Overview of Madden Teams - Cincinnati Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals are one of my personal favorite teams to use in madden. They are well-rounded, and can fit almost any play style. These guys have a ton of talent (even if it doesn't translate to playoff wins in real life) and can be used against literally any other team in this game. Franchise-wise, they could be a super bowl contender from the get go if the player knows what he's doing.
Quarterback - Andy Dalton is a solid and reliable starter, but he is not going to be a top 5 quarterback in the NFL. At age 26, his 81 overall is quite deceiving, as Dalton has decent mobility (69 speed), decent throw power (86), and pretty good accuracy (86 short, 79 medium, 76 deep). AJ McCarron can be your franchise passer, if you don't want to stick with Dalton. McCarron is 23 years old, has a 71 overall, and his throw power is a little low at 84, but AJ has good mobility as well (72 speed), and decent accuracy (84 short, 75 medium, 64 deep). Raising his 60 awareness will also help him out in the long run. Veteran Jason Campbell is there too, in case injury strikes, or the player doesn't like either quarterback before him.
Running Back - The tandem of Giovanni Bernard and rookie Jeremy Hill will give opponents fits in the running game. Bernard has blazing speed (90 speed, 95 agility), while Hill can run through defenders (93 trucking). Both players can hold on to the football very well (85 carry for Bernard, 94 for Hill). I like starting Bernard even though Hill has the higher overall (85 for Jeremy Hill, 84 for Giovanni Bernard), and using the rookie for shorter yardage situations, which I find myself in often. Cedric Peerman and Rex Burkhead can rotate in when needed and provide their own spark to the ground game as well. Fullback Ryan Hewitt (74 overall, 23 years old) is capable of toting the rock and joining the fray (74 speed, 76 carrying). His blocking is also solid (75 run blocking).
Wide Receivers - AJ Green is a top 5 receiver (91 speed, 95 catch, 90 catch in traffic, 94 route running), and a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. Standing at 6'4", Green can impose his will on most cornerbacks in the league, and will win most jump ball situations (97 jumping). Marvin Jones (88 catch, 85 catch in traffic) and Mohammed Sanu (79, 84) make great second and third options, especially with AJ Green requiring double teams on most plays - which open up man to man situations for both players. Dane Sanzenbacher isn't a name known by many people (68 overall, 25 years old), but he makes for a terrific fourth receiver. He is very reliable (78 catch, 83 catch in traffic), and reminds me a lot of Cole Beasley (Dallas Cowboys) and Wes Welker (Denver Broncos). Brandon Tate provides great speed (95 speed) to the receiving group.
Tight Ends - The Bengals have two terrific options to start at tight end. Jermaine Gresham (86 overall, 26 years old) is the veteran of the two. He has surprisingly decent trucking for a tight end (79), and soft hands (81 catch, 82 catch in traffic). Tyler Eifert (82, 23) is in his second year, and is just as good as Gresham. He has about the same speed as the veteran (82 speed, compared to 83) and is a very reliable receiver (87 catch, 84 catch in traffic). While Gresham can block significantly better (74 run block, to a 68), I would start Eifert - mainly due to his great hands.
Offensive Line - This team has a very good offensive line - a must for any great football team. Andrew Whitworth (96, 32) highlights this group, with his elite pass blocking (98) and his very good run blocking (92). Right guard Kevin Zeitler (88, 24) is also a great part of this line, because he is so young, yet so good at his craft. His 92 run block and 85 pass block help this team out tremendously. If there were a starting position to be improved, however, it would be the center spot. Mike Pollack makes for a solid backup at his natural position (left guard), but not as a starting center. The depth among the line is also a little concerning, too.
Defensive Line - Carlos Dunlap (89, 25) is a beast coming off of the left edge, and is a great way to get stock pressure on the quarterback. On the other side, Margus Hunt (75, 27) and Wallace Gilberry (74, 29) aren't quite as dangerous. This area would seem to be one of Cincinnati's more pressing needs, as Dunlap can't do everything by himself. Geno Atkins (93, 26) is one of the top defensive tackles in the league, and he can get a good push up the middle regardless of who the other tackle is. Domata Peko (72, 29) and Devon Still (72, 25) will likely rotate snaps to pair with Atkins. With his 82 block shed, and 80 tackle (along with his youth), Still would be my choice at number two defensive tackle - although this would be another highlighted position of need for this team.
Linebackers - Vincent Rey (78, 26) should take the starting job at left side backer (he is technically on the right side), because of his 85 tackle, 86 pursuit, and 78 zone coverage, along with the lack of a true left outside linebacker. On the other side, 23 year old Vontaze Burfict (86, 23) reigns supreme. With his 90 tackle, 95 hit power, 86 block shed, and 95 pursuit, he is the best linebacker on this team, hands down. In the middle, we have Rey Maualuga (81, 27). His 86 tackle and 93 hit power make him an enforcer up the gut. His 85 awareness and 88 pursuit also make him deadly in chasing down the play. Nico Johnson (70, 24) is a solid option to rotate in at middle linebacker, or to fill in for injury reasons.
Cornerbacks - Adam "Pacman" Jones (82, 30) and Terrance Newman (84, 35) should take the outsides, while Leon Hall (87, 29) preferably plays as the nickel back. Jones has the best man coverage on this team (87) to go along with 82 zone. Newman has similar ratings (86 and 83 respectively), while Leon Hall excels in the opposite (80 man, 90 zone). Darqueze Dennard (76, 22) and Dre Kirkpatrick (75, 24) provide great depth, who can potentially become your top two cornerbacks in a few seasons. My only complaint about this group is the lack of a young stud in a starting role, but a young, elite cornerback may just be what the Bengals need.
Safety - Reggie Nelson (88, 31) has a stranglehold on the starting free safety spot. His 90 speed, 73 catch, 73 tackle, 76 hit power, and 87 zone coverage make him the obvious choice for this role - although a young free safety would be a nice addition through the draft. George Iloka (83, 24) isn't the fastest safety (83 speed), but his 84 hit power and 87 zone coverage make up for that. He can hit hard and cover the deep ball - which is exactly what you want from your safeties.
Summary - Despite a few needs (starting center, offensive line depth, starting right end, backup defensive tackle, young cornerback, young free safety), this Bengals team has a great roster of talent. They are absolutely good enough to hang with the best of the best (from the Patriots to the Seahawks), and pull off consistent wins. They are a very balanced team, and I would highly recommend giving them a look the next time you play madden.