Every true Madden player knows that defense wins championships. Finding a key play that gets your defense off the field on 3rd down is a must. This year, we have already covered specific topics like how to stop the read option, limiting TE’s over the middle and slowing down scrambling QB’s. But what about the basics to playing defense in Madden NFL 25?
STOP THE RUN
The new “Run Free” moves have made it difficult to stop the run in Madden NFL 25. Choose a 4-3 or 3-4 defense that will have more beef on the field than a nickel or dime look.
By selecting a Cover 3 and shading the safeties to the middle, it’s easy to control the deep safety in the middle and drop down to play the run. This will bring eight into the box and make it difficult for opponent to have an advantage at the line of scrimmage. Remember to get deep in the middle on a play action. The safety’s job is to play the edge and eat up blockers so teammates can make tackles.
In short yardage situations,, run commit before the play. This is a high-risk, high-reward move that can be used maybe 10-15% of the time with good success.
Pro Tip: Try using Elite Defenses like the 49ers and Bengals, loaded with solid front sevens that will make slowing down the ground game much easier.
Learn more about stopping the run.
PLAYING MAN TO MAN
Once you prove you can slow down the run game, most opponents will abandon the run and take to the air. That is a good time to utilize a nickel or dime formation to get more speed on the field. We like to use straight “two man under” coverage against the pass early in the game. This forces the opponent to prove they can beat man to man coverage.
Control whichever defender is guarding the HB on the play, and look to work the middle of the field if the HB stays in to block. If a slant pattern comes over the middle, use your defender to help out the CB.
Pro Tip: 2 Man Under is very susceptible to corner routes, so make sure to put the safety in a “buzz zone or hook zone” on the side where you expect the receiver to end up.
Read more on Corner Routes.
PLAYING ZONE COVERAGE
Every Zone play in Madden has a weakness. That’s just football. The key is to mix up coverage so the opponent can’t make consistent reads.
Pro Tip: Use the new “Cushion Coverage” adjustment before the snap.This will move the drop on your zones further back on long passing downs.
Learn how to disguise coverages.
LEARN HOW TO BLITZ
If an opponent has all day to sit back and read your zone defense, they will pick it apart. Once they start to get comfortable, ramp up the pressure and force them into making mistakes. Quickly call a blitz by flicking the right stick down, which sends aggressive pressure that forces a quick decision.
Blitzing can often lead to bad decisions, and is also great on 3rd and long. Our favorite blitz is the 4-3 Under “Edge Sting” because it doesn’t take any setup; just call it and go. If the offense doesn’t block an extra player, you will get pressure on the quarterback.
LEARN HOW TO USER DEFEND
User defenders make your defense much better in any situation. A general rule of thumb is to control a defender and patrol the weakest area of defense. This may change from play to play based on what schemes both teams are using. When we call a blitz from the left side of the field, we’ll monitor that area since there will be less defenders in coverage.
It’s important to learn an opponent’s timing and to always take away their number one option. Stand in front of the number one WR and hold down RB or R1 at the snap to “manually” press them off the line of scrimmage to throw off the timing of the route. Players can use safeties and linebackers to fly around the field and cover more ground. There will be a learning curve but soon enough, you will be playing like a pro!
Pro Tip: Advanced players should try turning off settings like heat seeker, auto strafe and switch assist to allow for more control of the defender.
If you have more questions about playing defense in Madden NFL 25, check out “This Week in Madden” every Wednesday night at 8 ET on www.maddentips.com. Send us your questions on Twitter as well! @MaddenBible, @SGibs7, @MaddenTips.
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