Leading up to Sunday’s Championship games, we wanted to see how well Madden can predict the future. We ran five fully simulated Madden 21 games of Sunday’s NFC matchup. In order to see how accurately a Madden simulation can forecast an NFL playoff game. We started with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers against the Green Bay Packers. What we are looking for is not only a predicted winner but player statistics. We ran our sims with the game’s latest update as of January 22nd.
|Game 1||20||26||Green Bay|
|Game 3||27||34||Green Bay|
Madden 21 has Tampa Bay winning three of the five simulated games. The first thing that stands out to me is game four where Tamps’s defense holds Green Bay to three field goals. You will see once we dive into the player stats Madden has a lot of respect for the Tampa defense. The game believes Tampa can hold Green Bay’s quarterback Aaron Rodgers and, wide receiver, Davante Adams, from having huge games. As noted, Green Bay is held to under 30 points four times. Something that has only happened four times this year over 17 games. Remarkably one of them was against Tampa Bay on week six where they lost 38 to 10 in Tampa. With that Madden could really be on to something here. It should be noted in the 21 to 9 game four simulations, Rodgers and Adams both fumbled the ball once.
|Brady Passing Yards||Passing TD||INT||Rodgers Passing Yards||Passing TD||INT|
Madden loves Tom Brady in this matchup. Over the five games, Madden is projecting Brady will throw for over 400 yards twice. The Green Bay defense is ranked seventh overall in the NFL in terms of passing yards allowed. While the Tom Brady and the Tampa passing attack is ranked second. This will be a great matchup to watch. With that Green Bay is going to be very dependent on their defensive line to pressure Brady into throwing the ball away. While still needing Aaron Rodgers to accumulate over 260 yards.
During the Tampa and Green Bay week six matchup, Tampa was able to sack Aaron Rodgers five times on a loss of 53 yards. Plus capitalize on two Green Bay turnovers. Proving that the Tampa defense is good enough to still win without Brady’s 400 yards. With this in mind quarterback turnovers are going to be hypercritical to whoever wins this game. With the addition of the Aaron Rodgers fumble in simulated game two, both quarterbacks turn the ball over twice during the five games. A complete tossup.
Receiving Leader Stats Green Bay
|Valdes-Scantling YDS||Valdes-Scantling YDS||Allen Lazard YDS||Allen Lazard TD||Davante Adams YDS||Davante Adams TD||Robert Tonyan YDS||Robert Tonyan TD|
Particularly I found the Devante Adams stats to be quite interesting. Madden is seemingly convinced he is going to have a sub-par game. Over the five games, he fails to catch one touchdown, never passes 100 yards receiving, and is held to under 50 yards three times. According to Pro Football Focus, Devante Adams is tied for 4th in total yards on the year and, second in total receptions compared to every receiver in the NFL. Seven times this year Adams has passed 100 yards and twice he has approached 200 yards in a single game. The Madden simulation is a big believer in the game plan Tampa has to prevent Adams from having a big day. During their previous matchup this year, Adams was held to 61 yards on six receptions and zero touchdowns.
Receiving Leader Stats Tampa
|Chris Godwin Yards||Chris Godwin TD||Mike Evans Yards||Mike Evans TD||Scotty Miller Yards||Scotty Miller TD||Gronk Yards||Gronk TD|
Other notable mentions here include Tampa WR Chris Godwin, Greenbay WR’s Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Alan Lazard. Godwin leads the way nearly every game. Madden has him at nearly a 100% chance to catch a TD during this weekend’s matchup. While Valdes-Scantling and Lazard take over as leaders when Tampa is able to hold Devante Adams. Notably, what Madden is saying here is, if Tampa commits to stopping Adams by double-teaming him, Lazard and Valdes-Scantling will have a say as to whether or not Green Bay will move on to the Super Bowl.
Green Bay Rushing Leader Stats
|Aaron Jones Rushing YDS||Aaron Jones Rushing TD||Jamal Williams Rushing YDS||Jamal Williams Rushing TD||Alan Lazard Rushing YDS||Alan Lazard Rushing TD|
As he did all season Aaron Jones leads the way of the two-headed running back tandem in Green Bay. Additionally, Lazard sneaks in a goal-line rush during a trick play in game one. Outside of that Madden favors Jamal Willaims to get the touchdowns scored during the NFC Championship game. Yet during their week six matchup, Aaron Jones was the only Green Bay rusher to score and, he did it from the goalline. The Madden simulation doesn’t project that rushing will play a big part in who wins, only who has clock control at the end of the game. Aside from some key third-down conversions.
Tampa Rushing Leader Stats
|Ronald Jones Rushing YDS||Ronald Jones Rushing TD||Leonard Fournette Rushing YDS||Leonard Fournette Rushing TD||Tom Brady Rushing Yards||Tom Brady Rushing TD|
What’s missing from the stat lines here is a total of three rushing attempts from LeSean McCoy. Madden believes he is likely to get near one carry. While McCoy was on the field for two snaps against New Orleans last week, he did not receive the ball once. Although Madden isn’t far off, as McCoy is averaging 1 carry per game over his 10 games. Likewise, you have a vintage Tom Brady goal-line sneak during game four. This is during the major defensive shootout scenario where Tampa wins 21 to 9. This is all too familiar for anyone who has had to suffer through 20 years of Brady greatness.
The Kicking Game
|Crosby PAT||Crosby FG||Succop PAT||Succop FG|
The majority of the games do come down to field goals. Plus the average score over the five games is only separated by about three and a half points. The weather report calls for snow during the game with a temperature high of 30 degrees and a low of 18. The wind should only have a minor impact as it is projected to be around five to ten miles per hour. During the only Madden simulation with snow, Green Bay won 26 to 20.
During that snow game, Tampa Kicker Ryan Succop misses one field goal that would have made the 20 to 26 final score much closer. He also misses one in game four where Green Bay is unable to convert a touchdown due to turnovers. Both kickers are perfect on their point after touchdowns. Additionally, Green Bay Kicker Mason Crosby misses a meaningless field goal in game three where Green Bay wins by a touchdown.
What The Data Says
I believe that the Madden simulation data is saying what most NFL pundits are saying leading up to this game. It’s incredibly hard to predict who is going to win this game. Both of these teams are very close and it’s really going to come down to what team can minimize mistakes and penalties. The turnover leader never wins in any of the five matchups. Equally as with the penalty leader. The week six contest between the two teams shows that both teams had statistically off games. While the Tampa defense was able to take advantage of mistakes and win.
It’s pretty clear that Green Bay is perfectly capable of winning a “revenge game.” Although they will not be able to get away with making any mistakes. With that, it’s amazing that after all of these years Tom Brady is in an opportunity to have a mistake-free game of his own and move on to another Super Bowl.