The defensive AI gained a huge advantage in Madden NFL 23, but knowing how to manually intercept and deflect a pass is still key for any serious player.
A big emphasis of Madden NFL 23 was removing “money plays,” a series of plays that appear in every game that the defensive AI simply can’t handle. The discovery of money plays has traditionally led to an arms race between gamers to discover the best ones and the best teams to execute them in competitive environments. Various measures were taken to try to remedy this, and the incredibly high rate of interception by AI players is likely a direct symptom of this.
Unfortunately, money games are likely to persist in one form or another. That means Madden NFL 23 players will need to learn how to intercept and deflect passes eventually. Here’s how the game’s cover mechanic works.
How to intercept a pass in Madden NFL 23
Players can try to intercept the ball by pressing the triangle button on PlayStation or the Y button on Xbox.
When playing defense in a coverage situation, players have three different options. They can look for a tackle, jump to deflect or look for an interception. There is an inherent risk versus reward factor in this, as an interception is a high risk play with a high reward, while a tackle is a lower risk with a low reward.
Pressing the triangle or the Y button will cause the defending player to look for an interception. If successful, this gives the team a turnover and stops an offensive drive. The problem is that if the defender doesn’t secure the interception, he leaves a clear path for the intended receiver to make the catch. This is particularly dangerous in situations where there is no other defender nearby to make the tackle should the interception attempt fail.
The lowest risk option is to play catcher and look for a quick tackle. By holding down the X button on PlayStation or A on Xbox, the defensive player can try to wrap up the receiver to avoid the sack or prevent them from gaining important yardage later. This is a small trade, as it probably gives the reception away, but also prevents a potentially larger profit.
The medium risk play is going to go astray. This can be done by pressing the square button on PlayStation or the X button on Xbox. This causes the defender to seek to move the ball away from the intended receiver to secure an incomplete pass. A deflection attempt is more reliable than an interception, but it does not force a turnover.
The best option will ultimately vary depending on the situation. Players can attempt to intercept in Madden NFL 23 on a short pass to the slot receiver much safer than 30 yards downfield in a one-on-one situation. Of course, a skilled player won’t even give the defensive side a chance to make a play with the ball. Additionally, there are other options to force a ball change even after the catch has been made.