In this Madden 18 defensive money plays guide, we'll teach you how to defend no matter what situation you're in on the defensive side of the ball, you need to hold your opponent till fourth down, or you need to force a turnover. Use these Madden 18 best defensive plays listed below in order to put the pressure on your opponent.
If you need help with anything else relating to the game whatsoever, then make sure to head to our Madden 18 tips and tricks guides hub, featuring a complete list of player rankings no matter their position, as well as heaps of other critical information.
Madden 18 Best Plays for Stopping the Pass
No opponent can run the ball on you forever, and an opponent that you face is always sure to pass the ball at some point in the game, especially if they're going with a team like New England, New Orleans, Oakland, or Green Bay. We've laid out the perfect defensive plays to stop the pass for you just below.
- Big Dime 2-3-6 Sam: Overload 3 Seam Press - Control the safety patrolling the middle blue zone, and use him to cover any gaps in the middle of the field, bringing him forward slightly once the play begins. The blitzing linebackers will pick up most running plays, and you can manually blitz with the safety you’re controlling as soon as see a running play developing, closing any gaps the linebackers have left.
- Big Dime 1-4-6: Cover 6 Press - This is a solid defensive play, provided that you select the 'show blitz' option, followed by pinching your linebackers, and crashing your defensive line down.
- Quarter Normal: Cover 2 Man Spy - As the name of the play suggests, this leaves a spy player in the middle of the field, which is great for coverage especially if your opponent has a mobile QB. It also might be a good idea to press with your corners, but only if you think they're statistically up to the task.
- Quarter Normal: Cover 3 Drop - All you need to do with this play is choose the 'spread line' option for your defensive line, and you'll have a great play that's both good at coverage and decent at putting some pressure on the QB.
Generally when you're looking to stop the pass, you want to go after the formations that favor putting cornerbacks on the field instead of linebackers. The formations that you should generally go to if you want to stop the pass are Big Dime, Dollar, and Quarters, as all of these replace linebackers with cornerbacks, who are undoubtedly better in coverage.
To take your formations a step further in stopping the pass, it might be a good idea to manually play as a player in the secondary, instead of someone on the defensive line. Just press B, Circle until you're over the desired player you wish to control, and hold down the right trigger to bring up the player art, which will show what assignment that player is one. It's extremely important that you stick to the assignment, so if you're assigned to cover one player on offense, make sure you stick with them, and if you're in zone coverage, make sure to never stray outside of your given area.
When user controllering a player in the secondary, it's very important that you make sure no offensive players get behind you. It's always a good idea to keep any players in front of you, as it's easier to dart down the field and swat away a pass, than it is to catch up to a player who's behind you and try to bat down a pass.
How to Change Assignments in Madden 18
Don't like the particular assignment of a player, and think they could be better used in another role on the field? You'll need to reassign them to your desired role on the field, and here are the steps you can take to do just that:
- Firstly, you need to choose whether you need to reassign an entire group. Maybe you want your linebackers all blitzing, or maybe you'd prefer your cornerbacks to be in man coverage instead of zone.
- Press right on the D-pad for linebackers, Triangle/Y for defensive backs, and left on the D-pad for linemen.
- From here, survey your options in the bottom right corner of the screen, and press the corresponding button to change the assignment for the selected group.
- If you instead you want to change the assignment of a single defensive player, repeatedly press B/Circle until your cursor is above them.
- Now press A/X, and again select from the options presented to you, to change the role of the individual player.
- To audible into a completely new play on defense, press X/Square, and a list of new plays will be brought up, which you switch to any time before the ball is snapped.
- If you're feeling confident in a pass or run play being called by your opponent, you can 'guess play' by pressing the left trigger, and pushing the right stick in the corresponding direction to guess the play, and properly commit to it.
When to Blitz in Madden 18
But when should you actually blitz in Madden 18? Blitz plays are generally designed to either stop the run, or to sack the QB before they have the chance to pass. Blitz plays are best called when you either want to make sure a running play never takes off, for example in short yardage situations on third or fourth down, or when you don't want to give the QB time to pass.
The QB is far more likely to pass in long yardage situations, for example on third and 10 or more. Blitzing here could ensure that no receiver routes have the chance to develop properly, and so the QB has no one to pass to, but they also leave your defense slightly exposed. In committing players to blitz, you leave less players in the backfield to defend against the pass, so you'd better make sure your cornerbacks are up to the task of defending against even the most elite receivers.
Madden 18 Best Plays for Stopping the Run
Running the ball has always been a key part of every iteration of Madden, and Madden 18 is no different. Should you need to stuff a running play from your opponent then we've got the ideal plays for you just below, no matter what position you happen to be in on the field.
