We’ve spent the last week diving deep into Madden 21 Analytics to rank every aspect of each franchise team. We used the EA Madden team’s ratings, which you can find here, to build all of our rankings. It’s time to reveal how each team stacked up. Today, we take on the AFC East.
New York Jets
Franchise Team Rank: 32nd
The Good: Before the trade this past weekend this section was longer but now it’s pretty empty. The departure of Jamal Adams brought the team’s coverage grades back to the middle of the pack, however, the run defense grade is still 6th in the league. After the trade, the Jets now find themselves 2nd in the league in draft capital. The Jets are 14th in available cap space, which means they will have the money to try to fix their issues.
The Bad: Rated dead last in Youth Power Index, the Jets lack the young talent to build around relative to other teams. Ranked 30th in offensive weapons, as well as 30th in pass blocking highlight the struggles owners will face trying to score points. While the defense in the back half is better than average, the pass rush is non-existent checking in at 32nd in Optimal Rush Rating.
The Bottom Line: The Jets have some complicated issues to work through. With Adams’ departure you’re really lacking much in the way of star power. A team that spent big in free agency a few years back now sees those players regressing. With no pass rush to talk about, the back end of the defense will get exposed often. The first order of business will be to acquire a pass rusher, potentially moving a guy like Avery Williamson or C.J. Mosley to do so.
On the offensive side of the ball, a major weapon needs to emerge for Sam Darnold before it is too late. Drafted wide receiver Denzel Mims could grow into that guy, but that is most likely a year or two down the road. The easiest weapon to acquire could be a tight end, so with that in mind, I’d reach out to a team such as Tampa Bay or Los Angeles (Rams) and see about getting one of their tight ends to instantly upgrade the offense.
For a franchise owner that likes a challenge, the Jets are for you. The division is not exactly stacked with talent, however, this team is easily the least talented of all options in the AFC East. The one good thing you have going for you is that with all the draft capital and cap space, you have a blank canvas to make this team your own.
Franchise Team Rank: 28th
The Good: The obvious answer here is Tua Tagovailoa who checked in at number 13 in the adjusted QB rankings. While Tua’s weapons aren’t highly rated they are highly athletic landing at 11th on the offensive athletic rankings. Not only athletic on the offensive side of the ball, but the Dolphins also scored a top 5 ranking in defensive athleticism. Long term outlook for the Dolphins gets better when you take into account they rank 1st in draft capital as they hold an additional 1st and 2nd round pick in the 2021 draft.
The Bad: Tua is going to be running for his life behind the worst-rated pass blocking line in the league; also the worst run-blocking line to boot. As for weapons, they just don’t have many bright spots offensively in terms of ratings, which is why they ended up rated 31st in the league for offensive weapons. Defensively, the lack of pass rush should be concerning as they ranked 31st in the entire league in Optimal Rush Rating.
The Bottom Line: The Dolphins are a hot team on Madden social media but I am not as high on them as most. The allure of the extra draft capital can be tempting but the team has issues. Many will point to the athleticism, however, I tend to view it skeptically knowing that the new change of direction rating is yet to be truly understood.
To me, the first order of business has to be to find a pass rush as there isn’t even a great developmental option here. I’d look to package the extra draft capital to a team in cap trouble, I’m looking at you Eagles owner. I think I also need to find another option on the offensive side of the ball. A team like Cincinnati could be looking to move on from AJ Green, who’s on the final year of his deal, and may be tempted to get something for him in return.
A better option than the Jets, the Dolphins will be a team that goes much higher than 28th in your team drafts. If you are interested in a total rebuild project with some draft capital it makes sense, but I actually think there are better options to be had.
New England Patriots
Franchise Team Rank: 9th
The Good: The Patriots have the best secondary in Madden and it’s simply not a debate as they rank 1st in both man and zone coverage. No slouch in the run game either, the Patriots are the 10th rated run defense. On the offensive side of the ball, the team is built stoutly in the trenches with the 6th rated pass blocking, and 2nd rated run blocking, offensive line. A team historically tight against the cap now has some relief holding the 4th most cap of any team in Madden.
The Bad: New England is the 30th ranked team in YPI, and frankly it’s at a lot of the positions they are so good at. Another team in this division that lacks pass rush, the Patriots rate 27th in ORR. Below average in athleticism on both sides of the ball, and lacking elite skill weapons (28th ranked), the Patriots may struggle to put up points this year. After 20 years of Tom Brady, the Patriots are in a bit of a transition with Cam Newton playing QB. At 26th in the adjusted QB rankings, it doesn’t seem that Newton is the long term answer for the Pats.
The Bottom Line: The signing of Newton at least gave the Patriots the ability to win early in most franchises. Another team who I’d look to acquire some sort of pass rusher, the Patriots owner could consider moving on from a guy like JC Jackson or Jonathan Jones, both of which should have considerable value. As for the offense, this is yet another team that needs help at tight end. Again, a call to the Bucs and Rams may be in order to give the offense some sort of reliable weapon.
Long term outlook for this team is murky at best. While they have the cap to infuse life into it through free agency, it still feels like there will be a time in the near future this team could be dragged down by a massive regression cycle. If you are an owner who looks to win early while the “meta” is still being figured out, the Patriots would be the perfect team for you.
Franchise Team Rank: 7th
The Good: At the 8th spot in the YPI, the Bills should be set up for long term success. A secondary that is top 5 in the league in both man and zone coverage is a valuable asset for any owner. The 7th rated run defense makes this Bills defense one of the better ones to start off the cycle. Not necessarily the highest rated group of weapons on offense, the Bills do come in at 7th in offensive athleticism.
The Bad: For as good as the defense is on paper, their 22nd ranking in athleticism will scare some people. The common theme of pass-rushing issues continues with the Bills landing at 24 in ORR. While the cap isn’t in horrible shape, owners should be cognoscente that they are in the bottom half of the league.
The Bottom Line: I am a big fan of the Bills as a franchise sleeper this year. While Josh Allen isn’t the most desirable option at QB he does offer some upside running that makes up for his lack of accuracy. The acquisition of Steffon Diggs gives Allen a true #1 wide receiver that owners should enjoy using throughout the cycle.
I’m not sure the Bills have a ton of firepower to go out and acquire the pass-rushing piece they still need. I’d keep my eyes out for a potential older cap casualty, however, I wouldn’t start breaking up my defense or offensive weapons in the process to do it. If you can move draft picks for a pass rusher I’d consider it, however, this team is built for the long hauls so I’d be leery of mortgaging my future unless the deal was right.
As I said, this is one of my favorite teams that people aren’t talking much about. The Bills can be developed and have some places to put your own stamp on them. A division that has question marks means a good owner should be able to compete out the gate with the roster advantages alone.