Athletics

Why the Miami Dolphins Have the Worst Team Rating in Madden NFL 20

Athletics
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Electronic Arts has released complete player and team ratings for its upcoming Madden NFL 20.  And, the Miami Dolphins are by far the worst team in the game.  In this article, we’ll take a look as to why this is. First, it is important to briefly go over how EA makes rating decisions.  

 

What The Heck Were They Thinking AKA Madden Ratings

For current NFL players and rookies, EA has employees that go through a year’s worth of player statistics and game footage.  This requires thousands of hours of game film. EA also goes to experts, current NFL players, and people with coaching experience to get their input.  The staff working on this part of the game have been instructed to create a more realistic experience, that mirrors how the real teams and players perform.  In last year’s version of Madden, 1,590 players were rated 70 or above. In Madden NFL 20, only 1,177 have that rating.  

This means that teams expected to perform poorly in actual NFL games have many players with low gradings.  Not surprisingly, EA is on record saying that players with exceptionally low ratings in last year’s edition have even lower marks this year.    

Now, let’s keep this in mind as we move onto how EA views the Dolphins.

 

With The 13th Pick Of The NFL Draft

Miami selected Christian Wilkins, a versatile defensive tackle from Clemson.  It is safe to say that he has tremendous potential and will likely have a good professional career.  But, Miami could have instead addressed their quarterback need with that pick. Or, their weak offensive line.    

Instead traded their second-round pick to acquire Josh Rosen from the Arizona Cardinals.  Their later round picks appear to be solid choices, but none of them are expected to have a big impact this year.  Christian Wilkins is the sole rookie on the team projected to do so (his versatility has a lot to do with the expectation).  And, this shows in Madden NFL 20 as EA has given Wilkins an overall rating of 75, with an 86 strength rating.

The consensus from analysts seems to be that the Dolphins had an above-average draft, but that has more to do with future projections of those picks.  Not on performance in the upcoming season.    

The (Lack Of) Defense

The Dolphins and the New York Giants are both tied for the worst defense in Madden 2020, with a team rating of 72.  Xavien Howard, a cornerback, has an overall rating of 83 in the game. He is the best-rated defender for the Dolphins in Madden 2020.  And, this rating makes sense. Over the past two seasons and 28 games played, he’s had 11 interceptions and 25 passes defended. According to Pro Football Focus, among the 76 cornerbacks in 2018 who played at least 350 snaps, Howard allowed the lowest passer rating in the NFL.  You can check out what Xavien is like on and off the field on his IG, @iamxavienhoward.

Sadly, Howard is the lone star of the Miami defense.  Minkah Fitzpatrick (overall 80 Madden rating) showed promise as a rookie, but it isn’t clear if he’ll play at his natural safety position or cornerback.  In 2018, the team ranked near the bottom in almost every defensive category. As a unit, they gave up 27 points per game.    

Ultimately, there is one main reason why EA is so down on the Miami Dolphins.  It is the same reason why statisticians, oddsmakers, and experts (all of which EA consults with by the way) are all projecting Miami to one of the worst teams this upcoming season:  

The choice of this image will make perfect sense, read on.  

 

Josh Rosen

Last year in his rookie season with the Arizona Cardinals, Rosen was a huge disappointment.  Just how disappointing? According to Football Outsiders, a statistical website, Rosen ranked dead last out of 34 quarterbacks (that had attempted a minimum of 200 passes).  It is quite alarming that Josh Rosen is being consistently outplayed by Ryan Fitzpatrick in practice.

Rosen also took 45 sacks in 14 games.  That works out to a little over 3 sacks per game.  And, the offensive line for Miami is expected to be the weakest in the league by Pro Football Focus.  It is highly unlikely that Rosen will instantly get better at getting rid of the ball when he is in trouble.  

I believe EA has factored all of this in, as they gave Rosen an underwhelming (but deserved) overall rating of 70.  They also gave Fitzpatrick a better rating- 75.  

A video of @josh3rosen throwing a pass at a Miami Dolphins practice.

This has to be the consensus the EA/Madden team came to:

‘As soon as the trade happened, he was thought to be the surefire starter.  Now, there’s a strong chance Fitzpatrick begins the season as the starting quarterback.  The projection is Rosen takes over before the middle of the regular season. But, the lack of playing time up to then will hurt Josh.  He’ll be rusty and unconfident when he gets his shot. And, let’s not forget how terrible he was last season.’

‘It’s unanimous… he gets a 70.’

The modern-day NFL is simply just a passing league.  And, it has been for many years.  Any team missing a quarterback that can take advantage of current NFL rules (which favor and protect passers and receivers) will have a tough time winning games.  EA is aware of this when making projections on teams and their players.  

Factoring in the importance of quarterback play, EA has given Miami an offensive rating of 69.  That is dead last in Madden NFL 20. On a positive note, starting wide receiver Kenny Stills, is the team’s best-rated skill position player.  He was given an overall score of 84 by EA.   

When you look at all of this into account, it is easy to see why EA rated the team and its players the way they did.  Even if you’re a diehard Dolfan, you’ll think twice about selecting Miami for online play.

For more information about the Madden NFL video game series, click here.