- 3-4 Odd: Cover Sky 3 - Control either of the middle linebackers and patrol the middle of the field, letting your corners control the sidelines. The blitzing linebacker off the line to the side of the field can catch your opponent and any blocking running backs by surprise.
- 4-3 Under: Edge Sting - Make sure to pinch your defensive line prior to the snap, and this blitz can wreak havoc in your opponent's backfield.
- 4-3 Under: Cover 3 Cloud Wk - For this play, you want to select the 'base align' option, followed by the 'show blitz' option, allowing your players to move up the field and get the jump on their defensive assignments.
- 4-6 Bear Under: Gap Press - This blitz play is high risk, high reward, as there are simply too many blitzing players for the offensive line and blocking running back to pick up, but it does leave your backfield with limited personnel to defend against the pass.
- Nickel 3-5-5 Odd: Sam Mike 1 - This play is great for stuffing a run up the middle, as since the second linebacker will always be matched up against the running back, he’ll cover any holes that the other, blitzing linebacker leaves open, if the running back tries to take off.
If you're looking to stop the run in Madden 18, then you want players on the field that are better are tackling and pursuing other players than they are at hanging back in coverage. For this reason, you should priorite linebackers over cornerbacks, and the formations that give you more linebackers are generally 3-4, 4-3, 4-6, and Nickel.
Linebackers are undoubtedly better at physical plays than either cornerbacks or safeties. They are nearly always better at getting through offensive lineman with their superior block shedding statistics, and they generally have better tackling and hit power statistics for taking down both QBs and running backs.
How to User Play a Defensive Lineman and Linebacker
As with the offensive side of the ball when you're playing as the QB, you also have to select and manually control a player on the defensive side of things. It's up to you who you take control of, but whether it's someone on the defensive line or in the backfield, you'll have to pay attention and follow your assignments.
If you choose to play on the defensive line, then you'll have to press the trigger as soon as possible after the QB snaps the ball, to get off the line of scrimmage and gain an advantage on your opposing offensive lineman. This can be tricky, as you'll incur a penalty if you press right trigger and move forward to soon, and you won't gain any bonuses if you do the same thing too late. It has to be perfectly timed with the snap of the ball, and once you've done this, you should attempt to get around the offensive lineman by pressing either X/Square or B/Circle, and bear down on the QB.
If you're playing in the defensive backfield as a linebacker and you want to stop the run, then you have some specific rules to follow. It's not a good idea to get too close to the line of scrimmage, as you want to be able to hold back and see where the running back goes. If they go outside, you're free to follow them to the outside of the huddle, but if they run straight up the middle, then you'll have to close the distance between them and you as quickly as possible.
You generally want to follow the running back wherever they go if you're playing as a linebacker and you want to stop the run, but you also don't want to get held up by any blocking offensive players. This is why it's a good idea to hand back from the huddle and see where the HB goes, instead of running straight into the fray and getting held up.
How to Crash or Slide the Defensive Line
To quickly make changes to the entire defensive line, you'll want to press the left bumper on your controller, and you'll then be presented with a series of options. You can spread the defensive line out, pinch them together, or have them crashing towards either side of the huddle or right up the middle.
All of these options have bonuses, and you should choose them if you're willing to guess which way a running play is going to go. If you think the running back is going to take off towards the right, then crash right, but if you think they're going to run straight up the middle, then you probably want to either choose the crash middle option, or pinch the line and bring all your defenders together.
It's a risky move, as you're betting on the direction that a running play is going to go, and it could potentially give the running back loads of room if you guess wrong.
How to Contain the QB in Madden 18
What do you do if you come up against a QB that likes to take off and run upfield, like Russell Wilson? For a start, you need to put a certain amount of pressure on the pocket, to make sure they don't have all day to stand around and look for the best way to take off for a solid gain. Blitzes are great for this, but you might want to consider the method of the QB Spy.
The role of the Spy is to hang back from the offensive linemen, and follow the QB wherever they go. Linebackers or defensive linemen usually fill this role, but we'd recommend assigning a linebacker to the job, since they're always quicker than defensive linemen. To do this, choose the player you want to put into the Spy role by pressing B/Circle until you come to them, and then press A/X, bringing up a panel of options, from which you can select 'QB Spy'.
Using a QB Spy effectively prevents the QB from making it more than a few yards outside of the pocket, as the moment they start running, the Spy bears down on them. This is extremely useful for stopping those nimble QBs like Wilson, Cam Newton, and more, and you should always use this method if the QB repeatedly takes off.
We have a great variety of Madden 18 guides here at USgamer, all of which can help you up your game. We've got guides on the best offensive money plays in Madden 18, as well as the full player rankings by position.
These are all the very best defensive plays that Madden 18 has to offer you, no matter the situation that you happen to be in. Bear in mind that if you need to practice setting up any of these plays, you can always hop into a practice game against the AI before taking your game online.