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Here’s how wrong Madden 22’s Super Bowl prediction was

Every year, EA runs a simulation of the Super Bowl within its Madden video game series. Sometimes the games can be spot-on, predicting the eventual winner of the real game with a fairly accurate score. Other times, it can be a total bust (remember when it predicted a 30-27 win for the Rams in Super Bowl LII?).

If you’re a Cincinnati Bengals fan, you might be feeling especially mad at Madden 22 this morning. This year, the game predicted the Bengals would win the game 24-21. While that score was almost perfect, it had the wrong team winning. Just how inaccurate was this year’s simulation overall? Let’s go quarter by quarter.

First quarter

Prediction: “Cincinnati scores first with a Joe Burrow touchdown pass to Ja’Marr Chase, but the Rams quickly answer with a four-yard run from Sony Michel to tie the game.”

Reality: And the simulation is immediately off to a bad start. The Bengals did not, in fact, start the game with a touchdown. Instead, the Los Angeles Rams were the first to draw blood with a touchdown pass to Odell Beckham Jr. Running back Sony Michel ended up having a weak game overall, only running for two yards across two attempts.

First Super Bowl Catch. First Super Bowl Touchdown.@OBJ | @RamsNFL

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The Bengals didn’t leave the first quarter empty-handed, though. Cincinnati put three points on the board following an amazing catch from Ja’Marr Chase. At least Madden 22 got the Bengals big first quarter star right.

Second quarter

Prediction: “The lone score in the second quarter came just before halftime on a 32-yard catch and score from Cooper Kupp, giving the Rams a 14-7 halftime lead.”

Reality: Both teams scored in the second quarter, but there was some truth to simulation here. The Rams started the quarter with a touchdown and Cooper Kupp was indeed responsible for it (though it was an 11-yard catch). Unfortunately, a snap snafu left the Rams with 13 points instead of 14. They did have the halftime lead, however.

Joe Mixon touchdown pass. ‼️

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— NFL (@NFL) February 14, 2022

The Bengals did manage to score this quarter too, thanks to an impressive trick play that saw Joe Burrow passing to Joe Mixon, who tossed it to Tee Higgins in the end zone. The final score here was 13-10, which wasn’t too far off from Madden’s guess.

Third quarter

Prediction: “Defense ruled the third quarter as Eli Apple intercepts Matthew Stafford for a touchdown coming out of halftime, tying the game at 14.”

Reality: The Bengals comeback story was correct in this quarter, but it didn’t shake out quite like this. The third quarter started hot when Joe Burrow immediately threw a 75-yard pass to Tee Higgins. Granted, the referees missed what appeared to be a clear face mask, letting Higgins get points off a penalty.

An INT @ChidobeAwuzie will never forget. 🙌

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— NFL (@NFL) February 14, 2022

To Madden’s credit, the game called a Stafford interception, though Apple wasn’t the hero. Chidobe Awuzie got the ball after Ben Skowronek missed a pass and batted it in his direction. That turned into a successful field goal attempt, putting Cincinnati at 20 points. The Rams got a field goal of their own, leaving them trailing the Bengals by four going into the final quarter.

Fourth quarter

Prediction: “Offense dominated the fourth quarter, beginning with a Bengals touchdown drive led by Burrow that culminated in a 13-yard touchdown pass to Tee Higgins. Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford and the Rams answered on a touchdown pass to Odell Beckham Jr., tying the game late in the fourth quarter. With just enough time on the clock, Burrow leads the Bengals on one final drive, where Evan McPherson kicks a game-winning 49-yard field goal, giving the Bengals their first Super Bowl victory in franchise history.”

Reality: This ended up being pure fan fiction in just about every way. For one, the fourth quarter was all about defense. There was only one scoring drive in the quarter and it wasn’t the Bengals. The Rams would rally late in the quarter for a game-winning touchdown. It’s also worth noting that Odell Beckham Jr. wasn’t a game-changer in the fourth quarter, as he was out of the game with an injury at that point.

IT'S BEEN COOPER KUPP ALL YEAR.

HE DOES IT AGAIN. #RamsHouse

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— NFL (@NFL) February 14, 2022

The Bengals would try to rally for a tie in the two minutes following, but a failed fourth-down conversion left Cincinnati empty-handed. The final score was 23-20 with the Rams winning. That number isn’t actually too far out from Madden 22‘s 24-21 prediction (the Rams would have hit 24 had they not missed an extra point), but the wrong team won in the end.

Better luck next year, simulation.

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