New England Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 13: Cam Newton #1 of the New England Patriots runs with the ball during the second half against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on September 13, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

There’s been a wide range of projections for Cam Newton’s 2021 season. Predictions include him not playing a single snap, to one of the all-time great bounce-back years in NFL history. Among those expecting a rebound from the 2015 MVP? EA Sports’ Madden 22.

While the latest edition of Madden won’t officially be released until late August, the game began its beta phase last week. In video games, a ‘beta’ is a version of the game that is released to a limited number of players while the game is still in development, but far enough along to be at least minimally playable. This is used to test new features and/or get fan feedback on the game.

One screengrab from this year’s beta in particular, shown in a trailer for the game’s franchise mode, may catch the eye of some Patriots fans. A league info page shows Cam Newton as the NFL’s leading passer through 13 weeks. In that simulation, Newton completes 67 percent of his passes for 3,731 yards and 26 touchdowns to that point.

It’s more than just one sim that has Newton dominating. Brian Mazique, who covers sports video games for Forbes, was one of those with access to the beta, which Madden refers to as the Playtest. In Mazique’s sim, Newton throws for 5,736 yards and wins NFL MVP.

There is one interesting caveat to those hoping Madden’s artificial intelligence is onto something here. While Newton succeeds individually in both of these simulations, the Patriots as a team do not. In the example from the EA trailer, the team is 6-7 heading into their Week 14 matchup with the Colts. Mazquie’s sim has a slightly better, albeit still disappointing ending as they fall to the Baltimore Ravens in the first round of the playoffs.

It appears the game’s programming approves of the Patriots’ offseason, and surrounding Newton with new and improved weapons. Of course though, these numbers are hardly indicative of what kind of success Newton and the Patriots will have in 2021.

In fact, these results are not even predictive of what kind of game Madden 22 will be – again, this is a beta version of the game, and the A.I. will likely be tweaked before the release. Still, it’s fun to think about what it would be like to see Newton put up such spectacular numbers – but with overall team success backing his play up.

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Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.