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Explaining the science behind the Packers’ Madden NFL 20 player ratings

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There are a lot of numbers thrown around today, but what do they mean?

Green Bay Packers v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The ratings for EA Sports’ Madden NFL 20 came out on Monday and NFL fans are all up in arms about their favorite teams’ standout players. SO-AND-SO IS ONLY A BLAH OVERALL? PHOOEY AND PSHAW.

While the overall (OVR) rating will be what is used to catch your eye, a player’s individual stats have to be looked at to see how that rating came about. For example: the OVR stat is weighted heavily by the awareness (AWR) stat. This is kind of an all-encompassing “good at football” ranking.

Every rookie has a lower OVR than their physical traits should add up to because of an artificially lowered AWR stat. For example: Green Bay Packers rookie pass-rusher Rashan Gary and Bears safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix ran the same 40 time at their respective Combines. They have 86 and 87 speed (SPD), respectively. Gary is, however, only a 73 OVR. How is that possible? He has 68 AWR. EA lists him as “not good at football” until proven otherwise. If he plays even half-decently during the season, roster updates will raise his AWR and his OVR will skyrocket.

Side note: If you play Madden Ultimate Team, look at Gary as a possible “user” option at outside linebacker. His low overall will make him a fairly easy card to get and his physical stats paired with a user’s stick skills should make him overpowered in the early game. He’s going to be a pass-swatting nightmare at 6’4” with an 89 jump stat.

Going back to the “stats behind the stats” discussion, let’s look at the wide receivers.

Packers wideout Marquez Valdes-Scantling has 93 speed, 91 acceleration, and 88 agility. For all intents and purposes he should be an absolute monster of a wideout. In reality, he’s a 73 OVR. His various “catching” stats are in the 80s, his various types of “route running” stats are in the 70s, his release stat is 73, and his AWR is 72. Expect the virtual MVS to round off cuts, get jammed at the line, and generally be out of position.

Compare this to the Packers’ best wide receiver in Davante Adams. He is not the physical specimen that MVS is, but has a 92 overall. Lower speed but similar acceleration and agility to MVS’ help, but where Adams is getting his OVR boost from is his 96 AWR, 96 release (holy crap), catching stats in the 90s, and various route running stats in the 90s. Virtual Davante will be almost impossible to jam at the line and run some of the most crisp routes in the game. You will also be able to count on him catching the ball, even in traffic. He just may get caught from behind and will struggle to beat most number 1 corners over the top.

Other notable OVRs that are catching peoples’ eyes include David Bakhtiari and Aaron Rodgers. In previous years, Rodgers has been a 99 while this year he is merely a 90. Playing an entire season on a Tibial Plateau Fracture affected his performance in nearly every manner. Until proven otherwise, the virtual Aaron will play slightly hamstrung with lower throw power, accuracy, and speed ratings.

Bakhtiari, however, is rated as a 97 OVR with the sub-stats to match. He has a 97 pass block rating with 96 pass blocking power and 98 pass blocking finesse. The virtual Bakh will be a nearly impenetrable wall against both speed rushers as well as power moves. His run blocking is a good-but-not-great 82, with his power and finesse being 79 and 84. However, he was given an 88 lead-blocking stat so he will be a big help when pulling or if your offense runs screens to the left.

Madden overalls usually get people worked up, but knowing the stats behind the stats can help a user understand both the how and the why of the singular number plastered all over social media. They also show that not all equal OVRs are equal. Understand how a player got there and you will understand how to best use them.