How to run a successful, efficient offense in 'Madden NFL 18'

Madden NFL 18
EA Sports

Madden NFL 18 offers the most realistic mechanics in the series to date. This means that the game has become more engaging and authentic, but also that you’ll have to be more mindful to move the chains and get into the end zone on a consistent basis. Whether you’re having trouble choosing plays, want to be more accurate slinging the pigskin, or can’t get the run game going, we’ve got you covered. You don’t have to be an obsessive football fan (it doesn’t hurt though) to put up some crooked numbers on your friends. Let’s break down how to excel on the offensive side of the ball in Madden 18.

Choosing plays

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Madden playbooks largely mirror their actual NFL counterparts. There are 32 teams, and each one has its own playbook. In Madden, each playbook contains up to 500 plays across up to nine formations. That sounds daunting, but many plays are minor variations on a common idea, so the number of strongly differentiated plays much lower. You can take a look at playbooks for all teams in Madden 18 (or create your own) by scrolling all the way over on the main menu and selecting “customize.”

The good news is that you do not have to be a former football coach or signal caller to utilize your playbook well. While much of picking successful plays comes from trial and error, learning which and when to call certain plays can be boiled down to a basic formula.

Football fans know that the goal is to move the chains — gain 10 yards in three (or four) plays to get a new set of downs. With that being said, some Madden players are enamored by the long ball. We admit it — chucking the ball 40 yards down the field for your number one receiver to grab is thrilling. That doesn’t mean you should do it three times in a row. That will only lead to incomplete pass after incomplete pass, turnovers, and a predictable offense.

Make sure to mix things up. On first down, we find that either running the ball or short screen passes is the way to go. Eat up a few yards to make second and third down more manageable. If you gain five or six yards on first down, second down becomes more interesting. You can either take a shot downfield, or hammer down for a few more yards on the ground. But say you weren’t successful gaining more than a yard or two on first down, it’s usually a good spot for a pass play. Same with on third and long if you are in that situation.

Know when to go for it on 4th

One more thing about basic playcalling strategies. You have four downs to move the chains, but be wise. Risking a turnover on fourth down, when you aren’t in enemy territory is foolish against a human opponent, and only slightly less foolish against Madden 18‘s improved AI.

That being said, when you are in enemy territory, going for it on fourth and short situations is advisable. If you’re in that gray area between the 50 yard line and field goal range, we think the reward outweighs the risk. Our general rule of thumb is to go for it on 4th and 2 or less, as a typically run play will net you at least two yards.

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