One of the biggest stories of the young NFL season is the rebirth of Philip Rivers. Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes (or maybe it's a lightning bolt), Rivers is once again among the elite quarterbacks. Not only are the Chargers playing well, and Rivers a fantasy stud once again. But he's starting to see his rating rise in Madden.
And that's why we're all here, right?
Rivers is one of the biggest comeback stories in the NFL so far this season and now it's not just Ken Whisenhunt and Mike McCoy who will benefit. The quarterback, who has thrown 11 touchdowns and just two interceptions, had a ratings increase to 88. He also gets upgrades in AWR (+2 to 91) and TAS (+3).
Yes, it's hard to imagine how Rivers awareness would rise up with the departure of Norv Turner. All right, that as a cheap shot. But Rivers is on the rise! Eww, that pun also was cheap.
AGI: 98 (+1); AWR: 86 (+1); CTH: 82 (+1); CAR: 81 (+3); ELUS: 95 (+2); BCVision: 87 (+3)
Moving on up
* And if Rivers isn't the biggest story of the year, it's Reggie Bush who has absolutely set the world on fire with his performances with the Detroit Lions. It's like Bush has found the perfect offense for him and he's been fantastic. Bush received a boost of two points up to an 87 overall with upgrades in CAR (+3 to 81) and ELUS (+2 to 95).
* If you ask me, Aqib Talib was the reason why the Patriots made such a huge run to the AFC Championship Game last year. And if you asked me, the Patriots would have gone to the Super Bowl if he hadn't been hurt. Talib has been just as good this season and he's up to an OVR of 90 after a three-point bump thanks in large part to an AWR (+4 to 84).
* For years, the Lions have looked a lot like a Madden defense. As in, we didn't play any. (Well, me at least.) The Lions are 3-1 and have looked great against some big-time offenses thanks to Ndamukong Suh. He saw his rating increase to a 97, which is up a point. The big bonuses came in BKS (+2 to 90) and PUR (+2 to 95).
Moving on down
Madden Next Gen TeamMadden Next Gen will follow 25 NFL players throughout the Season. Fans can rank this list each week based on performance. This ranking will influence the rankings in Madden 25.
All right, I might have gotten ahead of myself when I wanted Jay Cutler to be in the MVP conversation. I get that now after a horrible game against the Detroit Lions. I expected a ratings decrease from Cutler and we got it. He's down a point to 86. The biggest hit? Yep, it was the AWR: 76 (-3). You don't need to rub it in.
Six Predictions for Sunday
6. Calvin Johnson continues his touchdown streak as he'll get one against the Packers. The Lions, who ended a huge losing skid in Washington, will threaten to end theirs at Lambeau Field but fall just short.
3. Andre Ellington will run for 100 yards and a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers. Bruce Arians was quick to anoint Rashard Mendenhall the starter during the preseason. But he is finally going to be pushed aside by Ellington.
2. Tony Romo has been fantastic in recent weeks, and he's going to out-duel Peyton Manning this week. And many of you will scoff, because for some reason we all revere Manning but look down at Romo. Honestly, if Romo played for any other team, he would be one of the most respected players in the league. He was an undrafted quarterback for crying out loud. Romo has four touchdowns, but the Cowboys still lose.
1. The New York Giants will score more than a touchdown this week! I know, lofty goals. But not only will the Giants score, they will actually beat the Philadelphia Eagles. David Wilson will be asking for a ratings boost after a huge breakout performance against the Green Birds.
Did you know that Adam Rank won last year's Expert's League title? Oh that's right, it's like the only thing he ever talks about. Well congratulations, Rank. You finally did something. What have you done for us lately? Let's worry about 2013 and stop living in the past. Typical Lakers fan, am I right? Oh, if you found this useful (as if) check him out on the latest "Dave Dameshek Football Program". And follow him on Twitter, please. He's taking us to lunch if he gets 17 more Twitter followers today. And we only got 15 the last time, so step up fantasy enthusiasts!