On August 15, EA Sports will release Madden 24 for console systems. It is consistently among, if not, the top-selling sports video game year after year. For the past decade, I have chosen FIFA over Madden, but I am coming back for 2023, and purchasing Madden 24 as part of a PS5 bundle.
It has not been the same game since killing NFL 2k by signing an exclusivity contract with the National Football League in 2005. Innovation, particularly in offline franchise mode has been non-existent. Great features like "create-a-formation" have been taken away and replaced with arcade features like the truck stick.
Despite all the reasons to stay away, I can no longer avoid playing as my favorite team and keeping the Patriots franchise going strong into the 2040s. So, if I'm going to use the greatest franchise in the history of the NFL, it would be nice to know what their roster will look like when I fire up the game in August.
EA Sports likes to play things pretty close to the vest, so they release the Madden 24 ratings one day at a time. Here is how the New England Patriots offense will look prior to roster updates when you first play the game.
Mac Jones 74 OVR (85 THP, 91 SAC, 82 MAC, 84 DAC)
Bailey Zappe 63 OVR (85 THP, 82 SAC, 76 MAC, 76 DAC)
Malik Cunningham 60 OVR (87 THP, 74 SAC, 74 MAC, 69 DAC)
Trace McSorley 56 OVR (84 THP, 72 SAC, 64 MAC, 64 DAC)
Neither Zappe nor Jones will blow your hair back, and their Madden ratings pretty much sum up the fan's view of the quarterback situation in New England. The quarterback most of us will be using in franchise mode is Malik Cunningham. He's not quite Michael Vick in Madden 2004, but with 88 speed and 89 acceleration to go with his 87 throw power, EA SPORTS is saying he is Tee Higgins with a better arm than Jalen Hurts. Yes, please.
Rhamondre Stevenson 80 OVR (89 SPD, 88 ACC, 86 BTK)
James Robinson 74 OVR (88 SPD, 90 ACC, 87 BTK)
Ty Montgomery 74 OVR (87 SPD, 92 ACC, 75 BTK)
Pierre Strong 69 OVR (92 SPD, 93 ACC, 77 BTK)
JJ Taylor 68 OVR (86 SPD, 89 ACC, 75 BTK)
Kevin Hartis 62 OVR (85 SPD, 87 ACC, 77 BTK)
If James Robinson had a little bit more awareness, he would be the best running back on the roster. Nobody told EA Sports, regardless of the awareness, he's not even on the roster. Because one of my favorite parts of the offline franchise mode is developing talent, I will probably rely heavily on Pierre Strong. His speed and acceleration make him faster than Josh Jacobs, Christian McCaffrey, and Nick Chubb. He won't break a lot of tackles at first, but you can train that up.
Juju Smith-Schuster 82 OVR (87 SPD, 91 ACC, 96 CTH, 92 JMP)
DeVante Parker 80 OVR (88 SPD, 90 ACC, 89 CTH, 95 JMP)
Kendrick Bourne 78 OVR (88 SPD, 92 ACC, 84 CTH, 88 JMP)
Tyquan Thornton 70 OVR (96 SPD, 91 ACC, 82 CTH, 89 JMP)
Demario Douglas 67 OVR (91 SPD, 93 ACC, 83 CTH, 89 JMP)
Kayshon Boutte 66 OVR (88 SPD, 90 ACC, 79 CTH, 83 JMP)
Matthew Slater 66 OVR (87 SPD, 87 ACC, 76 CTH, 79 JMP)
Tre Nixon 66 OVR (91 SPD, 91 ACC, 78 CTH, 83 JMP)
Not to be negative, but what is up with Kayshon Boutte's speed? He ran a 4.5 forty at the combine, and they have him faster than Juju? Sometimes you can only shake your head at how they rate these guys. On a positive note, Tyquan Thornton will be loads of fun to use, and Demario Douglas could be a high-80s player after a couple of seasons.
Hunter Henry 81 (82 SPD, 86 ACC, 92 CTH)
Mike Gesicki 81 (83 SPD, 88 ACC, 89 CTH)
Anthony Firkser 67 (78 SPD, 80 ACC, 81 CTH)
The tight end rankings really show how misguided Madden football has gotten. They view tight ends as big slow guys with great hands. I don't mind Gesicki's rating, because in Miami he was a situational player. A big target in the end zone. But Hunter Henry has been a complete tight end his entire career. He had a rough season last year, but he has always been reliable.
Guards and Centers
Mike Onwenu 85 OVR (91 STR, 83 RBK, 87 PBK)
David Andrews 83 OVR (86 STR, 88 RBK, 83 PBK)
Cole Strange 76 OVR (87 STR, 74 RBK, 78 PBK)
Sidy Sow 68 OVR (87 STR, 75 RBK, 69 PBK)
Antonio Mafi 67 OVR (86 STR, 75 RBK, 67 PBK)
Jake Andrews 66 OVR (87 STR, 74 PBK, 67 RBK)
Chase Hines 64 OVR (84 STR, 71 RBK, 64 PBK)
James Ferentz 59 OVR (79 STR, 64 RBK, 66 PBK)
Mike Onwenu was one of the best guards in football in 2022. It's a big reason he's poised for a huge contract extension. One finds it perplexing how he can be rated lower than a player he outperformed last year (according to Pro Football Focus) in Joe Thuney. In real life, Sidy Sow may move to starting tackle, but in the game, for now, he will be a backup guard.
Trent Brown 83 OVR (91 STR, 78 RBK, 86 PBK)
Riley Reiff 72 OVR (86 STR, 79 RBK, 76 PBK)
Andrew Stueber 63 OVR (82 STR, 71 RBK, 64 PBK)
Calvin Anderson 63 OVR (85 STR, 64 RBK, 69 PBK)
Connor McDermott 60 OVR (84 STR, 64 RBK, 65 PBK)
Patriots fans keep saying that WR is the biggest position concern on the team, but Madden 24 disagrees. The game makes offensive tackle look like the weakest link (which is why Sidy Sow will be starting there by the end of the year). If the game's prediction is true it's going to be a long season for Mac Jones or Bailey Zappe. If you are using the Patriots and franchise mode, it's a good thing you have Malik Cunningham. You're going to be doing a lot of running.
That's it for the Patriots Madden 24 offensive breakdown. A defensive breakdown coming soon…