Madden NFL features a mind-boggling number of different plays to choose from, and Madden 17 is no different. Every team has its own playbook, and there are a number of generic playbooks to choose from as well. For a newcomer, the choices can be overwhelming.
The plays below are for the newcomers struggling to put together a coherent offense with minimal adjustments. Each one has an array of options and will almost always net you 10 to 15 yards - perfect if you need a first down in a pinch. Some of these plays have been a core part of my playbook over the course of multiple Maddens and continue to serve me well even now.
Experienced players will be able to manually cover some of your options; but against lesser players and the computer, these plays are golden.
Additional protip: Make sure to go through your progressions. Fixating on one receiver will get you picked off. Each of these plays contains multiple reads designed to beat both man cover and zone coverage. Learning to differentiate between man and zone is an artform; but once you learn to do so, you will be well on your way to success. In the meantime, these plays should help.
Divide Wheel (Empty Bunch)
Though it lacks a really solid running play, Empty Bunch still features a variety of fearsome plays, none better than Divide Wheel. Your first read should be the receiver on the out route. If that route is unavailable, check the tight end crossing to the deep middle. If none of those routes are available, then the second receiver coming across from the left will be open underneath. Divide Wheel is a great money play that beats both man and zone. You can find it in the Vikings playbook.
Four Verticals (Gun 5WR Trio)
Four verticals has been one of Madden's most powerful plays for several years running, and Madden 17 is no different. 5WR Trio works especially well because it puts a receiver in the seam, where they are well-positioned to beat the defense. If they're covered, then the slot receiver on the left will almost always be open. Keep an eye on the safeties as well: If they get too focused on stopping the routes in the middle, you may be able to hit a receiver deep for a touchdown. You can find 5WR Trio in the Bears playbook.
Pats Slant (Trips TE)
A funky play that works very nicely in the redzone. If they are playing man coverage, the tight end will be wide open off the slant corner. If they are playing zone, you can hit one of the two receivers running a slant in the soft part of the zone, or look to the receiver moving into the flat. You have to make your reads quickly, but all four receivers have a pretty good chance of getting open for a big gain. You can find Trips TE in the Patriots playbook
Cross (Tight Flex)
Not as lethal as in previous years, but still very good. The tight end and receiver on your right should be your first read, followed by the triangle/Y receiver crossing underneath. If you sense a pass rush coming, look to your running back out of the back field. If you have a really good receiver on the far left, they will almost always get open versus man coverage. Against a Cover 1 defense, the tight end can potentially take their catch all the way to house. You can find the Tight Flex formation in the Tampa Bay playbook.
Strong Flood (Empty Cowboy)
A simple but effective play. Your first read should be the tight end going into the flat, as they will be open 90 percent of the time. if they aren't open, check the receiver on the deep out route toward the sidelines. If the pass rush is coming, dump it off to the slot receiver running the drag route. Alternatively, put the receiver on the far left into a slant for a quick gain. Empty Cowboy is a great formation that can be found in the Cowboys playbook.
FB Inside (Split Offset)
A lethally strong play out of shotgun. Your second running back will take the ball and make an Inside Zone-run like play for four or five yards. Unless your opponent is explicitly looking for it, it's very hard to stop. It also keeps them on their toes because you can always hand it off to your primary running back and hand it off going the other direction. Split Offsets array of screens and mesh plays make it positively deadly in the running and passing game. You can find it in the Atlanta Falcons playbook.
Inside Zone (Flip Trips Niner)
Inside Zone was exceptionally powerful in Madden 16, and it's still very good here. Against the computer, you're practically guaranteed to rip off a solid five yards per play. In additional, Flip Trip Eagles is a very good passing formation thanks to plays like Strong Flood and Vertical and its array of screen plays. You can spend pretty much an entire drive in Flip Trip Eagles and keep opposing offenses badly off-balance. You can find Flip Trips Niner in the 49ers playbook.
HB Toss Wk (Pistol Weak Twins Flex)
Toss plays aren't nearly as powerful as they were in Madden 16, but you can still do some damage with them. Pistol Weak Twins Flex is a solid running formation with a number of quirky passing plays out of the flat and one very strong toss play. Its strength is in the way that the QB holds onto the ball for a split second longer while the running back gets out wide, making it easier to get around the edge. If your opponent stacks the box, it's positively lethal. If you're looking for toss plays, Quick Toss out of Strong Close is very good as well, as is HB Sweep out of I-Form Close.
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