Madden '12 Bracket Predictions: Who Will Emerge from Final 8?

Austin SchindelAnalyst IIApril 6, 2011

Madden '12 Bracket Predictions: Who Will Emerge from Final 8?

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    Once March Madness ended, you thought you were done with brackets, right?


    The spreadsheets, the concentration, and the formulas for picking which team is going to win it all is downright addicting. So why would the sports world deny you of this gut wrenching, nerve-racking, hair pulling American tradition?

    Who are we kidding, we love brackets...and the ceremonial burning, ripping, or crumpling up of this infuriating document. 

    So when the people at Madden '12 told us that we can decide who the next player to grace the cover of the game will be, I don't know about you, but I got pretty excited.

    We have reached round three at this point, the elite eight, and this is when it gets serious. We have some of the NFL's best players still in the running for this prestigious honor, all of whom will have serious knee, shoulder, and back injuries in 2011. Hey, no pain, no gain.

    Here are the remaining eight Madden cover contestants and your winner...

Meeting the Finalists: Aaron Rodgers (1)

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    Seed: 1 (NW Region)

    Credentials: 1x Super Bowl Champion, 2010 Super Bowl MVP, 2009 Pro Bowler, made everyone forget about Brett Favre in Green Bay

    How he got here:

    Round 1: defeated Ndamukong Suh (72%-28%); Suh could not scare the hell out of the voters all the way from inside the computer

    Round 2: defeated Sam Bradford (76%-24%); a little rookie hazing


    Rodgers is the new "It" guy in the NFL. He is smooth, gutsy, and has a cannon for an arm. They say he is number 12 because he is three times better than Brett Favre.

    Anyone who watched the Super Bowl knows that this guy is a gamer and, most importantly, he is looking more and more like a consensus first round fantasy football draft pick.

    He did the Disney World thing, the Letterman thing, and now he is going for the Madden '12 cover. 

    3922 65.7 28 11 101.2

Meeting the Finalists: Danny Woodhead (4)

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    Seed: 4 (NW Region)

    Credentials: 547 rushing YDS, 379 receiving YDS, 5.5 AVG, five TD, nine tackles, smallest guy you never want to run into

    How he got here:

    Round 1: defeated Brian Orakpo (61%-39%); Orakpo almost ate him upon hearing the news of defeat

    Round 2: defeated Hakeem Nicks (57%-43%); first round pick, meet undrafted free agent


    If you watched Hardknocks with the New York Jets, you would know how hard this guy works and how awesome he is.

    Wait, did I just type with the NY Jets? Yup. That is because he was cut by the Jets midseason, signed with their biggest rivals, the New England Patriots, and went on to not only play Gang Green the next week, but score a touchdown.

    He is a fan favorite who, I hear, was in line to play Frodo Baggins in Lord of the Rings before Elijah Wood swooped in. Just imagine if he would have taken the part. The movie would have been over in an hour; he would have just done a little of his patented juking and run through the line and destroyed the ring much quicker.


    97 547 5.6 36 5

Meeting the Finalists: Jamaal Charles

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    Seed: 6 (SW Region)

    Credentials: 1x Pro Bowler (2010), 1x All-Pro (2010), second leading rushing in the league (2010), impossible to catch

    How he got here:

    Round 1: defeated Tim Tebow (64%-36%); the Tim Tebow love stops here!

    Round 2: defeated Maurice Jones-Drew (51%-49); close call against very similar player


    6.4 yards per carry is no joke. This guy does not get nearly the credit he deserves for the amount of work he does on so few carries. It is nice to see the Madden playing community of couch dwellers and chip eater knowing their stuff.

    Charles barely snuck by Jones-Drew in round two, and certainly cannot slip up if he wants to beat Peyton Hillis who nobody wants to vote against in fear of being run over. 

    Should be an interesting elite eight matchup.


    230 1467 6.4 80 5

Meeting the Finalists: Peyton Hillis

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    Seed: 10 (SW Region)

    Credentials: Tied for third most rushing touchdowns in 2010 (13), will be known as the guy who got stolen from the Broncos in the Brady Quinn trade

    How he got here:

    Round 1: defeated Ray Rice (62%-38%); battle of the AFC North goes to Cleveland. First time they have something to celebrate in quite some time

    Round 2: defeated Matt Ryan (51%-49%); like his playing style, a truly gritty defeat


    If Thor and Chuck Norris had a love child, this is what it would look like. There are rumors that he is actually The Thing from the Fantastic 4. The actual reason the NFL is considering not playing next season is because Hillis was hurting the ground too much.

    People like Hillis for the same reason they love Woodhead; he is tough, puts his body on the line every single play, and will fight for that extra yard if it means it will help the team.

    Did I forget to mention that he was traded....for BRADY QUINN.


    270 1177 4.4 48 11

Meeting the Finalists: Drew Brees

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    Seed: 4 (NE Region)

    Credentials: 5x Pro Bowler, 1x All-Pro, 2008 Offensive Player of the Year, 2009 Super Bowl Champion, 2009 Super Bowl MVP, lead the league in almost every single passing stat at one point or another, brought the city of New Orleans to life (if that's even possible)

    How he got here:

    Round 1: defeated Josh Freeman (56%-44%); Freeman will have his chance one day. For now, bow to the King

    Round 2: defeated Mark Sanchez (61%-39%); the Sanchize was taught a lesson in how being better actually matters


    The 2011 Madden Cover model is going for back to back appearances and the chance for Madden immortality. Standing in his way is Adrian Peterson, coming off of the drubbing of Phillip Rivers. 

