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Revisiting Madden NFL 16 predictions for the Buccaneers, Winston and Mariota

[EA Sports]
[EA Sports]
Published Jan. 22, 2016

In late August, the Tampa Bay Times fired up the PlayStation 4, loaded Madden NFL 16 and simulated the season 10 times.

How did those results match up with the actual outcomes? They weren't perfect, but the simulations hit the mark about as often as a quarterback hitting the slant route against the Buccaneers defense. In other words, Madden was frequently correct.

Here, we'll revisit the results, starting with the game's prediction for the Bucs' overall record.

What Madden predicted: In most simulations, the Bucs finished between 4-12 and 6-10. In their best season, they finished 9-7 but missed the playoffs. It was the only time they finished better than 6-10. Madden predicted the Bucs would score 314.2 points and allow 414.9 points.

What actually happened: After completing a fourth-quarter comeback against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 13, the Bucs were 6-6 and poised to significantly outperform the simulations. But they lost their final four to finish 6-10. Madden underestimated the Bucs' point total (342) by about 30 points but almost nailed their points allowed (417).

• • •

While Jameis Winston started the season with a higher overall rating (81) than Marcus Mariota (78), simulations generally favored Mariota, who had the better average quarterback rating, touchdown-to-interception ratio and completion percentage.

What Madden predicted:

WINSTON
GPCOMP %PASSING YARDSTDINTRATING
Average season14.956.33,149.419.813.679.7
Best season16593,684261485.9
Worst season16523,185172165.5

MARIOTA
GPCOMP %PASSING YARDSTDINTRATING
Average season14.062.12,769.019.09.892.6
Best season16663,140312117.2
Worst season13592,490131774.2

What actually happened: Winston easily surpassed the simulation averages and turned in a performance that more closely resembled the best season of the batch. He completed 58.3 percent of his passes, threw for 4,042 yards, 22 touchdowns and 15 interceptions, and earned an 84.2 rating.

The game's average forecast for Mariota was spot-on. The Titans rookie completed 62.2 percent of his passes (Madden predicted 62.1 percent), threw for 2,818 yards (Madden: 2,769), 19 touchdowns (Madden: 19) and 10 interceptions (Madden: 9.8), and earned a 91.5 rating (Madden: 92.6).

• • •

The Bucs were one of four teams (Oakland Raiders, Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers) to miss the playoffs in every simulation. In 2015, those teams finished with a combined 24-40 record, and only the Raiders (7-9) managed to avoid finishing in last place in their division. Madden postseason favorites? The Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots.

What Madden predicted: The Seahawks reached the playoffs in all 10 simulations, the Packers reached in nine and the Saints reached in eight. The Patriots won Super Bowl 50 the most often (three times in four appearances).

What actually happened: The Seahawks and Packers didn't dominate the NFC as much as Madden predicted, but both reached the playoffs as wild cards and play this weekend in the divisional round. The Saints temporarily recovered after a 1-4 start but ultimately finished 7-9. If the Patriots beat the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday, they will head to their 10th AFC championship game in 15 seasons and will be one win away from reaching Super Bowl 50.

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Contact Thomas Bassinger at tbassinger@tampabay.com. Follow @tometrics.

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