For the past 22 years, the release of a football video game named after John Madden has been a late summer tradition. This year will be no different when EA Sports lets loose the 23rd version of this bestseller, Madden NFL 11.
Since a certain hated division rival appears on the cover, I opted for a more appropriate cover design (see above).
If you are as big a fan of this game as I am, then you will surely be interested in how the team ratings shake out. Hit the jump to see where the Atlanta Falcons sit in the eyes of EA.
How the Birds Rank
The Falcons have the second-best rating (83) in the NFC South for the second consecutive season. In the 2010 version of the game, they began the season with an 81.
The boys from Flowery Branch do have the fifth best rating among NFC teams – up one spot from 2010 – behind only the aforementioned Saints and the Minnesota Vikings (88), Dallas Cowboys (87) and Green Bay Packers (87).
Across the entire NFL, the Falcons move up one spot from 13th in 2010 to 12th this season. Using these ratings, the Falcons are predicted to earn a wild card spot and travel to Dallas as the sixth seed.
Worst of the Bunch
The St. Louis Rams passed the Detroit Lions as the lowest ranked team in the game with a 66. The Lions were a 65 in 2010. The New England Patriots, whose 93 rating was the best in last years game, dropped to an 86 this season.
Over the past two years of Madden ratings, the Falcons have the 15th best combined ranking (82 average).
What Does it Mean?
Do these ratings predict actual success? Last season, the Madden Ratings predicted eight out the 12 playoff teams (66%).
More From Blogging Dirty:
A Look Back at Falcon Great Patrick Kerney
The Falcoholic: Madden 11 Rookie Ratings Released
How will the rankings look after the first released update? Are you as excited for August 10 as I am? Let me know your thoughts in the comments, fan Blogging Dirty on Facebook, or start the conversation on Twitter.