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Madden Stream Picks: Free $5K Simulated Pro Football Season Pool Predictions

Zach Thompson breaks down the free $5K Simulated Pro Football Season Pool on DraftKings Sportsbook, which locks at 12:00 p.m. ET on Monday.

Tennessee Titans v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Hopefully, you’ve been able to get plugged into the daily fantasy football action on the DraftKings Dream Stream with six Madden 21 sims coming your way every day, featuring computer vs. computer simulations. You can check out all the gameplay details on the Madden Streams Information Page and dive into the full depth chart for each team.

Starting on Monday, the simulations will be part of a new season following the schedule of the 2021 season while using the current ratings and rosters, which are from Week 1 of the 2020 NFL season. To celebrate the start of this new simulated season, DraftKings is also offering a free-to-enter $5K pool with 10 questions about how the season will play out.

Eight of the 10 questions are about the division winners, so to help inform those decisions, we can look back at how these teams have fared in recent sims using the same rosters and gameplay settings. While the schedule hasn’t been fully balanced to this point, each team has played about 50 games since the end of the Madden Holiday Season, so it’s a significant sample size to evaluate and determine who the true contenders during this simulated season are likely to be. All records given below are unofficial and include the games played from the end of the holiday season at the very end of 2020 through Friday, May 21.

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Which team will win the AFC North Division?

The obvious favorite here is the Baltimore Ravens, who are led by the Madden 21 cover athlete in Superstar X-factor Lamar Jackson. While they do have the best record, it’s definitely not a lock based on the fact that they’re just 26-24 while the Steelers are 24-24 and the Browns are 23-24. Any of those three teams could be viable picks in this spot, so this could be a nice spot for some differentiation. Picking the Steelers based on their defense makes sense if you don’t want to go too chalky, but it’s hard to pick against the greatness of Jackson.

Choice: Baltimore Ravens

Which team will win the AFC South Division?

This has been one of the evenest divisions throughout all the Madden 21 simulations, producing different teams advancing in tournaments and seasons. In 2021, the Tennessee Titans and the Jacksonville Jaguars have posted identical 26-22 records. The Texans have gone 22-24 and the Indianapolis Colts aren’t far behind at 20-28. Deshaun Watson makes the Texans a team that can win every game, but their defense has struggled enough that they’re very boom-or-bust. I think this is a great place to take advantage of a sim-team being much better than the public perception of the real team. This is one of the best spots for differentiation, so I’m taking a flier here. Maybe I’ve spent too much time in the virtual booth with Emerson Lotzia, but I think the Jags are a sneaky strong pick here.

Choice: Jacksonville Jaguars

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Which team will win the AFC East Division?

The fact that all the COVID-19 opt-outs are in the game makes a huge difference in this division since the Dolphins get some WRs back and the Patriots’ defense is very strong. Add in a solid but not spectacular Cam Newton, and the Patriots have managed 10 more wins than any other team in the AFC East.

Choice: New England Patriots

Which team will win the AFC West Division?

The Chiefs are definitely dominant from a fantasy production perspective, but they’ve only managed to go 29-22 this year. The Los Angeles Chargers have gone 28-20 and have been either just ahead or just behind the Chiefs in each of the seasons we’ve had. The Chiefs play a pretty tough schedule while the Chargers have an easier road, so I think we’ll get another perceived upset in the West. The Broncos and Raiders have been two of the worst Madden 21 teams in 2021, so they would be very longshots to challenge for the division.

Choice: Los Angeles Chargers

Which team will win the NFC North Division?

The NFC has much more separation for the top teams in each division across the board, and the North has been the domain of the Packers in all our simulated seasons. Green Bay is 33-16 while Minnesota is the only other NFC North team over .500 at 25-22

Choice: Green Bay Packers

Which team will win the NFC South Division?

The NFC South has had much more parody, and the three teams behind the New Orleans Saints have posted very similar records in all the tournaments and seasons. The Atlanta Falcons did win the Preseason tournament but haven’t been able to keep up with the Saints since then, and Tom Brady’s Buccaneers have struggled since their defense is still at its Week 1 ratings. New Orleans is built around its three superstars on offense in Drew Brees, Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara, and should be able to win their division comfortably.

Choice: New Orleans Saints

Which team will win the NFC East Division?

Injuries don’t apply to these sims, so the Dallas Cowboys have Dak Prescott and a strong offensive line. Their defense has been inconsistent at times, but they have been good enough to pick up nine more wins than the other mediocre teams in their division. The Washington Football Team has a lot of good pieces but having Dwayne Haskins at QB keeps them from being legit contenders.

Choice: Dallas Cowboys

Which team will win the NFC West Division?

There are four pretty solid teams in the NFC West, but the Seattle Seahawks have risen above the rest with Russell Wilson and a hard-hitting, turnover-creating defense leading them to the win in the Madden Bracket tournament earlier this spring and the most wins of any team in 2021 at 37-13. The 49ers and Rams could be Wild Card contenders, but the Seahawks are the class of the division.

Choice: Seattle Seahawks

How many teams will be undefeated through the first eight games of the season?

The over/under here is just 1.5, but I still lean toward the under since we typically don’t see teams go on long winning streaks in Madden 21. Overall, teams tend to trend closer to .500 in these exhibition sims which is why the phrase “Any Given Simday” is a catchphrase often used. Especially since you would need not just one but two teams to go on an incredible run to hit the over, I think the under is the right play.

Choice: Under

Which of these teams will have the best record at the end of the regular season?

The four teams in this question are the Bengals, Jaguars, Jets and Broncos. Since I’ve already picked Jacksonville to win their division, that’s definitely the way I’m going here as well. The worst team in 2021 is actually the Raiders, who aren’t on this list but the Jets’ 19 wins, the Bengals’ 20 wins and the Broncos’ 14 wins all put them significantly behind my man Gardner Minshew and the 26 wins he has picked up with the Jaguars in 2021

Choice: Jacksonville Jaguars

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