A Maddening NFL Preview

by Justin Cherot

Fun facts about me that you can’t Google using this link or this link:

  • There’s an unreleased mixtape starring myself and G-Fury (AKA Greg Lambert, who just became the sprinting coach at the University of Richmond. How far we’ve come).  Not trying to brag, but if my delivery were just a tad better, I would be writing hot 16s for 50K a verse instead of gimicky blog posts for free 99.  Ya dig?  Alas, when you’re 28 and vocally you sound like an 11 year old version of Bow Weezy, it doesn’t matter what kind of fire you spit.
  • Jersey Shore has become a guilty pleasure of mine.  I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy it at first, but suddenly I find myself saying stuff like, “Look at that grenade” and “Sorry, I’m busy today.  Basically G.T.L all day, nothin’ I can do. ”  At times, I also find myself fist-pumping in the middle of aisle 41 in the flooring department during red time.  Do I need help?  Probably.
  • I’m a sports video game fanatic (actually you CAN Google this).

As a kid I spent weekends running dynasty and franchise modes in Madden and NBA Live.  This was my life (until I discovered women).  There was something really cool about seeing if art would imitate life and vice versa.  I actually remember playing Live ’03 in the off-season leading up to ’04 and creating Darko Milicic before he was drafted.  I controlled the Dallas Mavericks and I immediately traded for him, offering the computer-run some package involving Nick Van Exel.  Darko and Dirk were quite the combo for years.  Needless to say, life did not imitate art in that situation.  In any way.  Zero.  It amazes me that Milicic managed to re-up in Minnesota.  KAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHN!!!

I digress.  Last post I announced that a gimicky NFL preview was on the way.  As you know by now with Colin and I, life happens, so it took longer than I anticipated getting back to the keyboard, but I’m here now.  Fired up.

Hank Williams, Jr…. yes, sir… I am ready for some football.

And what better way to kick it off than to give you a wacky Madden preview?

Preface: for anybody living under a rock and not knowing how the game works (AKA you actually HAVE a life), I’m basically doing a one season simulation and seeing what happens.  During the simulation–just like in real life–stuff happens.  Players get hurt, teams go hot and cold, and surprises happen.  If I ran 100 simulations of how this season would play out–which I’m not above doing but I’m avoiding because my daughter has a meet and greet at school tomorrow– I would assume that Peyton Manning would set the world on fire 97.6 percent of the time.  But, much like the FIBA Basketball Championships (COME ON JUSTIN IT’S FOOTBALL SEASON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), we’re going with the one and done approach.

(By the way, Pittsburgh Steeler fans should be happy to know that Ben Roethlisberger‘s suspension was upheld in Madden court.  And, thankfully, nobody decided to pick up JaMarcus Russell.)

And, in case you’re wondering… yes… I will be pseudo controlling the Raiders.  Streaks all day.


Um... did the Rams make the playoffs? bizjerseys.com

Just finished the sim.  Talk about a crazy one and done!

Let me take a snapshot of how this insane regular season went down.

Here are your playoff teams:


Saints (14-2)

Seahawks (12-4)

Vikings (11-5)

Giants (9-7)

Rams (8-7-1)

Redskins (8-8)

The Rams finished second to last in the NFL in total offense and just 20th in total defense… and yet were able to limp into the playoffs past a historically prolific passing attack in Green Bay (more in a minute).  Meanwhile, Pete Carroll somehow willed the Seahawks to 12 wins and helped Matt Hasselbeck find the fountain of youth.  Also, so much for the Cowboys hosting that Super Bowl, huh?


Colts (14-2)

Patriots (11-5)

Steelers (11-5)

Chargers (10-6)

Browns (10-6)

Texans (9-7)

The Browns!?  Mohamed Massaquoi really made a name for himself in this simulation, finishing third in the league in receptions, and although Jake Delhomme threw quote a few picks (no surprise there), the Browns outlasted the Bengals and the Ravens to earn a wildcard spot.

Top Five Stat Leaders


Aaron Rodgers: 95.5 QBR, 60% completion, 3920 yards, 30 TD, 10 INT

Peyton Manning: 92.4, 62%, 4604, 33, 16

Donovan McNabb: 89.4, 59%, 3384, 25, 12

Tom Brady: 87.1, 61%, 3030, 23, 9 (12 gms)

Drew Brees: 86.4, 61%, 4558, 28, 18

McNabb shows he still has something left in the tank… good news for you, right, Colin?  Not listed: Tony Romo playing like the Hyde version of his idle Brett Favre with 22 picks.  The Boys did rally back somewhat, winning four in a row to finish 7-9… of course, you know things are bad when you have to RALLY to get to seven wins.


Adrian Peterson 1906 rushing yards, 18 TDs, 5.7 ypc, 119.1 ypg

Michael Turner 1652, 14, 4.6, 103.2

Brandon Jacobs 1281, 11, 4.6, 80.0

Maurice Jones-Drew 1248, 13, 5.9, 83.2

Deangelo Williams 1201, 10, 4.4, 75

If you’re curious, AP only put the ball on the ground four times this season.  It’s not the greatest number in the world, but if you’re a Vikings’ fan you take that because of the number of touches and yards he put up.  Nice resurgence for Brandon Jacobs.  Poor MJD: if his team wasn’t too busy getting blown out he’d get more touches.  Instead, his nearly six yards per carry gets lost in the shuffle.

