the biggest regression from 2017. A new coach that I happen to like in Vrabel, doesn’t change the fact that I think Mariota is destined to be an above average game manager that gets injured more than a starting QB should. I love their situation with Henry at HB, but outside of him and a WR corps that is destined to be average at best – this is a team to look at rebuilding in YOUR image.
– Sure, you have Darnold. You also have basically nothing else on offense. You also need to figure out what you want to do on defense with Jamal Adams as your loan star. It will be a long ride and you should probably be willing to part ways with Powell and a couple guys to get some picks. Take your time – you will need it.
– What in the hell happened to this team? Winston took two steps back and there doesn’t seem to be much on the horizon. It might be time to part ways with McCoy and Desean Jackson in order to get some picks in 2019 and 2020. Make a couple moves, tear it down fast if you must, because there isn’t much of a reason for this team to be so bad.
– It’s time to tear things down on defense. You have a good piece in Shaq Griffin. Outside of that, this legion of boom has died a slow death. Make this quick and gut the players you can for whatever value you can get. Wilson is all world at QB and needs a lot of help. Do this and the tear down will be fast and painless. You might even make the playoffs regardless!
– What in the hell? They picked up Alex Smith, sure… okay, that was enough to make people applaud quietly. Who else do they have? What else do they have? Gruden will be fired after this year and you should do it before you start 2018 in Madden. Washington is a team that needs a new everything… starting with Owner.
– They are a team with as close to nothing as you can get. Tannehill will be gone soon. Fitzpatrick was a good pick in the first round, but chances are good that he will be chasing guys everywhere as the Dolphins go 2-14 at best this year. Gut the team for what you can and focus on 2019 and 2020.