Madden 23, and the NFL in general, is the most competitive it’s been in a long time. Neither conference has a clear front-runner, and most divisions are evenly matched. That said, there are still some teams that are clearly better equipped than others. For example, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should mop the floor with the New York Jets 10 times out of 10.
With most teams in Madden 23 hovering in the mid-to-high 80s, deciding which are best can be tricky. Some players take the edge over others. Some units are built to run, whereas others are made to pass. Players have several playstyle options to choose between pocket passers, scrambling QBs, bruising RBs, and hard-hitting defenders. So, in our opinion, here are the best teams in Madden 23.
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L.A. Rams (88 OVR)
It’s only fair to kick things off with the defending Super Bowl Champions when discussing the best teams in Madden 23. Matthew Stafford and Odell Beckham Jr. found a welcome home in the City of Angels and hoisted the Lombardi trophy with the help of Sean McVay’s genius offensive playstyle. Cooper Kupp made mince meat of every CB in the league, while Aaron Donald made opposing QBs tremble in their cleats.
The Ram’s offensive playbook keeps things pretty simple regarding formations. There are only five, and you’ll only ever use two of them: Singleback and Gun. Within those formations, you have 28 different alignments (14 in each) to give variety to your playcalling. If you’re someone who likes to line up in Shotgun all game, Sean McVay’s playbook might be calling your name.
Things are different on the defensive side of the ball. The Rams can line up in all three run-stopping formations (3-4, 4-3, and 4-4) along with Nickel, Dime, and Quarter to stop the pass. The 3-3-5 defensive meta from Madden 21 and Madden 22 has been replaced by 3-3 Cub, which is available in The Rams’ defensive playbook.
As for personnel, the Rams have four players with X-Factor abilities. Aaron Donald’s Blitz ability is perfect for rushing the QB as it depletes the resistance bars of on-field defenders. Jalen Ramsey can go toe to toe with the best WRs in the game with his Bottleneck ability, pressing them at the line and throwing them off their routes. Cooper Kupp will win all 1v1 RAC catches when he’s in the zone, and Bobby Wagner can force fumbles when he connects with a downhill hit stick.
Matthew Stafford isn’t a bad QB to have under center, either. Even though he doesn’t have an X-Factor ability, his passive skills make him an elite deep passer.
Cincinnati Bengals (85 OVR)
Where there’s a Super Bowl winner, there must be a Super Bowl loser. Joe “Joey Cool” Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals put the AFC on notice after being the conference laughingstock for many years. They’re no longer Tom Brady’s revenge team (“We’re onto Cincinnati”) and should be a force to reckon with if Joey Cool and Ja’Marr Chase stay healthy.
The Bengal’s offensive playbook isn’t overly complicated to learn, either. You’ll have a solid mix of run and pass plays, including 18 RPOs (mostly RPO Peek plays). While in the Gun, you’ll have three different spread offensive formations (empty backfield) to run. Bunch Quads gives you all the benefits of Bunch while keeping your RB split wide to occupy the flat defender. However, you can’t move that RB into the backfield without changing the formation.
The Bengals’ defense can come out in the 46 formation, which is meant to plug the gaps and shut down the run. Their Nickel packages will always rush four defensive linemen, allowing you to play the run and pass at the same time. However, having faster LBs at the DE position can give you better pass coverage. Their Dollar formation comes with unique blitzes, allowing you to send quick pressure while covering the middle of the field.
Joe Burrow is the only Bengal with an X-Factor, but don’t let that dissuade you from using the Super Bowl runner-ups this year. Run and Gun grants Burrow perfect passing while on the run. You can think of Burrow as a traditional QB who can scramble if he wants to. Call a designed rollout play to burn them with something deep when your opponent gets comfortable with Burrow standing in the pocket.
While he’s in the pocket, his Fearless passive makes him immune to defensive pressure. Pass rush is ruthless in Madden 23. With defenders in his face all game, Joe Burrow will do what he does best: keep his cool.
Meanwhile, Rookie of the Year Ja’Marr Chase will have defenders chasing him all over the field while Joe Mixon trucks and stiff-arms his way to first downs.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (90 OVR)
Tom Brady retired, then he unretired, then he disappeared, and now he’s coming back. Little has changed in Tampa, and while Kyle Rudolf is no Rob Gronkowski, he’ll be a welcomed weapon for Brady and company. Even though they’re the highest-rated team in Madden 23, we couldn’t call Tampa Bay the “best.” Brady may be stellar in the pocket, but he still runs like a Clydesdale.
Like the Rams, the Bucs run everything out of Singleback and Gun formations. You’ll still have plenty of strategic options within those formations, especially since the Bucs pride themselves on talented TE duos (like Tom’s Patriot teams of old).
