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Best Defensive Playbooks in Madden NFL 23

Published on: 11/07/2022
By: PlayStation

Are opponents putting up a fight against your defense? It might be time to switch to a different playbook. Each NFL team uses a different playbook. You can apply them to other teams or use them with your Madden Ultimate Team.

Every team’s playbook will include its own set of formations. These determine the type of personnel you have on the field and where they position themselves. Once you find a defensive strategy that works best for you, look for a playbook that accommodates it. 

Some playbooks excel at stopping specific offensive gameplans. Here are the best defensive playbooks for different playstyles and circumstances.

Best Playbook for a 3-4 Defense

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The 3-4 is the modern NFL’s most common defensive formation. It uses three defensive linemen and four linebackers. However, the two outside linebackers are known as “edges” who primarily focus on pass rushing and containing outside runs. 

Tampa Bay has the most fleshed-out 3-4 defensive in Madden 23. The traditional Over, Under, and Cub packages are all present. The Bucs also run the 3-4 Bear, which lines the safety in the slot near the line of scrimmage as a hybrid playmaker.

The Buccanneers’ playbook includes the 4-4 Split for stacking the box. This formation looks nearly identical to the 3-4 Bear. Mixing these two packages together in your game plan helps prevent offenses from reading your defensive play call during pre-snap. 

Best Playbook for a 4-3 Defense 

Chicago Bears

The 4-3 formation is football’s most classic defense. It puts four defensive linemen along the line of scrimmage and three linebackers behind them in the second level. The D-Line has the responsibility of rushing the passer while linebackers stop the run and assist in coverage.

Coincidentally, a classic franchise owns the most complete 4-3 playbook in Madden 23. The Chicago Bears have four different packages in the formation. Over is the standard, while Over Wide spreads the lineman further apart to create gaps for blitzing linebackers. 

Over Solid turns one of the outside linebackers into an edge. The Even 6-1 package puts both OLBs on the edge with a solo middle linebacker patrolling the second level. The Bears literally invented the 46 defense, so it is their go-to formation when stacking the box. 

Best Playbook for a Balanced Defense

New England Patriots

A number of teams use both the 3-4 and 4-3 defenses in their playbooks. However, most still favor one above the other. That isn’t the case for the six-time Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. 

The Pats might have the only truly balanced defensive playbook in Madden 23. They use two 4-3 and three 3-4 packages, including the 4-3 Even 6-1 and 3-4 Bear. Their standard 4-3 Odd package lines one of the outside linebackers as an edge. 

New England’s playbook is also well-suited to hard-defend the pass. It includes the Nickel, Dime, Quarter, and Prevent formations. The Nickel 2-4 Dbl Mug package is unique for using no linebackers, opting for two edges and a slot cornerback. 

Best Playbook for Stacking the Box

Dallas Cowboys

When teams stack the box, it means they’re lining eight players near the line of scrimmage, with only two cornerbacks and a safety play in the secondary. Stacking the box is traditionally used to stop the run, but hybrid safeties and linebackers who excel in coverage can make it an every-down strategy. 

Most playbooks include a formation for stacking the box, but only one team uses two. Dallas incorporates both the 46 Bear and the 4-4 Split in their defensive scheme. This gives the Cowboys 15 different plays to stack the box between both formations. 

The Dallas playbook even has ways to stack the box on clear passing downs. The Nickel 3-3 Cub uses two edges to create pressure while still providing secondary help in the slot. 

Best Playbook for Defending the Pass

Atlanta Falcons

They say the NFL is a passing league, and the same could be said for Madden 23. Most players would rather air it out than establish the run. In some instances, you might be defending against the pass on every play during a game. 

While the team isn’t known for defense, the Atlanta Falcons’ playbook has everything you need to slow down opposing quarterbacks. It is the only playbook in Madden 23 to include every formation that adds extra players in the secondary. These are the Nickel, Dime, Dollar, Quarter, and Prevent. 

The Dollar Sugar 3-2 package is especially unique. It looks similar to the Dime with four defensive backs, but positions the linebackers along the line of scrimmage with the D-lineman. This package is great for when you expect the pass but still want to create pressure with blitzes from different angles. 

Push your skills to the limit in Madden 23 PlayStation Tournaments and see how far you can go.

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