In this season’s edition of Madden, we’ve seen a very obvious change in how to approach Franchise Mode. With more top-tier talent at the top of draft classes and fewer elite Free Agents most off-seasons, building a contender, or continuing a dynasty, has changed from negotiating frugal deals with great players, to drafting the right players that will grow into superstars.
This year, each team gives a new challenge to help shape your future in Franchise mode. Whether you want to re-build a team that looks to be at least a few years from a playoff berth, or take a contender and win some games while making a roster of your dreams, each team can be its very own experience to enjoy.
Of course, some teams are better to use than others, and this list will tell you which new team to start your career as a Coach or Owner in Madden 17.
32. Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins are just not any fun this year. The team’s problem is they don’t have the talent to be a contender if you plan on simulating, but they’re good enough to get 6 or so wins, leaving you with a pick ~10 in 2017. On top of this, their Salary Cap situation is HORRENDOUS. When you give the money the Fins have to guys like Ndamukong Suh, Ryan Tannehill and Branden Albert, as well as having to re-sign Reshad Jones immediately, you either need to eat a big Cap penalty and get rid of them, or keep them on your roster until you can find a way to unload them for cheap. Either way, it’s going to be rough.
31. Los Angeles Rams
The Rams have their quarterback of the future, but considering he still has “Normal” development trait as of writing, the only way you can count on him is by utilizing the new option to fully edit players. Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone. The Rams need a lot of help, a new offensive line, linebackers, secondary. Besides Todd Gurley II and Aaron Donald, the talent and lack of 1st Round Pick will create a tough situation to succeed in.
30. New Orleans Saints
What was that I said about the Dolphins? With the Salary Cap? The Saints are in a very tough spot financially, and the only saving grace on your team is costing you $25 million. The defense is horrid, the receivers are underrated by the game, and after Drew Brees it’s tough to find a player worth using, especially on defense. A trade might be necessary for your team to succeed.
29. Minnesota Vikings
The problem with the Vikings can be fixed fairly easily. The team has a very good defense, but no 1st Round pick thanks to the fact that you have two quarterbacks that are around equal overall. If you leave Pre-Existing Injuries on, you really have to deal with Bradford, which means you won’t get a top pick in the draft season one. While there’s a ton of talent, you’ll need a new WR and CB, which are tough to find in free agency, and even tougher to find in the 2nd Round.
28. Indianapolis Colts
If you like quarterbacks, this team works. If you like, well, any other position, not so much. The Colts’ problem is that they seem so bland. Besides a QB, man there’s not a lot of talent. An old RB, a bad offensive line, really no defense to speak of beyond Vontae Davis. There’s just so much to fix here and some big contracts that would make it very tough to re-build, and when you simulate a season you see just how poor Madden thinks the team is.
27. Washington Redskins
Despite how cliched the jokes are, no, Kirk, I don’t like that. The Redskins need help in quite a few places, but the game values them just enough to win you games and take you out of a top pick. You need to re-sign Kirk Cousins to a big contract, and need a RB and some help on defense. This is another one of those situations where playing with them can be a bit difficult on All-Madden, and simulating will put you in a tough spot of possibly missing the playoffs by just a game or two. The irrelevance of this team makes it tough.
26. San Diego Chargers
Another team with just enough talent to make it difficult for you. The game values Joey Bosa highly, and Philip Rivers is a good QB. After Keenan Allen and one season of Antonio Gates, you have no weapons for Rivers, and besides good corner backs the defense is very meh. It’s just so boring to play as San Diego. Luckily, their new Color rush jersey is pretty sweet, so you’ll look good on the field, even if your play doesn’t.
25. Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore is another, meh, team. Flacco has a big arm, but isn’t the best to use. Their best skill position players are at TE. There’s not a ton of talent, but it seems like every position has a decent enough player to not make it a major need. In the secondary you have Jimmy Smith and Eric Weddle. Your offensive line will have Marshall Yanda. Kamar Aiken is a good enough WR. So you need to replace 78 overalls with 84 overalls, but at a cost to your Salary Cap.
24. Atlanta Falcons
I mean, you get Julio Jones? Besides Matt Ryan, Devonta Freeman, Julio Jones and Desmond Trufant, you’re not looking at a talented bunch. The real issue is that this seems like a team that won’t cooperate. If you want to re-build, they might go win 11 games through simulation (it’s happened to me).But if you want to make the playoffs, your defense is poor enough to put you in 45-42 shootouts. If you play on Trufant, they’ll destroy your CB2. If you play as Robert Alford, you’re giving up huge runs and quick hits in the slot. It’s a hard knock life.
23. Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles are actually good to use in Madden, as they have a shut-down defense and a young, promising QB. They need help on offense for sure, but a good defense will make it easy to focus on rebuilding your skill positions on offense. Plus, you got your first round pick back, albeit not your own. The problem here is that the positions, including on defense, that DO need help are usually tough to improve without trades. Getting a WR or CB, as I’ve mentioned, can be difficult, and those might be your top positions of need.
22. Detroit Lions
The Lions lost Madden Hall of Famer Calvin Johnson Jr., but Matthew Stafford still has one of the biggest arms in Madden. The defense needs help in some spots, and the offense can always use an improvement. There just seems like there’s a lot of positions you don’t NEED to improve, but can’t get over the hump until you do. It puts you in a tough place, and might make it more frustrating than enjoyable.
21. Cincinnati Bengals
Oh, Andy Dalton. Can YOU be the one to finally win the poor city of Cincinnati a playoff victory. Between the Bengals and Reds, they’ve won two playoff games since 1992. Those two playoff games were in a 3-2 series loss to the San Francisco Giants by the Reds in 2012. Ouch. The team’s issue is the age on defense, in the cornerback position in particular, and the offensive line, which needs a few upgrades. But overall, the talent is there to succeed now.
20. New York Jets
J-E-T-S! This is another team where the issue lies in whether or not you want to rebuild. At QB, you have Fitzmagic, who is good enough, but not great. Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker give you a good WR corps, and Matt Forte is good until he starts regressing. You can compete now or mortgage your team for the future. It can be fun, but it’s another instance where they might win regardless of what you do, or lose when you add pieces.
19. New York Giants
I guess this team depends on your play style. You get Odell Beckham Jr., and Eli is good. On defense you do have three good corner backs, two of them being very young in Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple. They picked up Olivier Vernon for those inclined to pass rush. But overall, there are quite a few holes, and your QB isn’t getting younger. This can be a very fun team, but if you like playing as a LB and running the ball, look elsewhere.
18. Buffalo Bills
Just imagine, you can be Rex Ryan. The glory. The Bills have a mobile QB which opens up your options on offense, a beast WR in Sammy Watkins. On defense, however, they need help. Draft a couple defensive lineman and add some members of the secondary and you’ll be set. If you download a Spread offense from User Uploads, this can be fun for a while.
17. Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks are stacked everywhere except offensive line. They are, as in real life, hot, stinky garbage. Re-building an O-Line takes draft picks. Not so much drafting new guys, but using them as trade bait. Offensive lineman can be found in draft and free agency, but I’ve had troubles in the past. Guys like Ryan Schraeder and Jack Mewhort can be traded for, and if you do that you can be the favorites to win the Super Bowl during your first season.
16. Green Bay Packers
The Frozen Tundra, of Lambeau Field. If you like cheese and using the most OP QB in the game, the Packers are for you. Rodgers gets to throw to Nelson and Cobb, hand off to Lacy, and the line isn’t the worst. On defense, well. . . Ha Ha Clinton-Dix sure plays well in this game, and Mike Daniels is a terror. The corner backs are good, but slow, and in this game that is key. Get some speed in the secondary, and you’ll dominate.
15. Houston Texans
J.J. Watt. Is that not reason enough? Brock Osweiler looks good in the game, and even if he didn’t Deandre Hopkins will catch nearly anything anyways. The defense is very good, and you can switch between Watt, Whitney Mercilus or Jadeveon Clowney on the front seven.
14. Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs are the same dominant on defense as the Texans, but have weapons on all three levels. Dontari Poe on the line, Tamba Hali, Justin Houston and Derrick Johnson in the second level, and Marcus Peters and Eric Berry on the third. This team legitimately makes the Super Bowl about 33% of the time when I simulate as an NFC team, or when I take control of a losing team in the AFC.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Make Jameis Famous. Winston is a great QB to use in Madden, he’s just fast enough to scramble, but accurate with a powerful arm. He can hand off to Doug Martin and Charles Sims III, or use one of them as trade bait. Mike Evans is a beast, and Vincent Jackson still is good for a year or two. One person to grow around on defense is Vernon Hargreaves III, who becomes shut-down very quick.