For example, Singleback Ace puts Cameron Brate and Kyle Rudolf on either side of the line to block in the run game or catch passes. Don’t bother having them pass protect, as most TEs in Madden 23 can’t block to save their skin. No matter the play, Brady can hot route into flood concepts, adding an extra layer to every offensive formation.
The Bucs’ defensive scheme has all the best Nickel formations in the game, including 3-3 Cub, 2-4 DBL Mug, and 2-4-5 Odd. The latter two are great for faking your opponent with blitzes, while the former spreads your defense in pass protection. Just be careful in 3-3 Cub — the single LB isn’t great at stopping inside runs. Remember, in most defensive packages, you can always sub an SS at the MLB position for added speed. However, that leaves you even more vulnerable in the running game.
The Bucs have three X-Factor players: Brady, Mike Evans, and Lavonte David. As if Brady didn’t need any more help, his Pro Reads ability highlights the first open receiver and ignores all pass rush pressure. Meanwhile, he sports the best QB passive ability in Madden 23, Hot Route Master, allowing Brady to call four other hot routes at the line of scrimmage, including posts, corners, and stop-and-go routes. Regarding base QBs in Madden 23, Brady is the only one with Hot Route Master.
Lavonte David’s Run Stuffer X-Factor makes him more effective in the run game, while Mike Evans will always win aggressive catches in 1v1 coverage. Coupled with his Red Zone Threat passive, a hot Mike Evans might be the most dangerous WR in the RedZone in Madden 23. Mega-stars aside, The Bucs practically have passive superstar abilities at every meaningful position.
Kansas City Chiefs (86 OVR)
Patrick Mahomes and the Chief’s redefined entertainment over the past few seasons. Nobody throws a no-look pass like Patrick Mahomes, and Travis Kelce officially became the best TE in the game after Gronk retired (again). Even without Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs have enough residual firepower to put up a fight in a highly-competitive AFC West. They’ll need to, especially now that Russel Wilson’s come to rescue the Denver Broncos.
On offense, the Chiefs are a solid passing and RPO team. Out of the Gun Deuce Close formation, the play RPO Read Flat Wheel gives you the iconic shovel pass play to Kelce when he runs behind the line and catches a little underhand toss. Unfortunately, there are only eight Play Action Passes (PA Passes) in the playbook, and they’re all basically the same play. You commit yourself to the passing game when playing Kansas City.
You’ll get the Big Nickel Over G formation on defense, providing decent run support while keeping five speedy corners on the field. Meanwhile, the Dollar Normal formation keeps seven DBs on the field, ultimately forgoing a pass rush to blanket the turf in coverage.
The Chiefs have Mahomes and Kelce to carry their offense. Meanwhile, Chris Jones can knock offensive opponents out of the zone with his Momentum Shift X-Factor. They say to never throw across your body, but Mahomes is the only person allowed to break that rule. His No-Look Deadeye grants him 20 yards of perfect throw accuracy on cross-body throws, meaning he can hit 20-yard crossers heading left while he’s running right.
Travis Kelce will be every Chiefs fan’s favorite target. Like Mike Evans, he’ll win aggressive 1v1 catches while in the zone. He also has four additional hot routes when lined up at TE and can hurdle over defenders without fumbling.
Green Bay Packers (88 OVR)
Aaron Rodgers is still among the top quarterbacks in the NFL. Unfortunately, he’ll have to find a new favorite target now that Davante Adams is catching passes from Derrek Carr in Las Vegas. He’ll have several teammates to lean on, including Jaire Alexander in the defensive backfield and David Bakhtiari watching his blind spot at LT.
Green Bay’s offensive playbook features everyone’s favorite formation from Madden 22, the dreaded Bunch TE. Bunch TE gets the CPU to come out in heavier packages. Sub Sammy Watkins at the slot position (either manually or by selecting the Slot WR package from the Play call menu), and you’ll get a 91-speed receiver running across the field. As long as you put Robert Tonyan (the TE) on a streak, Watkins should get open on his crosser. It’s not perfect, but it works most of the time.
On defense, Green Bay’s 3-4 Bear formation gives you an interesting way of hiding Cover 2 while keeping a run-stopping package on the field. The play is called 2 Invert Hard Flat and shows a single-high safety, the telltale sign of single-high man or Cover 3. Your opponent might audible into a Cover 3 beater and then make an errant throw when they realize what’s happening.
Once Rodgers gets in the zone, there’s almost no stopping him. His Dots X-Factor ability grants him perfect pass accuracy on every throw, while his Gunslinger passive grants him faster passing speed. Coupled with Pass Lead Elite, Rodgers can hit and lead a receiver the second they get open. On the other side of the ball, Jaire Alexander and his Shutdown X-Factor will erase another team’s best WR.
