As the first half of the season starts to take shape, i present to you fine HC's of SML the first season preview, the traditional extra strong NFC. I know the over-excitable LTown will be ranting right about now as the Titans won the last PS3 Superbowl - but we'll get to the AFC later.
Where to start, i'll just juggle a few balls (easy, Ed!) and pull out completely at random - the Minnesota Vikings.
Coach Eder's Vikes are the winningest team in SML history with 4 wins and 1 defeat during the 8 SB's played. Not too shabby huh. Eder has always put the pride of minneapolis' hopes on the back of one Adrian Peterson - who, let's face it, has ran roughshod over the SML wimps masquerading as defenders. But do not under estimate the Vikes D either, with Jared Allen and Kev 'Bear Hater' Williams Coach Eder has the perfect platform for pass coverage and always employs strong tackling linebackers if any opponent is stupid enough to try and go toe-to-toe on the ground. After 2 games Minnesota are already on the verge of getting a warning for running up the score against the cpu Bears (Bishbosh will remember this no doubt) en route to 86 points.
For you new HC's finding your feet in the league, you will need a strong run D and some WR's who can get separation or your games against Minnesota will be over by half-time. They can be beaten, especially on a next-gen console where some of the games dynamics have evolved - but Minnesota start the season as the bookies favourites on past history alone and will also evolve accordingly.
Coach Dante comes in and takes over the strong Lambeau outfit. After an opening day loss to the ridiculously strong 49ers a controversial win against the Skins has soured what looks on paper to be a fine victory. Like Eder, keep your eye on the mailbox guys - you may be getting a love letter from one of Brza's enforcers.
However, defensively Coach Dante obviously has talent and likes to blitz. Who wouldn't with Clay Matthews in the line-up? GB also have 2 fine man coverage corners and will be very difficult to beat if they get a lead. Oh yeah, there's also that number 12 geezer. Dante is in a tough division and when the Bears Coach rejoins, coupled with the Vikes and a likely Lions boss this will be as tough a division you could wish for. Take the wins any way you can for sure - but keep it sim. Aim for the playoffs, but also use this season to learn - if GB can do that they just may be challenging the other Northerners for the playoffs.
Bears - HC Bishbosh will rejoin soon.
Lions - LCG may not rejoin. But a new HC will have mucho talent in Detroit.
Commish Brza's beloved Eagles are perennial post season participants and have a ring to prove their strength. Shady McCoy & Action Jackson terrify any defense and Brza is known for designing pretty aggressive gameplans aimed directly at his opponents weaknesses.
A fine opening season nail-biter against divisional rival Washington and a routine despatching of the cpu Bolts tells us the Birds will be strong again. If Brza can figure out Philly's playbook they will be picking low again come draft day.
Coach Redskin has had a topsy turvy start to the season. Losing narrowly to the Birds and the Green Bay debacle that warrants a closer look. However, the Skins, like Philly have a dynamic playbook - just as well they have some dynamic players too! I wouldn't be surprised to see Roy Helu getting more of the ball as the season progresses and with RGIII plus a talented receiving corps the Skins just need to strengthen the secondary to become contenders. A strong draft will make Washington a team to avoid.
Coach Eternal is 2-0 thanks to the double headed running game of Murrays power and Demps speed. With DeMarcus Ware tearing up backfields already, clearly Dallas are thinking the glory years may be back soon. This is a talented roster and a good mix of experience and youth. Bit concerned Demps is also their leading receiver though - we all know he won't make it through the season - that teenage girl frame of his will be taking some serious punishment in the East if screens and dump-offs continue. Mr Bryant will not be happy! Keep your eyes on Dallas, i feel we'll be hearing more as the Star rises.
NY Giants - Coach Jimmety should return to action soon.
Coach Bendis has a fine roster, and although 0-2 is not the ideal start to the season once he gets the Saints playbook down the wins will start to pile up. NO have one of my favourite Madden 25 defenders in Junior Galette - he is a serious handful - not to mention all world tight end JIMMEEEEE. The Saints are in a very competitive division and will certainly be more than capable of a run to the playoffs. My tip for NO - make Brees likely last season a memorable one and air it out!
Coach SelfSuicide sits at 1-1 and is an unknown quantity. With LaMicheal James and Jaquizz in the backfield Tony Gonzalez should have a very busy year on 3rd down, before he too likely retires. Like many new coaches, scheme will be the reason for success or failure - and Coach is not getting enough pressure from his front 7 and Matty Ice needs to stop forcing passes. It's early doors and these corrections can be made in time in a hard division to get out of. My advice for Atlanta, trade quickly for a LB and reap the benefits in a running conference.
STOP PRESS - Tampa Bay and Carolina will have new HC's installed within days making the South uber-competitive.
Coach BigJimmyAston has the 2nd best roster to play with (behind Oakland of course). Frank Gore likes his new boss, seems Big Jim is enjoying the power of THAT defense as the indestructible Pat Willis is already racking up the tackles and FF's. With few weak points to attack the 9ers will be a tough nut to crack, and with a kind schedule avoiding the traditional big hitters expect San Fran to be in the playoffs.
Coach Alex Bronco is 1-1 and juggling his skill guys at the moment. Palmer or Tebow? Mendenhall or Turner? This is a running division and the power backs are likely to come good at some stage - problem is they'll need to control games rather than chase them. Fortunately Fitz is still as crisp a route runner as anyone in the league. Can Daryl Washington shore up the D and stop Gore/Lynch etc. Maybe. Honeybadger to rescue? I doubt it, but Pat Pete is still extraordinary.
Seattle's Legion Of Boom await a HC.
As we go to press i understand SML legend Notorious will be taking up office as the Rams HC imminently.