We don’t know the cover star for Madden 23 yet (it might be the legendary John Madden, who passed away late last year), but player ratings have been unofficially trickling out. The game’s launch is still over a couple of months away, but today’s Top Ten Tuesday highlights the ten best teams to use in the game. Just note that these rankings are based on using the teams realistically—so the Ravens and Cardinals (with Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray working as unstoppable running quarterbacks when taken advantage of the game’s issues) are not ranked No. 1 and No. 2.
10. Arizona Cardinals
The NFL is so deep right now that a bunch of teams could have been included in the final few spots of the top ten, including the Dolphins, Broncos, Colts, 49ers, and Vikings. However, while I’m not using the upside of “cheesing” with quarterbacks like Kyler Murray to heavily influence these rankings, Murray’s ability to scramble out of trouble is still a benefit for those that use him to escape pressure in a realistic manner. The addition of Marquise “Hollywood” Brown gives Arizona even more weaponry to work with, and you can spread the ball around to several different targets. Defensively, there are athletic pieces like Isaiah Simmons and Budda Baker that you can control.
9. Las Vegas Raiders
The Patriots offensive playbook has long been one of the best to use in Madden (and the Patriots deserve mention here, too, if you are an experienced player that can pick defenses apart with Mac Jones at quarterback), and the Raiders playbook should look similar with Josh McDaniels at head coach. The personnel was there to make Vegas a strong team to use in Madden 22, and now they added star receiver Davante Adams to pair with Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow. And on defense, Vegas has two edge rushers—Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones—to quickly collapse the pocket of the opposition.
8. Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas offensive line is no longer expected to be top-tier, and the supporting cast takes a hit with Amari Cooper now in Cleveland—but it’s actually the defense that makes the Cowboys such an enticing option in Madden 23. If you throw the ball in Trevon Diggs’ direction, his X-Factor ability means there’s a good chance he’ll take it away; and Micah Parsons is a force all over the field. It should also be noted that the Cowboys are typically given generous player ratings each year.
7. Los Angeles Rams
The defending champions had to make the top ten. Aaron Donald can wreck offensive lines and blow up run plays in the backfield, while Jalen Ramsey has the ability to shadow top receivers on the virtual gridiron. Offensively, Sean McVay’s playbook is one of the best to choose, and Cooper Kupp also gets open with ease in Madden. Throw in Allen Robinson as a No. 2 option at receiver (with the potential re-signing of Odell Beckham Jr. also a possibility), and you’ll have plenty to work with while controlling Matthew Stafford.
6. Baltimore Ravens
If you’re going to take advantage of major issues in the game, then the Ravens will probably be the best team overall to use in Madden 23. Lamar Jackson is a cheat code when he scrambles and runs. But even if you don’t play like that, utilizing him without cheesing—i.e., on zone reads, throws outside the pocket, and on the occasional scramble (not every other play)—can create headaches for other users. Baltimore’s defense is always at least solid, and they added safeties Marcus Williams and Kyle Hamilton to the backend.
5. Philadelphia Eagles
The team rating for the Eagles might not be in this top-five range, but they should undoubtedly be one of the top teams to use in Madden 23. They were already a good team to use in last year’s game thanks in large part to the powerful offensive line, but now the offense adds A.J. Brown at receiver, making DeVonta Smith the WR2 and Dallas Goedert an exceptional third target at the tight end spot. The defense will feel like it’s been supped up in a major way compared to Madden 22, adding James Bradberry, Jordan Davis, and Nakobe Dean—one difference-maker at each level.
4. Los Angeles Chargers
It would be nice if Madden could improve the deep ball, as Justin Herbert throws a great one that isn’t necessarily reflected in the game. Even so, Mike Williams can dominate in Madden on short, intermediate, and deep routes, while Keenan Allen catches everything and is a clutch target to help keep the offense moving—and Austin Ekeler is one of the best receiving backs in the league. J.C. Jackson and Asante Samuel Jr. are a ballhawking cornerback duo on a defense that also has Joey Bosa and Derwin James.
3. Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals were the most underrated team in the game for most of last season (and they continued to get better ratings wise on their way to a Super Bowl run), and now the team added upgrades to the offensive line, which will only make it easier for you to stand back in the pocket with Joe Burrow and dish the ball out to Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd—with Joe Mixon slashing to do major damage on the ground. The defense might not be elite, but it’s balanced and can force turnovers.
2. Buffalo Bills
Buffalo probably had the best defense in the league last season, and now the group has Von Miller and first-round corner Kaiir Elam—the Miller upgrade off the edge especially should be a boost in Madden 23. We’ll see how good the Bills make Gabriel Davis as Josh Allen’s No. 2 receiver in the game, but he should at least be a factor in scoring territory and on jump-ball situations given his frame and Madden’s catch mechanisms. Second-round running back James Cook will be a versatile addition as a receiving option, and free-agent signing O.J. Howard is an underrated potential field stretcher that should have good speed ratings. Allen himself deserves a rating near or at 99, but don’t count on it from the game creators.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
With the assumption that Rob Gronkowski will be back and in the game, the Buccaneers will probably be the best team to use in Madden 23. Tom Brady’s Superstar X-Factor can make him deadly while distributing to all his weapons—particularly at the end of games. The offensive line should paired with Leonard Fournette’s ability to break tackles should help Tampa run the ball well to stay ahead of the sticks. And the Bucs defense is one of the fastest in the league with playmakers all over the place. If you master this squad, you can be very difficult to beat in Madden.