Defense wins championships. You've heard it a million times.
For the most part, it still reins true. And it's true in both real football and on the virtual field.
Madden NFL 12, the newest edition of Madden, was released today to retailers across the country. In the spirit of that release, it's only right that we rank the top defenses on the game.
Here's the top five:
STUDS: CB Darrelle Revis (99), LB David Harris (92), LB Bart Scott (90), CB Antonio Cromartie (86), S Jimmy Leonard (85)
The Jets boast the best cornerback in the game in Revis, which instantly gives them credibility in the pass-happy Madden franchise. Harris and Scott are hard-hitting linebackers, and Cromartie and Leonard are serviceable players in the secondary. Can you replicate the play-calling of Rex Ryan, however?
STUDS: LB Ray Lewis (95 overall), LB Terrell Suggs (94), DE Haloti Ngata (97), S Ed Reed (98)
There are very few defenses on the game that feature the kind of playmakers the Ravens have on each level of their defense. Lewis, Suggs, Ngata and Reed are all among the best players at their respective positions. Their group of studs might be getting older, but the Ravens are still among the best in the business at virtual defense.
STUDS: LB Clay Matthews (95), CB Charles Woodson (93), S Nick Collins (95), DE B.J. Raji (88), Tramon Williams (92)
The Packers are going to be a tough team to throw the football against. With three elite players in the secondary—Woodson, Collins and Williams—quarterbacks will need to be careful. Add in young pass-rushers like Matthews and Raji, and you have the perfect mix for a Madden defense.
STUDS: CB Nnamdi Asomuga (98 overall), DE Trent Cole (93), DE Jason Babin (90), DT Cullen Jenkins (89), CB Asante Samuel (94)
The Eagles charitable wallet this offseason will pay dividends on the virtual football field. Like the Packers, the Eagles are going to be very difficult to throw the football against. Asomugha, Samuel and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie make up the best trio of corners in the game. With Babin, Jenkins and Cole applying pressure, offenses are going to find it tough to move the football.
STUDS: S Troy Polamalu (99), LB James Harrison (98), LaMarr Woodley (93), LB James Farrior (91), LB Lawrence Timmons (90), DT Casey Hampton (92), DE Aaron Smith (91), DE Brett Keisel (88), CB Ike Taylor (85)
You don't get the full effect of how good this Steelers defense is until you put the numbers down on paper. There likely has never been four linebackers as good as Pittsburgh's in video game history. Four guys in the 90s? That's almost unfair.
The defensive line is nearly as stacked. And with Polamalu and Taylor flying around in the secondary, the Steelers might have one of the better virtual defenses Madden has ever seen. Bring your offensive A-game when you're facing Pittsburgh or prepare for a low-scoring affair.