Only eight NFL teams are still playing, and come Monday that number will be down to four. As we have done all season, we simulated the games of the week, but for the playoffs we did a few things differently. Rather than simulate an entire week at once, we recreated each game individually to give us a better look at how these games will play out. We also tried to set the weather conditions based on the current forecasts, and made sure the rosters reflected those in real life.
Oh, and we fired the Xbox 360.
Throughout the season we’ve used both the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 4, and of the two the 360 had the better record. Because of that, we went back to the more successful version of Madden 25 for the playoffs. This was a mistake. Last week the game went 0-4 using the Xbox 360, so we fired it and went back to the PS4 for the second round of the playoffs.
In this week of the playoffs, Madden is picking three out of the four away teams. The only home team predicted to survive is New England. But if last week is any indication, that’s good news for the Colts.
Saturday, January 11
New Orleans Saints (12-5) @ Seattle Seahawks (13-3)
In the first game of the weekend, the Saints are predicted to roll into Seattle and win easily thanks to 305 passing yards from Drew Brees – 131 of those will go to Lance Moore alone. And hey, the Saints are hot right now following their win over the Eagles last week, which broke a five game playoff losing streak on the road. Maybe this is their year. Of course, the teams played once before back on December 2. Seattle, who has had two weeks to rest, won that game 34-7.
Saints 27, Seahawks 13
Indianapolis Colts (12-5) @ New England Patriots (12-4)
The Colts and the Patriots renew their playoff rivalry, but this time it’s without Peyton Manning. Instead, the Colts are led by young quarterback Andrew Luck, who last week helped engineer the second biggest comeback in NFL playoff history. According to Madden, Luck is going to have a bad day – just 139 passing yards. Brady isn’t going to have a record setting outing, but his 220 yards and 2 TDs should be enough.
Patriots 28, Colts 6
Sunday, January 12
San Francisco 49ers (13-4) @ Carolina Panthers (12-4)
Two of the best young quarterbacks in the league are going to take the field in Carolina, but according to Madden one team will support their QB more than the other. In the simulation, the 49ers recorded 322 yards of total offense, while the Panthers racked up 240. Of those 240 yards, Cam Newton was responsible for 210 of those, including all but 20 of Carolina’s rushing yards. Kaepernick, on the other hand, threw for 214 yards and was backed up by Frank Gore’s 78 yards.
49ers 28, Panthers 10
San Diego Chargers (10-7) @ Denver Broncos (13-3)
This marks the third time the Chargers and Broncos have played this season, with each team winning on the road. The last time the two played was almost exactly a month ago on January 12 when the Chargers went to Denver and won 27-20. In the Madden predictions, the fault doesn’t lie with Peyton Manning, who is expected to throw for 344 yards and 3 TDs. Philip Rivers isn’t expected to put up quite as many yards, just 281, but in the simulated game he did manage to match Manning’s 3 TDs. In the end though, it all came down to a San Diego field goal with 8 seconds left.
Chargers 31, Broncos 28