Interesting “I can actually see this happening” storyline: Titans’ running back Chris Johnson played all 16 games and rushed for 982 yards.  Why is this plausible?  He got paid.  He didn’t get A-Rod or ‘Bron paid, but he got paid significantly more than what he was making.  Stranger things have happened.


Greg Jennings 104 receptions, 1568 yards, 11 TD

Marques Colston 103, 1277, 10

Hines Ward 89, 1228, 11

Reggie Wayne 86, 1466, 6

Mohamed Massaquoi 98, 1171, 6

I listed these guys in terms of overall quality season since there’s no real identifying benchmark stat for receivers like there are with QBs and tailbacks.  I’m still scratching my head about how the Packers didn’t make the playoffs with Rodgers and Jennings putting up great numbers.  They weren’t great running the ball, but they did have a top ten defense.  Weird.  Anyway, outside of Jennings (and obviously Colston because he’s a beast anyway) is Ward.  He achieved those numbers with three different QBs, including two very average guys in Leftwich and Dixon getting him the ball for the first five weeks.  Of course, once Big Ben came back from suspension the offense started to take off.  But, without Ward no way they make it to the playoffs.


Alex Brown 45 tackles, 18 sacks

Quincy Black 79 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 4 INTs, 5 forced fumbles

Cortland Finnegan 56 tackles, 9 INTs

Black got Defensive POY, but I think Brown deserved it, mainly because Black was toiling on a Buccaneer team that had TWO ties during this simulation.

Speaking of awards, Manning won MVP, which is funny because Peterson received Offensive POY.  Ryan Matthews won Offensive ROY (although considering the outcome of the simulation I would have voted for Mr. $50 Million Himself, Sam Bradford) and my boy Rolando McClain (Raider Nation, baby!) won Defensive ROY.

The results of the playoffs will be written in brief, high school wrap up format.

Wildcard Weekend

Steelers 27, Texans 21: Ben Roethlisberger had three touchdowns in the first half for the Steelers, who survived despite nearly blowing a 27-0 lead against a feisty Houston team making their first playoff appearance ever.  Texans’ running back Arian Foster rushed for 174 yards in the loss.

Redskins 27, Vikings 24: Clinton Portis ran for 138 yards, and Skins kicker Graham Gano won the game in OT for the Vikings, who must now be held hostage for another summer by Brett Favre.  Rex Grossman, relieving an ineffective Donovan McNabb, rallied the team in the second half after trailing 14-0 early on.

Giants 45, Rams 20: Eli Manning switched bodies with brother Peyton before the game and threw for a staggering 441 yards to lead the Giants into the divisional round.

Chargers 28, Browns 17: Phillip Rivers hooked up with Buster Davis three times in the end zone (wow) as San Diego eliminated the last remaining fraud in the playoffs.

Divisional Round

Colts 24, Chargers 17: With 2:36 left in regulation, Peyton Manning found Reggie Wayne in the end zone from a yard out, vaulting the host Colts over the Chargers.  In other news, Vincent Jackson was spotted at the game sitting next to Twilight star Dakota Fanning.

Saints 25, Redskins 18: Although the Saints were happy to come away with a victory and fortunate to run into a QB in Donovan McNabb who came back down to earth, the Madden curse apparently lives: Drew Brees will miss the conference championships with a meniscus tear.

I can't make this stuff up...

Patriots 24, Steelers 15: Tom Brady lived up to his end of the bargain, giving CBS an epic Manning/Brady showdown that will be sure to leave churches empty.

Giants 20, Seahawks 13: It took nearly 54 minutes before Brandon Jacobs got his fifth touch of the game, but he made the most of it, taking a hand-off 80 yards for the game-winning score.  Tom Coughlin defended his decision to give Ahmad Bradshaw 16 carries by saying, “This, right here, is my… SWAG!”

Conference Championships

Patriots 43, Colts 38: In a game where Peyton Manning threw for 368 yards and Tom Brady threw for 386, it’s fitting that Pats running back Fred Taylor would score the go-ahead touchdown.

Giants 27, Saints 17: Inexplicably, Tom Coughlin has completely lost trust in Brandon Jacobs, but for the second week in a row, the Giants’ defense confused the opposing quarterback… even if that QB was Patrick Ramsey.  Two lessons to be learned here: 1) Having a good back-up QB is extremely important, and 2) If you don’t want to suffer a crippling injury, do not agree to be on the cover of Madden.

Super Bowl (skipping the Pro Bowl because, much more so than other sports, no one cares)

Patriots 27, Giants 8: Tom Brady is back on top.  Offensively, the Patriots were not in top form, but it didn’t matter, because this time Eli Manning switched bodies with Betty White, finishing the game with five interceptions.


Did I just waste about two hours of my life doing that?  Possibly… oh well, it’s time for Jersey Shore on-demand.


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