As a Madden NFL player, I thought it would be fun to trade Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton to every team in the AFC and report on how it went.
I simulated Dalton playing a full 16-game season with each AFC team, and then the playoffs, for those teams with whom Dalton made it to the postseason. The above summarizes each season and also has Dalton’s stats for every season and Super Bowl highlights. But for people who don’t feel like listening to my voice I figured I would put it all in writing so it could be more easily acceptable. There was one ground rule, I repeated the simulation over if Dalton played in less than half of the games.
Below is how Dalton did with each AFC team in the order of worst to best. Keep in mind, Dalton played with each team’s 2017 roster.
It seems fairly obvious that the Browns would be the team with whom Dalton did worst. And yet, being this bad surprised even me. I was thinking the upgrade at quarterback would get them to at least 4-12, but I guess nothing can help the Browns.
This one didn’t surprise me much, as the Colts struggle to stay close to .500 with Andrew Luck who I believe is a better quarterback than Dalton. Of course Dalton is still a good quarterback and with all of their offensive weapons, I would think it would have been worth slightly more than 4 wins.
Here’s another one that does not surprise on the list. Coming into the season, the Jets may have one of the most talent poor rosters in the league, especially after trading away all their veteran help. Every quarterback they have is a massive downgrade from Dalton, even if they are still growing.
This is the first one on the list that actually surprised me, with their stout defense and two talented receivers, I thought Dalton was due a playoff berth in Denver. However, the whole team struggled and they failed to make a mark on the league, ultimately resulting in a disappointing 5-11 season.
This is exactly where I expected the Bills to be. A roster that is going through a lot of change right now, with a lot of question marks at many positions, especially at wide receiver and tight end. Dalton needs good weapons surrounding him to play at an elite level and the Bills do not have those kinds of weapons.
The Jaguars are one of the most confusing teams in the league and I have no idea how Dalton would do on the team. They seemingly have a plethora of talented wide receivers. However, they have no tight ends of note. With all the pieces they added on defense, they should have a very deadly defense in 2017, but that didn’t translate to virtual-field success with Madden.
A few seasons ago, Raiders fans would’ve killed to be 8-8 and now anything short of multiple playoff wins would be disappointing. This goes to show you what one good draft can do. While the Raiders took Khalil Mack and Derek Carr in 2014 the Browns had the opportunities to get both players and missed out, instead getting Johnny Manziel and Justin Gilbert. Side note: the Browns have also passed on players such as Anthony Barr, Aaron Donald and Odell Beckham Jr. But here, Dalton didn’t get to the playoffs with the Raiders.
The Dolphins are a very middle of the road team with many position groups that are good to above average, such as defensive line and wide receiver. They also have some truly dreadful position groups like their interior OL or secondary. Dalton was not able to take them to the playoffs, but had a decent season in Miami.
HEre’s another team that shows how much the future of your franchise can change with the right quarterback selection. After getting Marcus Mariota the Titans prospects have just looked better each year. After getting Dalton, they still had a great season, but through an unfortunate stroke of fate ended up missing the playoffs even at 10-6.
Bengals: 9-7 Wild Card Loss
Wow this looks familiar. However, I have to say, his stats for his season with the Bengals in this experiment were his best with any team. If he can replicate those numbers in 2017, the Bengals should make the playoffs again. With the team coming off a down season, a playoff win would be nice, but losing in the playoffs would even be better than another 6 win season. Unfortunately, this simulation didn’t get the Bengals further than they’ve been during Dalton’s tenure.
Chiefs: 9-7 Wild Card Loss
Alex Smith has been quarterbacking the Chiefs for the last few years and the team has been fairly successful during that time. Even though he is what many would call a game manager, he does what he needs to do to get his Chiefs to the playoffs. When Dalton joined the Chiefs, he had a very Alex Smith-like season with seemingly lots of checkdowns. He still made the playoffs and in Chiefs’ fashion, got bounced from the playoffs in disappointing fashion... That’s Bengals’ fashion, too.
Ravens: 10-6 Wild Card Loss
Dalton had a solid season with the Ravens, and made the playoffs with a second AFC North team. But once again, he got bounced in the wild card round. With possibly one of the worst playoff games of all time, we just have to hope this is not how the actual playoffs go next season for Cincinnati...assuming they make it there.
Texans 10-5-1 Wild Card Loss
With the Texans’ elite defensive players, I expected Dalton to make the playoffs with his hometown team and he did not let me down. After making the playoffs with Brock Osweiler and Brian Hoyer, I thought Dalton might be able to not only make it, but take the Texans further than those other quarterbacks. Unfortunately, the Texans also took a wild card loss. On the plus side, Dalton did not play nearly as poorly as he did for the Ravens in their loss.
Steelers: 11-5 Conference Championship Loss
In what I’m sure is familiar at this point, the Conference Championship game with Dalton leading the Steelers was a matchup with the Patriots. It went exactly the same way as it has the last couple of times these teams have played...with the Patriots coming out on top. Although this time, it was Dalton the Patriots were facing and despite a great season by Dalton, the Steelers still came up short to Tom Brady’s team.
Chargers: 9-7 Super Bowl Champions
In the most shocking story of this simulation, Dalton ended up making the Super Bowl with the Chargers and winning it all. Dalton actually even missed several games during the season and the Chargers did not have a great overall season. When I was simulating the playoff games one by one, I was expecting the Chargers to lose eventually, considering their bad regular season record. However, they just kept on going and kept on winning. Eventually, they made it to the end of the road and won the Super Bowl with Dalton.
Patriots: 13-3 Super Bowl Champions
Shocking absolutely no one, Dalton’s best overall season came when he took over the New England Patriots. Sporting a league-best record, the Patriots cruised to the Super Bowl with Dalton and won with a combination of big chunk play touchdowns thrown by Dalton and timely defensive stops.
Well that’s it, Dalton is a 16-season veteran with two Super Bowl Rings under his belt and one extremely awful season with the Browns. In the next installment of this series, we will be doing the same thing with the NFC.
Let me know in the comments who you think Dalton will win the Super Bowl with on the NFC side of the league. And by the way, don’t miss Cam Newton crying at the end of the above video!