Tennessee Titans (82 OVR)
Derrick Henry is the Tennessee Titans. Even though they’re an 82 OVR, Henry can singlehandedly beat any team he plays. But let’s not discredit the rest of the organization. Ryan Tannehill is a decent quarterback. He’s no Tom Brady or Joe Burrow, but he can still do his job. Meanwhile, the Titan’s defense is no joke with Kevin Byard at FS and Jeffery Simmons on the defensive line.
On offense, the Titans have one of our favorite formation combos from Madden 22. Out of the Strong formation, you can switch between Y Off and Close to leverage a ton of coverage beaters. Swapping between these formations is also pretty quick, as your outside receivers will split wide or close in tight. You can quickly back up into Gun Split Twins if you feel a blitz coming.
Don’t be tempted by the Wildcat formation to get direct snaps to Derrick Henry. When the defense picks a play, they’ll see you’re lining up in Wildcat and just call a run-stuffing play. You also can’t audible out of Wildcat, so you’re stuck running whatever play you called.
The Titan’s defensive playbook includes a mix of run and pass-stopping plays. 3-4 Under puts five defenders on the line of scrimmage, allowing you to mix up your blitzes to keep your opponent guessing. You’re also getting Nickel 3-3 Cub and Dollar 3-2 Mug from Coach Vrabel’s playbook.
Derrick Henry’s Freight Train X-Factor increases his chances of breaking the next tackle attempt. We’ve found that this plays differently than it reads on the field. While in the zone, Henry will break the first tackle attempt on any play. So, when running a stretch play on the goal line, don’t hesitate to run farther outside with Henry. If he’s got one guy to beat, just run through him. Perhaps Henry’s stats and passive abilities increase his break tackle RNGs so drastically. But hey, we’re not complaining.
Buffalo Bills (89 OVR)
Move over New England; there’s a new juggernaut in the AFC East. With Brady gone and Mac Jones in his second year, the future looks bright for Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs. They were a coin flip away from the AFC Championship game in 2021, and their lethal secondary could have kept a short leash on Matthew Stafford and the Rams in the Super Bowl (assuming they beat Joey Cool).
The Bills’ offensive playbook has one of the best RPOs in the game. Out of the Pistol Open Flex Close formation, the play RPO Read Flat Wheel gets someone open 70-plus percent of the time. We ran this play repeatedly against random Nickel defenses and got a first down or touchdown seven out of 10 times. Don’t ever hand it off or run with Allen; just wait for Davis to get open on his wheel route or Knox to get open in the flat. Because Allen starts running by default, the defense plays the QB run. You can also flip the play to put Diggs on the wheel route.
The Bills’ defensive playbook keeps things simple. 4-3 Under crowds the line of scrimmage with four down linemen and an LB, and you’re still getting the best Nickel formations with 2-4 DBL Mug and 3-3 Cub. The Dime Normal rushes four on every play, so you don’t totally negate your pass rush whenever you come out in Dime (six DBs on the field).
The Bills have four X-Factor players: Diggs, Allen, Tre’Davious White, and Von Miller. Allen to Diggs might be the new Brady to Moss this year, given Allen’s Bazooka and Diggs’ RAC ’Em Up X-Factors. Meanwhile, White, Micah Hyde, and Jordan Poyer will keep guys like Mike Evans, Tyreek Hill, and Ja’Marr Chase under control. Von Miller’s Fearmonger ability will force inaccurate throws, even when engaged with a blocker. And a lousy throw into that secondary is sure to end in disaster.
Baltimore Ravens (87)
Lamar Jackson redefined the phrase Madden Rage since his NFL debut in 2018. Ever since, players have been rolling out and gauging defenses for huge yards, rivaled only by the Michael Vick days of old. But Lamar has more weapons than his feet. He’s still a top-tier quarterback with a talented TE and speedy WRs. What else could he want other than a healthy backfield?
The Play Action Passing game is your best friend when using Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. Once you mix in enough RPOs and read option plays, those rollout (Bootleg) PA Passes will create massive holes for Lamar or easy passing lanes to hit receivers downfield. Plays like PA Boot Slide (and all its variants between formations) work wonders. Don’t get too comfortable, though. Madden 23 made a point to end the scrambling QB meta.
Defensively, the Ravens have five Nickel Packages, including 3-3 Cub and 3-3 Odd. Nickel Triple is good for confusing opposing QBs regarding who’s rushing as several LBs crowd the line and then drop back into coverage depending on the play. You can also hot route those LBs to blitz someone else while you control someone in coverage.
Lamar’s Truzz X-Factor prevents him from fumbling while in the zone. Otherwise, quarterbacks will fumble after most hard tackles, even guys like Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen. Since you’ll run with Jackson often, get him in the zone before taking on defenders in the open field. Meanwhile, Mark Andrews is a deadly TE vying for that “best in the league” moniker held by Travis Kelce. His Matchup Nightmare passive makes him especially deadly against LBs. Motion him inside to get the mismatches you need.
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