All strategy. All the time.

Madden NFL 25 - Top 5 Defensive Tips

Published 1 year, 1 month ago by ZFarls & SGibs

Defense is often considered more challenging by beginner players than the offensive side of the ball. Let’s see what we should be doing to start playing stout defense in Madden NFL 25. Most of this mirrors what we discussed on offense, as football is simply a chess match with the player getting the last adjustment in earning an advantage. Study up on the defensive buttons and adjustments with the Skills Trainer and practice mode! Knowing all your options is key to becoming a better player. (When you're ready, get more Madden NFL 25 strategies!)

5. Choose Your Play
4. Read the Offense
3. Make Adjustments
2. Make Your Move
1. Huddle Up

5. Choose Your Play

Tip

Playing defense without knowing the proper controls is very detrimental to learning how to play. On offense it is a much smaller issue!

Most beginners have a conservative style of defense that allows them to give up some yardage but not the big play downfield. This allows the offense to take what is given to them. This is a great strategy at the start of the game to see what type of offense your opponent is running, especially if you don’t know their play style. When it comes time to call a play, ask yourself a few questions:

  • What is the down and distance?
  • What do my opponents like to do on offense?
  • What personnel are they putting on the field?


All of these questions should lead you towards calling one of the five types of plays in our “5 Sets for Success” system on defense.

  1. Run Defense
  2. Man Coverage Defense
  3. Zone Coverage Defense
  4. Man Blitz Defense
  5. Zone Blitz Defense

If your opponent is likely to run the ball, you want to have more linemen and linebackers on the field. If you think they are going to pass, you want more cornerbacks and safeties in the game. While most beginner players don’t like to send blitzes because it leaves them vulnerable, there are situations when a well-timed blitz can really throw off the offense! When looking to defend the pass, you must choose a man or zone defense. Man (or man-to-man) coverage means each defender is responsible for following an offensive player, while zone means that each defender plays an area of the field and only picks up a man if he runs through his area. Be sure to vary which you call so the offense doesn’t get comfortable, but also cater to your team’s strength. Check your defenders’ ratings to see if they are better in man (MCV) or zone (ZCV) coverage. Calling a variety of plays out of the huddle will keep the offense guessing and give you a higher chance for success.

4. Read the Offense

Tip

If the offense is heavily weighted to one side, you can use “base align” to adjust your defensive balance.

Now that you have called your defensive play, you get to see where the offensive players line up, which is known as a formation. Each offensive formation has strengths and weaknesses, and it is the defense’s job to match up against it. The game should do a good job readjusting to any weird alignments by the offense, but you should always be ready to make your own adjustments. This is a good time to ask questions like:

  • Who are my opponent’s biggest playmakers?
  • Where are those players lining up?
  • Where are my weaknesses if the ball is snapped right now?
  • Who can I user-control on defense to give myself an advantage?
  • Do I recognize this formation, and if so, what did I see from it last time?
  • Do I need to audible?


Now that you have made a few assumptions about what your opponent will run, get ready to make a few adjustments before the snap of the ball!

3. Make Adjustments

Tip

Dropping defensive linemen into zones can help stop short throws over the middle.

You will have a minimum of 7 seconds from the Play Call screen to the snap of the ball to get in any adjustments you need to feel confident! This doesn’t seem like a long time, but with a little practice you can get in a lot of changes. You can adjust any individual player’s assignment by clicking onto him, or you can control players by group, like linemen, linebackers, and secondary. To go from a beginner to an expert, you need to start realizing the tendencies of your opponent and reacting. If the QB keeps passing the ball to his TE over the middle of the field, you need to understand all the options you have to stop him. You can add a second man-to-man defender inside or drop a defensive lineman into a hook zone. Both of these will weaken another area of your coverage, but you must take away your opponent’s first option. Always try to be ready for the snap of the ball and to see if the play you planned for was actually called!

2. Make Your Move

Tip

Never be afraid to “click on” to a defender and try to make a user play—this will lead to improvement in the long term!

One of the hardest things to learn on defense is just getting a feel for the defender you are controlling. Many players don’t like to go for tackles because they fear they will miss them. Others don’t like to try and defend in the passing game because they fear a mistake will cost them a TD. If you user-control a linebacker (LB) in a hook (yellow) zone, you can’t hurt your team too badly, so that’s what beginners should do. This will also start to improve your confidence, and you will be making plays in no time. Resist the urge to control a defensive lineman; it feels safe but won’t make you better in the long term. Once you make your read and the play comes towards you, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I have an angle on the ball carrier?
  • What move might the runner try to use here?
  • Can I go for a hit stick, which is a higher risk but brings more reward?
  • Can I hold down the Catch button for the interception, or should I use the safer Swat button?
  • Is it safer for me to click off of my defender and let the CPU make a safe tackle?


There isn’t a worse feeling than giving up a TD on a long throw that you let the CPU defend. As a player who has been in that situation, I know. You may be feeling a lack of confidence, but if the CPU ends up costing you the game when you chose not to “click on,” you will regret it.

1. Huddle Up

Tip

You have a minimum of 7 seconds to get in your adjustments if the offense calls hurry up!

Once you make that tackle or sack the QB, your opponent can call another play. Think about the play you just ran and if it was successful for the situation. If you called a blitz, think about if it worked. Not every successful blitz ends up in a sack—sometimes it just forces the QB to throw the ball faster. Often, a blitz early in the game can be used to set up a blitz later from the other side that looks similar! Playing defense is all about playing the situation and being ready to adapt to the offense.

Now that you know everything you need to be scanning for over the course of a game on the defensive side of the ball, start working on the controls so you can quickly make those adjustments. Even the best players have a hard time getting stops early in the game if they haven’t seen their opponent’s best plays before. The key is learning what they like to do during the course of the game, so when the fourth quarter rolls around, you are ready to get a stop and win the game!
Defensive Checklist

  • Choose a Run Defense or Man/Zone Pass Defense
  • Look at the Offensive Formation and Personnel
  • Make Any Needed Audibles or Adjustments
  • Be Ready for the Snap
  • Make Your Reads
  • Make Your Move
  • Make Plays

Ready to learn more? Get more Madden NFL 25 strategies!

Also check out Madden NFL 25 - Top 5 Offensive Tips.

0 Comments on this article

View all 0 comments

Comments