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Steelers Madden 13 Review Part II: Game strategy

Detailing the best way to play Madden 13 with the Steelers.

Bob Levey

Part I covers the Steelers' roster, and how it looked based on the 2012 season along with write-ups on each player and how they perform in the game.


The key to having a successful defense is to not give your opponent the same look from your play selection as the game progresses. Offenses are given many advantages in Madden and although you might shut down a user with the same play for a few drives, a good player will eventually work their way around that one scheme.

Be sure to find blitz schemes that work for your style of play in Tomlin's defensive playbook. It's ok to call an all-out blitz with no deep safeties to cover for a blown coverage on occasion. But you need to keep your opponent off-balance.

Blitz your cornerbacks from nickel packages, send one of your safeties on occasion to keep them thinking. These are all methods to keep your defense in control of a game. Many users have found weaknesses in the 3-4 base defense that allows for running games to run amok on the defense. So although I still use that package, I primarily come out in the nickel package to gain more leverage on a formation.

Be sure that in any package outside of the 3-4 or the 1-5-5, that you switch the formation to have linebackers lined up as the defensive ends. Harrison and Woodley's consistent abilities to rush the passer come in handy for coverage sacks. Whereas I used to just primarily use Timmons or Foote as my one defensive player to start with at the beginning of each play, I now primarily use Polamalu and switch as I see need be if I think I'm reading what my opponent is trying to do.

Also when playing against faster quarterbacks, be sure to put a spy on them and make it Harrison. If you contain the passing game to just the air, your job is that much easier. Make sure you have some overload and storm blitzes in your arsenal to stop the run and force quick decisions from your opponents.

However also learn how to rely on man coverage from your players and aid them with user controlled players covering the passing lanes that are open to the quarterback. Cover 2 zone schemes are very risky, but helpful for taking away the annoying comeback route that frustrates every Madden user at some point. Cover 3 schemes are very useful and can confuse opponents for a bit but eventually the deep ball usually opens up because of two passing lanes in between the 3 deep defenders.

Cover 4 schemes however are one of my favorite sets. You can play up as a safety and take a risk on an early route and still have 3 players playing deep looking for big plays. The biggest thing I've learned about the defense it that it pays to recognize routes. Many of the basic routes run by receivers on hot routes can be determined by the first few steps of their route that are designed to fool the defender guarding them. Once you pick that up more consistently, interceptions start to come more naturally.

As I said earlier speed is essential to cornerbacks. This year the Steelers finally got two who may not work in the long term, but their speed is well valued. Now it's not as hard to run with receivers and slow down offenses' air attacks. While it's not the best in the league, it's certainly improved from last year and can be useful in taking away routes users thought to be guaranteed plays.

Don't give up while on defense. This Madden can make games into high scoring affairs because of high-flying offense. It can be very frustrating at times, but often the defense can still make that game-winning play towards the end of a matchup. I could go on-and-on about the Steelers in Madden (even though I already have), but the point is they are a team with weapons not to be taken likely. I'm very excited to see how players start to be updated in the upcoming season.