Madden 23 focused on improving some aspects of its franchise mode due to an overwhelming amount of player feedback. Fans have complained for years that Madden and EA shifted focus to the monetarily profitable Ultimate Team mode and left the franchise mode to suffer.
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As the NFL's only simulation video game, the player base deserves a franchise mode worth playing. There's nothing like taking a low overall team in the process of rebuilding and turning them into a real contender. In Madden 23, there happens to be a collection of teams with potential that simply need a guiding hand to reach excellence.
Updated January 18, 2023 by Jerrad Wyche: Every NFL season begins with pure optimism from all 32 fan bases that their team has a chance to compete, or at the very least make a playoff push. By December of that year, it becomes clear what the future of certain franchises looks like and fans begin to look toward the offseason.
Whenever a professional sports team decides to rebuild it takes patience from fans to see the vision, but in video games like Madden 23, they can take matters into their own hands.
12 Jacksonville Jaguars
Taking control of a team with a quarterback as talented and promising as Trevor Lawrence seems like a no-brainer. Sure the salary cap situation is a bit iffy with the contract they gave out to wide receiver Christian Kirk, but the team has an up-and-coming defense and enough weapons around Lawrence to make steady improvements.
Tight end is a position of weakness, but that can be solved in a myriad of ways. Having the pairing of Travis Etienne and James Robinson at running back also provides offensive adaptability when it comes to needing either a short-yardage or dynamic receiving option out of the backfield.
11 Detroit Lions
Now, the Detroit Lions barely make the cut because, in many ways, they're just a few pieces from being a true contender in the NFC conference in the NFL. Anyone who decides to take over the team in Madden 23's franchise mode will need to set their eyes on the quarterback position and the back seven of the defense.
Looking at the Lions roster, they have weapons on offense and arguably a Top 5 or 10 unit when it comes to the offensive line. The fans of the Lions deserve some happiness, and being able to build the team into an annual contender feels as easy as it ever has for a team that's perennially picked near the top of the NFL draft for as long as anyone can remember.
10 New York Giants
New York Giants fans are optimistic that new head coach Brian Daboll will bring some of the success he saw as offensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bills over to another blue and red team. The reality is that Daniel Jones seems to not be the long-term answer at quarterback, Saquon Barkley hasn't been able to stay healthy through no fault of his own, and they're rostering one of the more disappointing receivers in the NFL in Kenny Golladay.
All that aside, the team is full of talent and simply needs a few course corrections to be competitive in one of the more inconsistent divisions in the NFL.
9 Pittsburgh Steelers
Mike Tomlin, the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, manages to take average rosters and turn them into game-winning teams. The 2022 season will likely be his toughest as the Steelers have moved on from their Hall of Fame quarterback and have what looks to be a bottom-five offensive line unit.
Madden players can decide to start rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett from the beginning of the season, and then turn their eyes toward building an offensive line through trades, free agency, and the NFL draft. In order to turn the defensive unit into the Steel Curtain once again, the linebacker and cornerback units will also need to see some upgrades.
8 Washington Commanders
The Washington Commanders have plenty of issues off the field in regard to their ownership, so taking over the team in Madden 23's franchise mode will feel like doing the rest of the NFL a huge favor. As a team with plenty of talent, the Commanders suffer from typical issues that result in a lack of success.
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They have yet to find a franchise quarterback, though rookie quarterback Sam Howell could blossom into that. The other strange thing with their roster is that, despite their head coach being a successful linebacker in the league himself, they have yet to find a guy that can command that unit in a way that portrays excellence.
7 Atlanta Falcons
Luckily anyone who picks the Atlanta Falcons in Madden 23 isn't subject to the wild year-long suspension wide receiver Calvin Ridley was given. This means that the team has a decent amount of weapons on offense. Outside of figuring out if Marcus Mariota or rookie Desmond Ridder is the answer at quarterback, the toughest task for anyone using the Falcons in franchise mode is putting together a defense that can stop other teams.
There are some good young pieces on the defensive line, and AJ Terrell and Grady Jarrett are outstanding at their given positions. That said, the Falcons have not put together a solid entire unit in decades, but Madden players can change that.
6 Seattle Seahawks
The idea of using Geno Smith or Drew Lock at quarterback in Madden 23 doesn't drive excitement. That being said, the idea of getting to throw to Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf on offense does. Finding a franchise quarterback isn't easy, but the Seattle Seahawks, thanks to the Denver Broncos trade, have plenty of ammunition to move in the draft for a guy at the position.
It's a team with a lot of holes, but that fanbase in the Pacific Northwest has proven that if they have a competitor on the field, it's hard to find a place as loud and intimidating as the 12th man they display at every home game.
5 Los Angeles Rams
It's amazing how quickly things can collapse for a team in the NFL. The league's rules showcase how and why it sees some of the best parity year-over-year in all of the professional sports. The Los Angeles Rams are coming off a Super Bowl victory and this year it was made clear just how unbalanced their roster is.
Sure, it has stars like Aaron Donald and Cooper Kupp that happen to be arguably the best at their position, but the team lacks zero depth and its best players are getting old by NFL standards. Taking the reigns of this franchise won't be easy as they're strapped for cash and lack assets, but players looking for a challenge will find this quite interesting. It does help that they happen to play in one of the cooler stadiums the league has to offer.
4 New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints are an interesting landing spot for anyone looking to start a rebuild in franchise mode. The lack of a quarterback and the cap salary make the Saints one of the best teams to rebuild in Madden 23. The roster overall is fine, but the cap situation will force players into making creative decisions and might lead to the need to trade great players simply to float above water in terms of the money situation.
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The Saints play in a very winnable division, that becomes even more obtainable the moment Tom Brady retires and/or leaves the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Anyone choosing them must understand it will be like putting Madden 23 on hard mode, which may be extremely enticing for certain types of people.
3 Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers are an interesting team because their roster isn't terrible and has plenty of promising youth on both sides of the ball. Some might argue solid and consistent play from the quarterback position could turn this middle-of-the-road team into a playoff team. It's clear by now that the quarterback of the future isn't on the roster, though the jury is still out on injured rookie Matt Corral.
The Panthers may be the best or at least one of the best teams to rebuild in Madden 23. An aggressive approach to finding the next quarterback of the future might involve trading future assets or defensive studs, but it's a cheap price to pay for a potential franchise-altering move.
2 Houston Texans
Unfortunately, Madden 23 can't be updated to give players the exact picks that teams like the Houston Texans will have in the 2023 NFL Draft, but that doesn't mean the team in Houston isn't one of the best teams to rebuild in Madden 23. They have plenty of assets and cap space for someone to go in and turn things around, but it all starts with the quarterback position.
Most people will want to land a rookie like CJ Stroud or Bryce Young in the draft, but unconventional minds might go for a bridge option at the position and focus on elevating other parts of the roster. This is a franchise that once had superstars like JJ Watt and Deandre Hopkins, so there's hope for the city that they can become real contenders in a winnable AFC South.
1 Chicago Bears
This off-season sports media as a whole decided to choose the Chicago Bears as the focus of negativity and pessimism. Some of it is warranted as the offensive line and wide receiver units lack a depth of talent, but it sounds rather hyperbolic at times. Taking over this team in franchise mode comes with a blueprint for how to turn them into contenders.
Not only is the backfield three players deep, but Justin Fields, Cole Kmet, and Darnell Mooney are a promising offensive trio. On defense, players will also gain arguably the league's most underrated cornerback in Jaylon Johnson, and a pair of Defensive rookies of the Year candidates in defensive backs Jaquan Brisker and Kyler Gordon.
Madden NFL 23 is available on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and PC.
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