After two action-packed weekends of Madden NFL 17 action, we’re down to the Final 16 competitors in the 2017 Madden Championship. Starting with over 2 million competitors via the online leaderboard chase, we’re now down to the very best competitors from across the United States vying for the right to call themselves Madden Champion. Each individual competitor made it into the top 32 after three grueling seasons of Draft Champions and Salary Cap Ranked play. From there, that 32 battled until only 16 competitors remained, all advancing from their 4-man round-robins over the last half month. Now, it’s time for single elimination play. Check out the full lineup (with original rankings) and schedules:
11:15 a.m.: (4) Matt “BeastmodeMac” Clark vs. (27) Michael “VoLTeRaX” Bryant
12:15 p.m.: (31) Carlos “Los” Yancy vs. (3) Chris “Dubby” McFarland
1:15 p.m.: (6) Reggie “iG Boogz” Brown vs. (15) Rick “SilentSoldier” Cisneros
2:15 p.m.: (24) Raidel “Noble Joke” Brito vs. (10) Juan “FMB Monsta” Velazquez
5:15 p.m.: (1) Michael “Skimbo” Skimbo vs. (28) Justin “Lil Man” Barone
6:15 p.m.: (7) Taylor “SpotMePlzzz” Robertson vs. (13) Ryan “i be strafing” Danczak
7:15 p.m.: (5) Eric “Problem” Wright vs. (16) Zack “Serious Moe” Lane
8:15 p.m.: (9) Shay “Young Kiv” Kivlan vs. (14) Lavar “Hollywood” Gayle
Every matchup in the round of 16 has the potential of becoming an instant classic, but we have enlisted Zac “ZAN” Neal (Madden competitor, EA SPORTS Gamechanger, and contributor to the Official Madden NFL 17 strategy guide) to preview what he believes are the two must-see matches of the day.
Chris “Dubby” McFarland vs. Carlos “Los” Yancy
You might be surprised to see Los among the final 16 competitors left in the tournament when looking at his original ranking, but remember – we started with millions of players. The skill gap at the top is so small that anyone left could potentially win this. Also, Los returns to prominence after a hiatus from playing the game, and came in last weekend making a statement on the field and on the mic. Los expressed that he felt slighted by the other competitors and doesn't get the respect that he feels he's earned in his Madden career. He backed up the talk, rolling through his competition and looking like his vintage self.
On the other hand, we have Dubby, the 2017 Madden Bowl winner, but only 1-5 in his last six live stage games in Burbank. Could the success of winning the Madden Bowl have gotten to him? He’ll need to come out and show the same high level of preparation as before the Madden Bowl if he wants to get by one of the best in Los.
ZAN's Prediction: Dubby 28 – Los 24
This is going to come down to Dubby's ability to beat Los’ Nickel Blitz 2. He said that he believes the Dollar 3-2-6 is the toughest defense in the game, and that he doesn't struggle as much with the nickel defense. Los, a pass first player, will have to deal with the confusing “cross man” coverage from the Dollar defense, and need to play perfectly to beat Dubby. At the end of the day, I have Dubby advancing in a very close match up.
Eric “Problem” Wright (#5) vs. Zack “Serious Moe” Lane (#16)
Neither of these players need an introduction. Both have legacies that an average Madden competitor would dream of having. Unfortunately, one is going home early. It's worth noting that the only person Zack “Serious Moe” Lane has practiced with over the last six weeks has been Eric “Problem” Wright. When these matchups between lab partners occur, be ready to take notes. You're going to see both players going to their third and fourth progression reads and calling plays from formations that they never call simply to throw off their opponent.
Problem has a lot riding on this event. He's been the face of Madden for the last 2 years, and has yet to take home a belt. Meanwhile, Serious Moe is playing with a chip on his shoulder, and, after the loss of his father, Herb Lane, playing this one out for his pops.
ZAN's Prediction: Serious Moe 17 – Problem 14
Always take the under in a game between these two defensive masterminds. This game could be beautifully ugly. I predict turnovers galore as a result of these two adjusting to their lab partner's tendencies!
The Final 16 of the 2017 Madden Championship is set! Who will win $100,000 for first place and claim the right to refer to themselves as the best Madden NFL 17 competitor in the world? Make sure to tune in this weekend from May 12 – May 14 for the live finals. Tune in at Twitch.tv/Madden and the finals on NFL Network!