Anything can happen in an NFL season, and in this one – simulated using Madden NFL 15 – it does. Injuries, meltdowns, and Johnny Football all play a part in making this simulated season one to remember.

Madden sim stats can be unreliable, but in the spirit of the upcoming NFL season we've simmed through a single season in Madden's Connected Franchise mode. This was done on All-Pro difficulty using six-minute quarters and default sliders.

I also used EA's current roster at the time, but had to make a few adjustments, including Logan Mankins' trade to the Bucs and Sam Bradford's injury. Still, Madden's sim engine automatically jumbled a few team's depth charts – noticeably at the QB spot. Blake Bortles (Jaguars), Matt Schaub (Raiders), and Mike Glennon (Bucs) all took over their teams' starting spots by the beginning of the regular season.

And then there was Johnny Football. Perhaps sensing popular sentiment (or destiny?), Brian Hoyer suffered a broken thumb in the pre-season, paving the way for Johnny Manziel to change the complexion of the AFC playoff race.

Have a laugh, post your comments below, and enjoy the season.

Through Week 8

AFC North

    Browns    4    2    1

    Ravens    4    3    1

    Steelers 4    4

    Bengals    2    5

AFC South

    Colts 5    3

    Texans 4    4   

    Titans        3    5

    Jaguars    1    6    1

AFC East

    Jets        5    3

    Patriots    5    3

    Dolphins 4    3

    Bills 2    6

AFC West

    Chargers    5    3

    Chiefs 4    3

    Broncos    2    5   

    Raiders 2    5

NFC North

    Lions 6    2

    Packers 5    3

    Bears 3    5

    Vikings 2    6

NFC South

    Panthers 6    2

    Saints 5    2

    Bucs 4    3

    Falcons 3    4    1

NFC East

    Eagles 4    3

    Washington 4    3    1

    Cowboys 3    5

    Giants 1    6

NFC West

    49ers 7    0

    Seahawks 5    1    1

    Cardinals 3    4

    Rams 1    6

The big story by the mid-season mark of the sim is injuries:

  • QBs Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers), Andy Dalton (Bengals), EJ Manuel (Bills), Geno Smith (Jets), and Cam Newton (Panthers) are all injured by week nine and miss games, with Roethlisberger on IR and Newton out with a partial PCL tear.

  • Other notable injuries include Cowboys' DeMarco Murray (ruptured disc), Patriots' Jerod Mayo (torn tricep), and 49ers' Anquan Boldin (torn rotator cuff).

  • It wouldn't be an NFL season without Seahawks' receiver Percy Harvin missing games. This time it's three weeks with an ankle injury.


  • Bruce Gradkowski steps in for the injured Ben Roethlisberger and actually performs better than Big Ben. Gradkowski posts an 89.3 passer rating over four starts compared to Ben's 76.6 mark.

  • The Ravens, Rams, Raiders, Jets, and Cowboys all flirt with a QB controversy by having their backup QBs take the reins for a few games.

Keep reading to see how the regular season ends.