Madden 14 Outlook: Buffalo Bills
While the conference championships may be receiving the majority of the NFL fan attention today, there’s still plenty of room to think about what could be in store for Madden 14 fans just around the corner.
Few things feel quite as empty as watching the NFL playoffs while your favorite team is at home, which is why we thought it would be a good idea to take a peek into what some of the teams could be looking forward to in a few months.
Today, we’re going to analyze the outlook for the Madden 14 Buffalo Bills by reviewing some of the best talent on the team, looking forward into free agency and then finding out exactly how you feel about this upcoming draft.
Buffalo’s Top Madden 14 Talents
It’s difficult to know exactly how a player’s ratings might look next season in Madden 14, however usually the end of the previous season is a good starting point for analysis.
HB C.J. Spiller, 91 overall rating: The Buffalo Bills coaching staff took way too long to decide between C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson, and now they’re gone. In Madden, the answer can only be Spiller. Spiller’s digital version has all the juice you would expect from one of the fastest players in the NFL: featuring 96 speed rating, 98 agility rating and 96 acceleration rating. Working in a lethal tandem with that speed is a 98 elusiveness rating and 99 juke move rating that make him one of the toughest players to get a grip on in the entire game.
All Spiller needs to do to score a long touchdown is avoid a couple tackles, and he happens to have almost perfect scores in ratings that allow him to do just that. Not to be overlooked, as the Bills often did in 2012, is Spiller’s prowess as a receiver. A solid 82 catching rating and 88 jumping rating allow him to snag balls out of the air, and then after the catch he can utilize everything that makes him such a dangerous runner. When you’re talking about the best talents for the Bills in Madden 14, it just doesn’t get better than Spiller.
FS Jairus Byrd, 91 overall rating: Jairus Byrd has quietly been one of the most impressive young safeties in the NFL since leading the league in interceptions his rookie year. The Madden staff did a commendable job translating Byrd’s penchant for picks over to the game my imbuing him with jsut the right combination of abilities. Byrd has 87 speed rating, 93 agility rating and 93 acceleration rating, which aren’t particularly elite but certainly just fine for the free safety position. What stands out over most other players at his position is his 81 catching rating, 82 spectacular catch rating and 92 jumping rating.
So often in Madden safeties are in a position to make a play on the ball, but either flat out drop it or don’t elevate and fight for it. Not so often with Byrd. 81 awareness rating, 85 play recognition rating and 96 zone coverage rating put him in position to create more turnovers as well. Byrd is a a user-controlled players dream in Madden 13 and that should continue translate over well to next season.
DE Mario Williams, 96 overall rating: You can debate whether or not the Bills should have spent the money they did on Mario Williams, but that really doesn’t matter in Madden. Williams doesn’t exactly have any trademark qualities, but he’s a big, strong, athletic player who is equally adept in stifling both the passing and running games. Williams’ 93 acceleration rating and 93 finesse move rating will get him plenty of sack opportunities, while his 84 speed, 86 strength, 84 hit power, and 89 pursuit ratings make him a solid run defender. Just let him line up every play and do his thing.
If the next edition of Madden puts a greater focus on the defensive side of the ball, then you can expect players like Williams to soar in value.
Buffalo Bills Madden 14 Free Agent Hopefuls
Free agency will play a big role in Madden 14 next season, particularly with all of the talent that appears to be poised to hit the market. Will Buffalo be able to capitalize? After spending over $100 million in free agency last year to mixed results, it will be tough for Buffalo to throw too much cash around this time.
Michael Vick (QB): Alright, so I said it would be tough for Buffalo to spend big money again, but a quarterback is a quarterback and Buffalo is in desperate need for one. Plus, I imagine Vick will be had for a considerable discount compared to his last contract. It should be mentioned that new Eagles HC Chip Kelly doesn’t seem to immediately agree with the idea of letting Vick walk away, so he could be back in Philly next season. If he’s not however, Buffalo could use a player like Vick, especially as it could open things up even further for emerging star C.J. Spiller (as has been evidenced in the past when scrambling QBs tandem with good RBs).
If Vick isn’t a realistic option, then someone like Matt Moore probably will be. No matter how it shakes out, Buffalo needs to come out of this offseason with a QB, whether it’s in FA, the draft, or outer space.
Jairus Byrd (FS): Set to be a free agent, there’s little chance the Bills let Byrd get away from them, but it’s still a priority that needs to be addressed financially. Byrd is ready for a big pay day, and if the Bills don’t give it to him he will certainly find someone else. We expect the Bills will pony up the cash.
Andy Levitre (LG): Levitre has quickly emerged as one of the best young guards in the NFL, and only seems to be getting better. For a team that has been struggling on and off with offensive line issues over the years, it would make no sense to let Levitre walk in free agency this offseason, and with a 93 OVR rating in Madden 13, fans certainly will hope the team ponies up the cash.
Derek Cox (CB): After some early struggles in his career, The Jaguars’ DB from Williams & Mary has become a very solid corner for the team but is set to hit free agency this offseason. Teams don’t typically let solid starting cornerbacks that they draft go in free agency, however Cox has missed 14 games in the last two seasons due to injury, and it will be tough for the Jaguars to lock him into a significant contract with that kind of risk.
Cox may be one of those rare, good young players that actually hits free agency. A few years ago the Bills lost Paul Posluszny to the Jags in FA in a very similar situation: Good player, but too much of an injury risk to retain for the cost. Things worked out for the Jags with Posluszny who has never missed a game since signing, and it could work out for the Bills too with Cox. You can never have too many CBs in the NFL, and with Leodis McKelvin likely leaving the team, there’s room for him.
Buffalo Bills Draft Prospects
This is where I’m going to stop playing GM, and leave things to the people who know best: Buffalo Bills fans. The Bills have three picks in the first two days of the draft, including the 8th overall selection, so who do you think the Bills should draft?
Leave your favorite Buffalo Bills draft targets in the comments below, and tell me: What makes them such a good fit for the team?