HIKE! No, seriously, hike
Madden 25 is officially here, and if you go online, you're guaranteed to see a whole lot of Seattle, San Francisco, Green Bay, and Washington. The teams change, but bandwagon fans always stay the same, and they love their powerhouses. Fortunately, you don't have to use a Super Bowl contender to do well online in Madden. You don't necessarily even need to use a playoff contender.
The teams listed here won't be winning much of anything in real life, but that doesn't mean they can't still be dangerous. Whether because of a mobile quarterback, a particularly great cornerback, or just ridiculous overall team speed, each of these underdogs have a chance to rise up and best the likes of the Seahawks in a way that their sad sack counterparts probably never will. If nothing else, it can be a nice bit of wish fulfillment for a few long suffering fanbases.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccs have flown under the radar, but they still have some talent. Darrelle Revis and his 99 man coverage heads up a strong, hard-hitting secondary that also includes safety Dashon Goldson and Mark Barron. The offense, meanwhile, boasts two very reliable targets in Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams, as well as highly touted second-year rusher Doug Martin. Quarterback Josh Freeman has taken his share of lumps in real-life, but in Madden, he's a solid pocket passer with a cannon for an arm.
While not what you might call "explosive," Tampa can nevertheless be very dangerous in the hands of a capable player. All you have to do is lean on Martin to pick up consistent yards, and let Jackson pick up first downs on hitches and throws over the middle. Bonus points to anyone who wears the infamous "creamsicle" uniforms in an online game.
The Raiders may be the worst team in the NFL right now, but in Madden 25, they stand a chance of being semi-competent. In the right hands, they may even be dangerous. As in past years, Oaklands secret weapon is raw speed. Receivers Denarious Moore, Jacoboy Ford, and Rod Streater all boast 90+ speed, with Ford sitting at a cool 98. Running back Darren McFadden likewise carries an advantage in footrace, tied with Adrian Peterson for third fastest running back in the NFL.
The Raiders quarterback is Terrelle Pryor, who at 70 overall may not seem that intimidating, but his 90 speed makes him deadly with the read option. With the help of the new Precision Modifier and a plethora of new running options, a good player should be able to turn more talented opponents into pretzels. Be warned though: Oakland's sub-par defense will probably result in a fair share of shootouts.
Sad sack Buffalo hasn't been to the playoffs since 1999--an eternity in the NFL. In real life, they are in the middle of a coaching and quarterback transition, and theyre already racked with injuries. However, the Bills still have some interesting weapons. First, bench Kevin Kolb as soon as possible, and put in promising rookie EJ Manuel. Manuel has a good arm, and hes capable in the option game as well. Abuse Marquise Goodwin and his 98 speed on sweeps, and lean on star running back CJ Spiller with off tackle runs and screen passes.
After a while, you'll find that the Bills are surprisingly explosive for a team thats widely seen as a basement dweller. With safety Jarius Byrd and cornerback Stephen Gilmore, and a stout pass rush lead by Mario Williams, the defense isn't half bad either. As a team, theyre Exhibit A in the case against paying too much attention to overall ratings.
When the Titans come up in real life, it's usually to complain about Chris Johnson's unreliable fantasy production. In Madden, they tend to be similarly overlooked. You might want to look again though, because theyre basically the rich person's Buffalo Bills, whom we discussed a moment before. Both of Tennessee's lines are stacked with strong players, and in a game that is sure to be dominated by running backs, infamous strong safety Bernard Pollard is an asset.
On offense, tight end Delanie Walker is a serviceable replacement for Jared Cook, and Kenny Britt is a good possession receiver. QB Jake Locker's speed makes him ideal for the read-option game in tandem with Chris Johnson, who continues to be more dangerous in Madden than in real life thanks to his staggering 99 speed. All in all, the Titans are a fun surprise to spring on a friend or a random opponent. Wear the Houston Oilers baby blues for extra class.
The poor Cardinals are trapped below the Seahawks and the Niners in what has quite suddenly become the best division in football. In Madden 25, however, they have a chance to shine a bit. QB Carson Palmer doesn't get a lot of respect from fans, but he's a far sight better than the likes of Ryan Lindley, and he's more than capable of getting the ball to Larry Fitzgerald. Cornerback Patrick Peterson, meanwhile, is your single best weapon on defense and special teams, equally capable of breaking the game open with a kickoff return for a touchdown or a pick six.
Those two weapons alone are enough to make the Cardinals more dangerous than most people realize, especially now that they have a semi-competent quarterback. If your friends laugh when you pick Arizona, throw one deep to Fitzgerald. That will shut them up in a hurry.