    The question is, does Brees even want to win? Sure, he did not go down with a devastating injury, but his team did lose in the first round of the playoffs to an inferior team. There had to be have been a divine intervention by the Madden gods during Marshawn Lynch's run.

    4620 68.1 33 22 90.9

Meeting the Finalists: Adrian Peterson

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    Seed: 9 (NE Region)

    Credentials: 4x Pro Bowler, 2x All-Pro, lead the league in rushing (2008) and in rushing TDs (2009), made Brett Favre look good, apparently not a big fan of the new NFL labor negotiations or the NFL at all

    How he got here:

    Round 1: defeated Julius Peppers (57%-43%); NFC North showdown: Game. Set. Match. Peterson

    Round 2: defeated Phillip Rivers (56%-44%); another thing Rivers can whine about


    After losing to Brees and the Saints in the 2010 NFC Championship game, their bad blood pours over into the cyber world. Peterson is the work horse for the Vikings, and as the team prepares for the upcoming season (whenever it is), they hope once again the Vikings lose. Why you ask?

    THE CURSE!!!!!!!!!

    The entire state of Minnesota should be holding their breathe and feverishly voting for Drew Brees to end this madness. 

    283 1298 4.6 80 12

Meeting the Finalists: Michael Vick

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    Seed: 3 (SE Region)

    Credentials: 4x Pro Bowler, 2010 NFL Comeback Player of the Year, rushed for 1,000 yards as a quarterback (2005), has brought us some of the best NFL highlights ever

    How he got here:

    Round 1: defeated DeMarcus Ware (76%-24%); just another subplot to the 2011 season in the always furious NFC East

    Round 2: defeated Andre Johnson (62%-38%); both reign from Big East teams that moved to the ACC; nothing particularly exciting about that, just a fun fact


    Vick little sabbatical seemed to do him wonders. He came out looking more like a quarterback, yet still hasn't lost that special ability to get out of the pocket and make things happen. He is the other remaining candidate who has graced the cover before, on Madden 2004.

    PETA has already asked EA Sports to take down his name from contention as the Madden cover model despite only being in the elite 8. Patrick Willis must be an animal lover or something.


    3018 62.6 21 6 100.2

Meeting the Finalists: Patrick Willis

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    Seed: 7 (SE Region)

    Credentials: 4x Pro Bowler, 3x All-Pro, 2007 Defensive Rookie of the Year, the guy I'm picking if I ever get into a fight

    How he got here:

    Round 1: defeated the Seattle 12th Man (54%-46%); congrats Patrick, you beat something that does not even really only 8 percent!

    Round 2: defeated Hines Ward (60%-40%); he gets props for that one; Ward is both a popular and a tough dude.


    Willis is the bright spot on a 49er team that cannot seem to keep a coach. Willis was one of only six players that were rated as a 99 in Madden 2011 (including Brees). The fans are not letting Willis go without a good run here in the 2012 Cover battle.

    He faces a tough opponent in Michael Vick in the next round, and will undoubtedly need the support of all of the 49ers fans in order to pull off the upset.

    128 101 2 0 6.0

Elite 8 Matchup #1: Rodgers(1) Vs. Woodhead (4)

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    NW Regional Championship

    Winner: Aaron Rodgers

    Why: Woodhead has had a good run, but Rodgers is the favorite to win the whole tournament. Apparently being the Super Bowl MVP wins some brownie points with the voters. Better luck next time half pint.

Elite 8 Matchup #2: Jamaal Charles (6) Vs. Peyton Hillis (10)

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    SW Regional Championship

    Winner: Peyto Hillis

    Why: In this case you have to ride the underdog. People love Peyton Hillis and if there was ever a time to help out the city of Cleveland, this is it. 

Elite 8 Matchup #3: Drew Brees (4) Vs. Adrian Peterson (9)

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    NE Regional Championship

    Winner: Drew Brees

    Why: Peterson is a great player, don't get me wrong, but he is also not Drew Brees. We inch a little bit closer to repeat cover.

Elite 8 Matchup #4: Michael Vick (3) Vs. Patrick Willis (7)

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    SE Regional Championship

    Winner: Michael Vick

    Why: As much as I would love to see this one-on-one match-up in real life, I will have to settle for a Madden cover bracket for now. Vick gets the nod because he is back and better than ever. I love the battle of the former cover models in the semi final.

Final 4 Matchup #1: Aaron Rodger (1; NW Winner) vs Peyton Hillis (10; SW Winner)

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    Final 4

    Winner: Aaron Rodgers

    Why: Rodgers is simply dismantling these underdogs. How can you bet against this guy? Peyton Hillis is the man, no doubt about that, but when it comes down to the big decision making time, you got to go with the guy who is 3x better than Brett Favre.

Final 4 Matchup #2: Drew Brees (4; NE Winner) vs Michael Vick (3; SE Winner)

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    Final 4

    Winner: Michael Vick

    Why: In this battle of the Madden Cover men, Vick finds the way to sneak past Brees. PETA can line up and yell at the Madden headquarters until they are blue in the face. It is not going to change the fact that people are high on Vick right now.

    They feel that he has done his time and its time to mount him back on the most important image in sports: The cover of the Madden video game.


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    Winner: Aaron Rodgers

    Why: Following the trend of Super Bowl MVP quarterbacks, Aaron Rodgers takes home the prize and the glory. Vick was with it until the end, but Rodgers proved once again that he is the face of the NFL and now the face you will be staring at when you play the game, non stop.

    This is just another notch on the championship belt that he likes to carry around with him, and a testament to the fact that you too can be on the cover of a Madden video game if you work hard, eat right, and win the Super Bowl. 

    All in a days work.