We are on to week two of the 2015 regular season, as the Texans will travel to Charlotte, NC, to take on the Carolina Panthers. Carolina is 1-0 on the year, as they defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 20-9 in their season opener.
The Panthers feature some of the top players in the league, and with the help of Madden 16, we break down what could be some of the more intriguing matchups of Sunday's game.
Carolina's quarterback position is unusually fast, in that the top two on their depth chart are among the quickest in the league according to the game. Panthers backup Joe Webb actually is the fastest signal caller, tied with first round pick Marcus Mariota with an overall 88 speed rating. Starter Cam Newton is no slouch, checking in with an 84 speed rating. As a comparison, Texans quarterback Brian Hoyer has a 68 speed rating, while Ryan Mallet has a 57 mark. Obviously both teams require different skill sets from their QBs, but it shows the speed the Panthers have at the position. Below are the top five fastest quarterbacks in the NFL according to Madden 16.
- Joe Webb, 88 (Carolina)
- Marcus Mariota, 88 (Tennessee)
- Tyrod Taylor, 87 (Buffalo)
- Robert Griffin III, 87 (Washington)
- Russell Wilson, 86 (Seattle)
Speed aside, who Newton and company throw the ball too and how they match up against the Texans secondary could go a long way to deciding Sunday's winner. The Panthers suffered a huge blow in the preseason, losing their top rated Madden 16 receiver Kelvin Benjamin to a knee injury. Benjamin, the second year man out of Florida State, has an 86 ranking, the highest of Carolina's WR core. Much of that burden now falls to Jerricho Cotchery, who had four catches and a touchdown in the win over Jacksonville. While Cotchery's Madden totals don't leap off the page (76 overall), the game does list him with solid hands (84 catch rating) good awareness on the field (86).
One of the Texans team strengths, both on the game and in real life, is the secondary. According to Madden 16, Johnathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson are both top 25 corners in the NFL. Joseph's 88 overall total puts him in the company of players like Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Denver), Orlando Scandrick (Dallas) and Jimmy Smith (Baltimore). Rookie Kevin Johnson checks in at a 74 overall, followed by A.J. Bouye (73), Darryl Morris (71) and Jumal Rolle (67).
For Joseph, awareness plays a big role in his high value in the game. His 92 awareness rating is the fourth highest on Madden 16, below only Darrelle Revis, Richard Sherman and Chris Harris Jr. Joseph will need that savvy to decipher a Carolina offense that provides many different looks during the course of a game.
Who will come out ahead on Sunday? Only time will tell. Check back next week for our next 'Madden Matchup'.