Madden 20: 10 Ways To Improve Your Defense

With the recent release of Madden NFL 20 on every current video game platform, players are coming into their own and getting used to the gameplay in the newest entry in the annual franchise. The offense is often the side of the ball that gets the highlight plays and praise, but a good defense can come in handy. Knowing how to shut down your opponent can relieve pressure on both you and your offense to perform. It's time to look at 10 ways any players can improve their defensive play in Madden NFL 20.

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10 Don't Fear Vanilla

Many times when people start playing video games, they often fear getting familiar with the basics. The train of thought is that the more complicated or layered you make your play style, the more success you will find. Though there is some truth to making sure to change things up if you become too predictable, there's nothing wrong with sticking with a handful of defensive plays and getting used to them. It's often better to be skilled at a small number of things, then to slightly dabble in hundreds of them.

9 Hit Stick Havoc

When people first learn about the hit stick mechanic in Madden it's often the thing they attach themselves to. The belief is that you hit the ball carrier as hard as you can he's bound to fumble the ball eventually.

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The problem is that this type of aggressive play can be used against you and certain moves by the opponent can make you whiff tackles and spark big-play opportunities. Unless you need a turnover or it's a low-risk attempt, always opt for the safe and sure tackle. The big highlight hit stick play can wait for another down.

8 Bend Don't Break

Panic is a normal human reaction and often sets in at the moment an opposing offense gets a first down. The most common reaction is that your opponent can easily move the ball on you and even though they just gained a handful of yards, they're destined to score on this drive. The truth is that you're always better off giving up 5 yards instead of 50. Bending but not breaking will give you numerous opportunities to make a play, and forces your opponent to consistently beat your defense. Don't allow the big play downfield.

7 Outside/In

A long known tip for people looking to capitalize on the AI programming in Madden is to carry the ball inside and bounce it towards the sideline. This is also a practice often discussed in real-life for running backs. As a defender, you need to understand that forcing things back inside will always help your team. By simply making the opponent turn back inside it will give your teammates ample time to make a play on the ball, and it will also slow down the guy with the ball. Working from the outside back inside can turn a highlight run into a gain of zero.

6 Run Vs. Pass

This tip requires a little bit of knowledge about offensive formations in football and which ones are likely to result in a run play being called, and which are most often used to pass the ball. Having a simple understanding of this can set you up to partially know before the ball is snapped what's the likeliest play being run.

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Knowing if it's a pass or a run allows you to audible your play and can put you in an advantageous situation. You must also understand that you must also expect the unexpected.

5 What Level Fits?

Are you comfortable controlling the linebacker in zone coverage over the middle? Do you prefer rushing the passer on the line of scrimmage? Can you play safety and be a ball-hawk disruptor in the secondary? These are all questions you need to ask yourself if you're truly trying to get better on defense. The computer and AI can only do so much and it's up to you to figure out which level of the defense you can contribute to the best. It's all about alleviating risk and creating advantages for yourself and the players around you.

4 Hot Routes

Now you may be asking yourself why knowing hot routes would be important to playing defense. Well, if you know what type of hot routes can be called then you can be prepared for the changes your opponent makes at the line of scrimmage. There's only a select amount of routes that can be assigned and people tend to have go-to route combinations that can quickly be identified by simply paying attention. Knowing that your opponent hot routes the slot receiver to run a slant on 3rd down can make interceptions a piece of cake.

3 Man Vs. Zone

Newer players will often do one of two things when approaching how they play defense. They'll either only ever play man defense since it's more straightforward and easy to understand, or they'll bounce back and forth between man and zone in hopes of confusing.

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Like with most things it's important to experiment and find what works best for you and your players. If you have a superstar safety that thrives in zone coverage then you better get good at playing zone defense. Find what type of defense fits you and your players.

2 Know Your Stars

The NFL is slightly different than the NBA in terms of one superstar having the ability to change the success of an entire organization. Even teams that have great quarterbacks can fail to see success if the team around them is lackluster. When you're playing defense it's important to know your stars with X-Factor abilities. These players can often create havoc on their own and it lets you worry about the opposite side of the field considering they'll likely have their assignments covered due to their high overalls.

1 Understand Formations

Earlier there was a tip that talked about knowing the difference between running and passing formations. This tip dives a little more into that and tackles the subject from the defensive perspective. You should know what matchups your defensive formation can create for certain offensive formations. If your opponent is running a play with 3 receivers then you'll likely want to run something out of nickel to have the right amount of defensive backs. Take some time to understand when and against what you should call various defensive packages and formations.

NEXT: Madden 20: 10 Tips For Running The Ball With Skill

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