Last month we ran a series of simulated Madden NFL 21 games to see how accurately it could forecast the outcome of the NFC and AFC Championship games. As long as you factor in one or two minor roster issues, the simulations were very close. Over the average of five games, Madden correctly predicted the winner of both contests. Notably, Madden was one and a half points away from the point differential in the NFC Championship game. In addition to being off by fewer than 10 yards on more than five player stats. With that, we saw some value in running one more Madden simulation. Here are the results from the five simulated 2021 NFL Super Bowl LV games.
|Kansas City||Tampa Bay||Winner|
Looking at the scores two things stand out to me right away. The average total score is directly in line with the Vegas spread. The sports betting pros have Kansas City at -3. Madden 21 is right there with them. Secondly, Kansas City has two very oddball games for games four and five. Kansas City has only been held to under 20 points once this year. However, if you look closer, the Browns, Chargers (twice) and, Broncos all came close to holding Kansas City to under 20 points earlier in the season. So this is not entirely out of the question if you really look.
With that Tampa’s defense is very good. They held their opponents to 20 points or fewer eight times this year. Including a playoff game against the Saints. Equally important, the average point total is very close to the week 12 matchup between the two teams. A game where Kansas City won 27 to 24. Even with Tom Brady leading the Bucs back with two touchdowns in the final 12 minutes. It’s really hard to argue the outcomes here. Either Kansas City is the unstoppable offense that everyone thinks they are or Brady and the Bucs defense keep a close game.
|Mahomes Passing YDS||Mahomes Passing TD||Mahomes INT||Brady Passing YDS||Brady Passing TDS||Brady INT|
The Madden simulation runs in favor of Brady throwing for over 300 yards in the game. Something that I believe will be a factor if Tampa wins the game. Brady throws for over 300 yards in just under half the games played this year. Including that week 12 loss to Kansas City. In addition to the yards, the simulation loves a Brady interception. Brady throws an interception in all but one game on the virtual field. On the real field, he has been an interception machine. If you include the three he threw against Green Bay, he is leading the league. Another area where Vegas and the Madden simulation agree, taking the under on Tom Brady throwing one interception is +155.
On the other hand, the simulated Madden 21 games are not conclusive about Mahomes turnovers this weekend. The average interception total doesn’t give me any clear indication of how Madden 21 feels. This was the one stat I would have liked to see over 20 simulated games. Although we do have a clear indication of at least two Mahomes passing touchdowns. As long as Kansas City can keep themselves out of the game four scenario, where Mahomes turns the ball over three times.
Kansas City Rushing Leaders
|Bell Rushing YDS||Bell Rushing TD||C. Edwards-Helaire Rushing YDS||C. Edwards-Helaire Rushing TDS|
Something we touched on this during the Championship games is Madden’s inability to correct itself under drastic changes. I am scratching my head at the Super Bowl roster update that came down this week that is still way off. It’s hard to say that Le’Veon Bell is or isn’t the running back he used to be after two years in purgatory. With that in mind, the volume of carries Bell gets over Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Darwin Thompson, and Darrel Williams is inconsistent with reality. There is no way on earth these numbers are accurate and do not reflect anything that has actually happened this year. Since the trade from the Jets, Madden 21 has been completely unable to adjust Le’Veon Bell’s role in Kansas City and sees him as the primary back. This is a great conversation to have about how broken the Madden rankings can be at times.
Tampa Bay Rushing Leaders
|R. Jones Rushing YDS||R. Jones Rushing TDs||L. Fournette Rushing YDS||L. Fournette Rushing TDS|
The Madden simulation gives both Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette a 20% chance to score a touchdown during Super Bowl LV. I would rather see both numbers slightly higher but, given Brady’s ability to get one-yard goal line advances it’s hard to argue. Likewise in the Red Zone areas, Brady favors Tight Ends and slot Wide Receivers. So there is a case to be had here. Yet I have to disagree with a combined 40% chance that one of the two Running Backs scores a touchdown. It should be closer to 50% or even 60%.
Kansas City Receiving Leaders
The Madden simulation doesn’t seem too committed on a receiving leader between Sammy Watkins and Tyreek Hill. We see here a 20% chance of a touchdown for both. As well as a sub 100 receiving day with a 10-yard variance. As for Tight End Travis Kelce, Madden likes a 60% chance of him scoring a touchdown over Tampa Bay’s passing defense. What’s not shown here are brief appearances of both running backs. As well as a mix of Byron Pringle, Mecole Hardman, and Demarcus Robinson. All three Wide Receivers make an impact in a game then completely disappear for the other games. Out of the three Hardman leads the way. He is able to snag a touchdown and 154 yards between appearances in two games.
Tampa Bay Receiving Leaders
|Godwin Receiving YDS||Godwin Receiving TDS||Evans Receiving YDS||Evans Receiving TDS||Gronkowski Receiving YDS||Gronkowski Receiving TDS|
The Madden simulation loves a Chris Godwin touchdown here. Over the five games, he finishes with a 1.20 average touchdown total. Mike Evans is right behind him with one projected touchdown. What I am highly skeptical of here is Tight End Rob Gronkowski’s numbers. I do not buy that Gronk will have more than 60 yards but no touchdown. I am OK with the idea of him getting 50-60 yards in the game. I just think if it’s any more than that some of it will have to come in the form of a touchdown. What you won’t see here is Antonio Brown, he catches one touch down and averages about 30 yards over the five games. In addition to Brown, Scotty Miller has one 48 yard touchdown catch over the five games.
|R. Succop FG||R. Succop PAT||H. Butker FG||H. Butker PAT|
In the AFC Madden simulation, the very first game projected the exact stats of Kansas City Kicker Harrison Butker. Madden did not fare as well during the NFC Championship game. So it will be interesting to see where it lands here. The Madden simulation also has Ryan Succop kicking a perfect game. Something you have to think is a real possibility as Tampa will be playing a home game. This could be where it plays a factor that Tampa will be the first team in NFL history to play a Super Bowl in their designated home stadium. The current weather report for Sunday’s game calls for clear skies and 5 mph winds right at kickoff. This should make for an easy day for both Butker and Succop.