12. Arizona Cardinals
Arizona relies on their secondary, it’s as good as the Legion of Boom. Tyrann Mathieu and Patrick Peterson are so much fun to play with, and their WR group is stellar, from Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd, to both of the J. Browns. Just remember, David Johnson needs a QB in the backfield with him, and Carson Palmer isn’t getting younger.
11. Pittsburgh Steelers
You get Big Ben throwing to Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell coming out of the backfield. This team is fun already. The only real positive about the defense is you get to user Ryan Shazier, one of the most athletic linebackers in the game.
10. Denver Broncos
Good pass rushers? Check. Good corner backs? Check. Good receivers? Check. Good QB? Well. . . If you can get a QB on this team, you’re set. There’s a reason they’re the defending champs, there’s a ton of talent, even without Danny Trevathan and Malik Jackson. I’d go with an older QB and build Paxton Lynch in real life, but his Normal development trait won’t allow that.
9. Dallas Cowboys
Tony Romo, or Dak Prescott? You can trade Romo for picks and roll with Dak, who gets Ezekiel Elliott and Dez Bryant. Or you can go for a Super Bowl in the twilight of Romo’s career. The defense has talent and the offensive line is still unbelievable. Just remember if you roll with Romo to turn injuries off.
8. Chicago Bears
The Bears need a LOT of help. Luckily, they don’t need a WR and have very good linebackers. In fact, the only spot on the defensive line that’s not good, left end, can be filled by either Pernell McPhee or Willie Young to make a nice front seven. Jay Cutler’s contract is no longer guaranteed, which means you can get rid of him for cheap. But be wary, if you can’t get a new QB soon the team will be even worse.
7. Oakland Raiders
Thaaaa Raaaaidaahhhhs. Oakland has a very good young QB, WR and OLB to blitz with. Besides Carr, Cooper and Mack, there is SOME talent, but you still can add to it, especially on defense. It won’t be too tough to get some talent in the positions you need, but it can still be a bit of a challenge.
6. Carolina Panthers
Don’t look here to rebuild. This team is so good, it’s fun. Cam Newton is a great QB, both throwing and running wise. He throws to Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen, among others. Add in a defense with talent at each level, including Luke Kuechly, it’ll be fun to dominate other teams this much, dabbing the whole way.
5. San Francisco 49ers
This team needs help, well everywhere. You can add a new QB, WR, O-Line, D-Line, OLB, CB and safeties. Ouch. I have a VERY successful Franchise with San Fran through drafting. I have a drafted QB, RB, WR (That I traded and turned into Antonio Brown), TE, LT, C, RG, LE, DT, LOLB, CB and FS, all starting. You start with nearly nothing, save a few decent defenders like Navorro Bowman and Eric Reid.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville presents a few challenges, but is SO much fun. The two Allen brothers at the wide receiver position are much fun to use, especially with a young running back in TJ Yeldon and a young QB in Blake Bortles. So the offense is set, and on defense there are a lot of young players to build around. Jaelen Ramsey, Myles Jack and Dante Fowler Jr. are all 1st Round talents the Jaguars have taken the last two seasons. Them, along with Malik Jackson, Tashaun Gipson and Telvin Smith. Just don’t think that Michael Bennett on the D-Line is THAT Michael Bennett.
3. New England Patriots
The rich get richer. This is fun because you have a ton on defense, every position is stacked. You have good players at nearly every offensive position, except for, surprisingly, QB. Yes, of course Tom Brady is there, but for one season only. So do you build around Jimmy Garoppollo and Jacoby Brissett, sign a free agent like Ryan Fitzpatrick, draft a young guy, or make a blockbuster trade to bring in a new QB? You can win with any of them, thanks to guys like Jamie Collins and Malcolm Butler on defense and skill players like Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski.
2. Cleveland Browns
Good luck! There’s not one position you can’t upgrade on this team. You have a lot of money, a lot of draft picks, including two REALLY good ones during your first season, and can build an ENTIRE team by yourself to your liking. Just give the trainer a raise if you keep RG3.
- Tennessee Titans
The Titans take the cake for me. Just like the Browns, there’s a ton to do. But you have a good young QB, two good running backs, a decent O-Line, and some skillful players on defense like Wesley Woodyard and Jason McCourty. So you get a nice young team, with a lot of money, two picks in the first round of the NFL Draft and the ability to fix any position you want. You get the ability to rebuild, but have some fun players right off the bat, and that makes them a joy to use.