Madden 15: Release Date, Top NFL Player Ratings and Most Intriguing New Features

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistAugust 21, 2014

Aug 16, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu (43) stands on the sidelines prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 19-16. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

The Madden video game series is one of the most popular in history, and this year’s edition, Madden NFL 15, will be released on Aug. 26 in North America and Aug. 29 internationally.

Hardcore football fans and gamers are ready to witness the upgrades and changes that will come with EA Sports’ second release on the next-generation consoles. The graphics will be better, but many are also hoping for major improvements with gameplay.

Here is the full list of top player ratings and the most intriguing new features.

Top Ratings By Position for Madden NFL 15
Top Quarterbacks Team Rating
Peyton Manning Denver Broncos 98
Aaron Rodgers Green Bay Packers 98
Drew Brees New Orleans Saints 96
Russell Wilson Seattle Seahawks 93
Tom Brady New England Patriots 93
Top Fullbacks Team Rating
John Kuhn Green Bay Packers 93
Mike Tolbert Carolina Panthers 92
Marcel Reece Oakland Raiders 92
Anthony Sherman Kansas City Chiefs 90
Jerome Felton Minnesota Vikings 88
Top Running Backs Team Rating
Adrian Peterson Minnesota Vikings 98
LeSean McCoy Philadelphia Eagles 97
Jamaal Charles Kansas City Chiefs 97
Matt Forte Chicago Bears 95
Marshawn Lynch Seattle Seahawks 95
Top Tight Ends Team Rating
Jimmy Graham New Orleans Saints 97
Rob Gronkowski New England Patriots 96
Vernon Davis San Francisco 49ers 94
Jason Witten Dallas Cowboys 93
Greg Olsen Carolina Panthers 88
Top Wide Receivers Team Rating
Calvin Johnson Detroit Lions 99
Brandon Marshall Chicago Bears 96
Andre Johnson Houston Texans 95
A.J. Green Cincinnati Bengals 95
Dez Bryant Dallas Cowboys 94
Top Offensive Linemen Team Rating
Joe Thomas Cleveland Browns 98
Evan Mathis Philadelphia Eagles 97
Josh Sitton Green Bay Packers 97
Trent Williams Washington 95
Joe Staley San Francisco 49ers 94
Top Defensive Ends Team Rating
J.J. Watt Houston Texans 99
Robert Quinn St. Louis Rams 97
Cameron Wake Miami Dolphins 96
Calais Campbell Arizona Cardinals 96
Cameron Jordan New Orleans Saints 93
Muhammad Wilkerson New York Jets 93
Top Defensive Tackles Team Rating
Ndamukong Suh Detroit Lions 97
Geno Atkins Cincinnati Bengals 96
Gerald McCoy Tampa Bay Buccaneers 95
Kyle Williams Buffalo Bills 95
Jurrell Casey Tennessee Titans 93
Top Middle Linebackers Team Rating
Patrick Willis San Francisco 49ers 96
NaVorro Bowman San Francisco 49ers 96
Luke Kuechly Carolina Panthers 94
Derrick Johnson Kansas City Chiefs 91
Jerod Mayo New England Patriots 91
Top Outside Linebackers Team Rating
Von Miller Denver Broncos 96
Aldon Smith San Francisco 49ers 96
Justin Houston Kansas City Chiefs 93
Lavonte David Tampa Bay Buccaneers 93
Robert Mathis Indianapolis Colts 93
Top Cornerbacks Team Rating
Richard Sherman Seattle Seahawks 99
Darrelle Revis New England Patriots 97
Joe Haden Cleveland Browns 95
Patrick Peterson Arizona Cardinals 93
Vontae Davis Indianapolis Colts 92
Top Free Safeties Team Rating
Jairus Byrd New Orleans Saints 96
Earl Thomas Seattle Seahawks 95
Devin McCourty New England Patriots 94
Eric Weddle San Diego Chargers 94
Charles Woodson Oakland Raiders 86
Top Strong Safeties Team Rating
Kam Chancellor Seattle Seahawks 93
Troy Polamalu Pittsburgh Steelers 93
T.J. Ward Denver Broncos 91
Eric Berry Kansas City Chiefs 90
Reshad Jones Miami Dolphins 89
Top Kickers and Punters Team Rating
Brandon Fields Miami Dolphins 96
Matt Prater Denver Broncos 95
Andy Lee San Francisco 49ers 95
Robbie Gould Chicago Bears 93
Justin Tucker Baltimore Ravens 93



Most Intriguing New Features

Many jaded video game fans will claim that the latest edition of Madden is nothing more than a glorified roster update, but those people are flat-out wrong. Madden NFL 15 is a huge upgrade from last year’s game and will satisfy even the hardest-to-please gamers.

EA Sports has made major upgrades over the last year.

One of the biggest upgrades comes in the play-calling aspect of the game. Instead of the normal "Ask Madden" option, gamers will be given several options that consider the down and the opposition’s strengths and weaknesses. Using the success rates of other players and keeping track of how many times a play is used by an individual gamer, you will be able to spot trends and look to mix up the plays to keep defenses honest.

The new play-calling techniques also have the option to bunch plays by concept. If your team has a speedy back who likes finding open space, there will be a set of plays built to stretch defenses wide and opens up wider running lanes on the outside.

Another major upgrade comes along the defensive line. While many fans of Madden consider those who use the defensive line when playing novices, that isn’t the case anywhere with the War in the Trenches 2.0 improvements.

With each player along the line possessing certain talents, gamers will now be able to utilize the bull rush for powerful tackles or spin moves for ends with more finesse. Just like real football, Madden games can be won or lost in the trenches, meaning fans can now impact the play of the offensive and defensive lines more than ever.

The most important upgrade came to the tackling mechanics.

For years, there have been complaints about tackling in the Madden series. The introduction of the "Hit Stick" revolutionized the way gamers view playing defense, but the game has been changed again with the tackle cone. Instead of needing to make contact before initiating a tackle in the game, any player within the tackle cone for a user-control player is in range.

Madden developers have also done a nice job eliminating most of the complete missed tackles based on mistimed moves. Watching a defender fall down because of a premature button press was a sobering experience, but this year’s game puts the focus more on which tackle to use and less on the timing.

All of the changes and upgrades EA Sports has made sound like what the fans have been calling for over the years. With the excitement building as the release date approaches, gamers and football fans are ready for Madden NFL 15.


*Stats and information via