Skip to main content

Madden 22 playbooks: the best 9 tactics to use in-game

Madden 22
(Image credit: EA)

Knowing your Madden 22 playbooks is vital if you’re to ascend past the standard online tactic of throwing deep shots to a 95-speed wide receiver as soon as you fall a touchdown behind. They’re accessed in two different ways in Madden 22. Exhibition matches (and most other modes) enable you to utilise playbooks created by the community, while Ultimate Team restricts you to those already in the game. As a result, this piece focuses on nine of the best: the top seven official offense and defense playbooks, followed by the best two fan-created ones. Just remember you can’t use the final pair in MUT. Got that? Onward, then, with your Madden 22 playbooks guide.

Madden 22 playbooks: the top four offense tactics

Shotgun, Singleback, and a sneaky bit of Wildcat: these are the playbooks to consider if you're going to torch your opponent for 60 minutes.

Baltimore Ravens - John Harbaugh

Madden 22 playbooks

(Image credit: EA)

With Madden 21 cover star Lamar Jackson behind center in real life, the Ravens’ in-game playbook features lots of options for quarterback runs. From the Shotgun set there are 17 different formations available, giving you ample time to decide whether to take off or pump the ball downfield. 11 Pistol sets also deliver plenty of variation if your preference is to plough through the opposition’s defensive line. Just make sure you’re using a mobile QB for this playbook, or its key strengths are going to be wasted.

Tennessee Titans - Mike Vrabel

Madden 22 playbooks

(Image credit: EA)

Whether you’re a pass-first maverick or an up-the-gut possession obsessive, the Titans’ playbook offers excellent balance – with one key wrinkle. The Wildcat has largely gone out of fashion, but Tennessee’s tactical collection contains three plays from a Wildcat > Slot Flex formation: Power, Counter, and Jet Touch Pass. If you’re keen on a playbook with a Wildcat option but this one doesn’t take your fancy, also check out those belonging to Miami, Atlanta and Pittsburgh.

San Francisco 49ers - Kyle Shanahan

Madden 22 playbooks

(Image credit: EA)

Offering nine Singleback formations alongside six I Form ones, this is a playbook built for run-first coaches. Don’t fear going behind, however. 15 different Shotgun formations also enable you to switch into gunslinger mode, with Bunch Wide an especially useful means of leaving an opponent in disarray on one side of the field. The playbook’s old-school-ness means you may want to invest some coins in a decent full back if you’re using it in Ultimate Team: mostly to block, but also as a low-key passing option.

Kansas City Chiefs - Andy Reid

Madden 22 playbooks

(Image credit: EA)

Super Bowl champs in 2020, Super Bowl runners-up in 2021: inevitably the Chiefs’ Shotgun-heavy playbook is a ton of fun, with lots of deep passing options, tight-end outs and QB keepers. Pitch perfect for Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and Patrick Mahomes respectively, but more than serviceable with other squads, too.

Madden 22 playbooks: the top three defense tactics

Offense wins matches. Defense wins championships. Learn and master these three tactical approaches to keep your opponents off the field.

New England Patriots - NE Coach

Madden 22 playbooks

(Image credit: EA)

Bill Belichick has spent two decades collecting Super Bowl rings for fun, and a major factor in his dominant tenure as New England coach has been innovative defense. Unconventional blitzes feature in every formation here, with your opponent’s pre-snap planning meaning little when you send a safety, cornerback and outside linebacker after its QB. It’s a catalogue of curiosity which can be a touch bewildering for the Madden noob – in which case, let the AI call your plays using the in-game Coach Suggestion tab.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Bruce Arians

Madden 22 playbooks

(Image credit: EA)

Belichick’s former lieutenant Tom Brady snagged his seventh Super Bowl ring in January 2021 – and while the ex-Pat was imperious as ever, the Bucs’ swarming, suffocating defense played a vital role too. As such, this playbook adopts a 3-4 base front where big linemen look to stop runs, and quick linebackers buzz around to protect the outside and/or break up pass plays. As with the Ravens’ offensive playbook, check your team has players to match this approach before committing for the long-haul.

Minnesota Vikings - Mike Zimmer

Madden 22 playbooks

(Image credit: EA)

For a more old-fashioned approach than those deployed in New England and Tampa Bay, take a punt (not the kicking kind) on the Vikes. Their classic 4-3 defense relies on two ends and two tackles, with five different formations to choose from: Normal, Odd, Over, Over Plus and Wide 9. Two Goal Line formations enable monster end-zone stands, while Nickel, Big Nickel, Dollar and Prevent sets can be called upon if you’re concerned about being beaten in the air. This playbook wouldn’t look out of place in Madden ‘93 – but it still proves highly effective.

Madden 22 playbooks: the top two user-created tactics

Madden 22 playbooks

(Image credit: EA)

Want to make use of user-made playbooks? First you need to know how. From the Main Menu, scroll to the four small square panels on the far right. Now choose Rosters & Playbooks, then Share & Manage Files. Finally, select Download Community Files. From here you’re presented with a stack of fan-created tactics for use on both sides of the ball. You can search for a specific playbook or username by using triangle (PlayStation) or Y (Xbox), or cycle through sorting categories such as Likes, Dislikes and Downloads using square (PlayStation) or X (Xbox).

CHEESE1 - SeanathornOAK_

Madden 22 playbooks

(Image credit: EA)

On PS5, the most exciting playbook I’ve discovered so far is called CHEESEV1, by ‘SeanathornOAK_’. It contains an astonishing 21 Shotgun formations, so if your plan is to hammer your foe with an all-out air-raid across four quarters then you definitely need to grab it. Otherwise the playbook’s make-up is five Singleback formations, five in Pistol, and two I Form variations. Don’t make this your default tactic if you’re keen to ground and pound.

JEDICAPRICORN - chavez54

Madden 22 playbooks

(Image credit: EA)

Strong customised defensive playbooks are hard to come by during the early stages of the Madden season, but JEDICAPRICORN, by ‘chavez54’, is well worth a look. It’s even more balanced than the Vikings D mentioned above, with some old-fashioned 4-3 run-plugging sets, but plenty of Nickel, Dime and Dollar options too. Nickel 2-4-5 Dbl A Gap and Quarter 1-3-7 are especially useful against online squads keen to pick on your cornerbacks and safeties with deep sideline throws.

Still need more ways to get ahead in EA’s new NFL sim? Then jump on over to our Madden 22 tips guide.

Ben Wilson

I'm GamesRadar+'s sports editor, obsessed with NFL, WWE, MLB – and very occasionally things that don't have a three-letter acronym. Namely: Bill Bryson, Pitch Perfect, and the Streets Of Rage series. I have two kids who aren't quite old enough to play Madden yet. Soon, though…