It's the first Madden ratings update of the new year, so it still feels somewhat appropriate to talk about resolutions I have no intention on keeping. As is tradition.
I'll start with an easy one. I'll stop predicting 100-yard games for Todd Gurley. He accomplished that task just once this season, and that was back in Week 5 against Buffalo. After that, I assumed I was going to be right about that eventually. To be fair, it wasn't entirely his fault. The lack of any resemblance of a passing attack didn't open the field, but he didn't look like the same player from last season.
Also, the Rams scored less points at home this season than the total score of this year's Rose Bowl. Rose Bowl, 101. Rams at home, 99. I know what you're thinking, that's pretty close. Well, one of the Rams' home games was in London. So technically, that's 101-89. Turns out LA is still waiting on the Rams to return.
Another thing I'll do this year is find out what happened to Rex Ryan's truck. It's easy to forget the important things when NFL head coaches, and GMs in some cases, are getting cut (he wasn't cut, but in all seriousness, best wishes to Gary Kubiak). But as ridiculous as it is, that truck had Bills Mafia written all over it. In retrospect, this truck might have made Rex look better prepared for tailgating rather than leading a team. But hey, we'll always have this image to remember.
One last thing I'll stop doing this year is doubting Matt Ryan. I always recognized the skill, but was never overly excited about him. I always considered him a Matthew Stafford with a weaker arm. Well, he spent the offseason working on deep throws, and it paid off. He set career highs in yards (4,944), touchdowns (38) and passer rating (117.1). All while throwing just seven interceptions, the fewest season total of his career. Sure, he still has on the of best receivers in the game to throw to, but man, I wouldn't be disappointed if he won MVP honors. Good work, Matt.
Anyway, on to the ratings...
Moving On Up
Aaron Rodgers has been on a bit of a roller coaster this season in the ratings. But, as the best QB in the league, he righted his ship. He's thrown 18 TDs and 0 INTs over his last seven games. This was after a slow start where Rodgers faced criticism over off-target throws. Since then, he's been well on his way to Club 99. Rodgers currently stands at 96 OVR after a two-point bump.
I already said my peace with Matt Ryan. He's floated around in the 80s for some time in Madden. His great season has granted him access to Club 90. I'm sure this was his goal all along. He might retire before his playoff game now that he's accomplished this feat. It's not like he wants a Super Bowl ring or anything. Ryan is up two to stand at 91 OVR.
Moving On Down
By the end of the season, the Rams' defense began to crumble towards the end of the season. Alec Ogletree had perhaps one of the larger downward spirals on the team. With the right coach, we should see a reenergized Rams' D next season with the Ogletree we know. But in the final weeks, it just didn't look like this team had anything left. Ogletree is down five points, bumped all the way down to 76 OVR.
It's been a season to forget for the Minnesota Vikings. There was an OK five weeks there in the beginning, but man, it was rough. This is a team with a LOT of questions heading into the offseason. The future of Teddy Bridgewater is still relatively unknown. Their running game didn't produce much with Adrian Peterson sidelined for most of the year. But even when healthy, Peterson doesn't run well out of the shotgun, changing what the Vikings would do on the field to accommodate Sam Bradford's talents. With all that, the team could save some cap space by cutting ties with Peterson. He's still a talent, but we might've seen the last of him in a Vikings uniform. He's down two points to 87 OVR.
I mean, he was clearly banged up, right? Players always start to age out, but I don't think it can be just that. Revis Island was basically nonexistent all year. He might shift over to safety next year, which could work. He doesn't have the speed to shadow top tier receivers anymore. A.J. Green torched him this season. Like Peterson, we might see Revis in a different jersey next year. Maybe a return to the Pats? Either way, he's down two points to 81 OVR.
Six bold predictions for Wild Card weekend
6.Le'Veon Bell is the most versatile running back in the league. An argument can be made for David Johnson (let's hope for a speedy and effective recovery there), but no other back in the league is as fast out of their cuts. This is the first playoff game where the Steelers will have both Bell and Antonio Brown healthy. Look for Bell to total over 200 yards in this one with a pair of TDs in a win over Miami.
5.Connor Cook, rookie QB and the Oakland Raiders backup to their backup, will give the team their first road playoff win since 1980. I'm not saying he's going to be lighting up the score against Houston or anything. I'm just expecting him to suck less than Brock Osweiler. Khalil Mack is going to frustrate Brock all day. Point of note, Cook is going to be the first QB in the Super Bowl era to start a playoff game before a regular season game. The Raiders will grind this one out.
4. This is more of a theory than a prediction, but Rex Ryan will find a new gig. He'll find a gig for some sports network, traveling the country, getting team-themed trucks and hitting up tailgates around the NFL. It'll be a combination of Tackle My Ride and Ultimate Tailgate. The more I think about this, the better I think this is. I came up with this first. This terrible article is proof!
2. Woah! Matthew Stafford is 5-45 in his career against teams that finish the season with a winning record. That's not good. Well, at least he's not going to play anyone who's tough to beat at home. What's that? Seattle? It's been a good run for Detroit and they're trending upward, but there's no way they beat the Seahawks at home. Oh, and the Lions haven't won a playoff game on the road since 1957. This game will be lower scoring than most will think, but the Hawks will take this one.
1. The Giants-Packers matchup is likely the game of the week and the winner will likely be in the NFC Championship. Little known fact, Eli Manning has just as many playoff wins in Lambeau as Aaron Rodgers does. Rodgers, as mentioned before, is on a bit of a hot streak with 18 TDs and 0 INTs in his last seven games. Manning has never gone more than four games without throwing a pick. Manning and Beckham are going to get theirs, but Rodgers is going to be too much, even for a good Giants defense. Look for the Packers to barely squeak out of this one to move on.