Some players will use whatever playbook the team they pick runs. There's no real problem with that as a lot of teams have playbooks specially tailored to their personnel, but to really succeed at Madden 19 you need to have one that suits your playing style. Do you love to play in the shotgun and pass it all over the field? Or do you prefer to use play action and short passes after pounding defenses with your running game? Whatever it is you like to do, there is a playbook for you.
Best passing playbook - New England Patriots
Unsurprisingly, the Patriots have a diverse and deep shotgun section in their playbook. With 17 different formations and 209 shotgun plays, they are a nightmare for defenses to stop once the playbook opens up.
There are some unique and rare formations among the Patriots shotgun packages. Split Close Pats has route combinations that aren't found elsewhere, and Y Off Trips Pats features both WR and HB screens as well as a ton of wheel routes and HB motions that will mess with offenses. If you have a good receiving back, then this formation will get him open a lot.
If the tight end is the strength of your receiving corps then fear not, because the Patriots shotgun set has some special plays for that too. Trips TE isolates the tight end away from a trips set and gives him all kinds of space to play in, while Trips Y Iso puts him out wide to terrorize smaller cornerbacks. There are also formations like Bunch that mess with coverages and Empty Ace Patriot that is a secondary empty set.
The Patriots even have a terrific set of passes from under center, with their singleback formations like Deuce Close, Wing Slot, and Bunch Ace being particularly effective.
The Patriots passing attack features a lot of double move routes and option routes that make it a difficult playbook to master. Timing your throws is tough, but if you get it down, then it's very tricky to stop.
Best running playbook - Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks have long seen themselves as a run-first team. While they are moving away from that due to personnel issues, their playbook in Madden 19 is still excellent for the ground game. Zone runs are the order of the day for Seattle, but this playbook includes 16 counters, 8 traps (including a wham play), 14 read options, and one triple option, making it an incredibly diverse playbook for the run.
What separates it from the likes of Carolina, which is also a terrific running playbook, is the formations. Seattle has some outstanding singleback formations including Deuce Close, Wing Slot, and Wing Tight Z. They all mess with angles for defenders and create clear running lanes.
In shotgun the Seahawks have Wing Pair which is unique and gives you three tight ends away from the HB and has inside zone, outside zone, HB power, and HB counter in it. Those four runs from the same formation can really hurt defenses, and if you run them with the Cowboys or Steelers offensive lines, then you can cause chaos on every snap.
Best balanced playbook - New Orleans Saints
The 2017 New Orleans Saints had one of the best offenses in modern history with both a devastating ground game and electric passing attack. That dual threat is mirrored in their Madden 19 playbook.
They have a nice set of under center formations such as I Form Slot Flex, Singleback Deuce Close, and Weak Close Flex that can cause problems for defenses. They have Pistol Bunch TE that gives you a lot of options, and then an expansive shotgun set with 13 formations including the formidable Y Off Trio Weak which has been one of the most impressive formations of Madden 19 so far.
Plays like Trey Y-Flex Inside Zone have very easy reads for users, and Double Y Flex Off Weak utilize receiving backs extremely well. This is a beautifully balanced playbook that combines a varied run game with complex passing concepts for seasoned Madden players and simple reads for beginners. If you had to use one playbook for any team, then the Saints would be it.
Best 4-3 playbook - Jacksonville Jaguars
It shouldn't be any surprise that the team with the best defense in the game also has the best playbook for how they run their D. If you're more comfortable with a four man defensive line, then the Jaguars are the playbook for you.
They have five 4-3 formations, including Normal, Under, Over, Over Plus, and Wide 9. That Wide 9 can be particularly devastating against outside runs and bootlegs. The Jaguars defense doesn't give you much reason to switch up with how good they are in Franchise Mode. However, if you are using this playbook with your MUT team or a different franchise, then the likes of the 46 front will be useful in short yardage, while the nickel sets, with Double A Gap and Wide 9 formations, can crush your opposition in passing situations. The Big Nickel Over G is a nice change up front if your opponent loves to run out of the shotgun.
There are plenty of trap coverages in the Jaguars playbook, with Cover 6 Invert out of Nickel Normal looking like it will be a big one this year. Cover 3 Show 2 in Nickel Double A Gap is a nice mix-up play after some of the Nickel Dog blitzes.
Best 3-4 playbook - Baltimore Ravens
Another one that won't shock anyone is that the Ravens playbook is especially good.
The masters of physical 3-4 defenses have a deep and difficult to read 3-4 front with five different formations; Odd, Predator, Over Ed, Even, and Bear. Beyond just having cool names, each front plays with angles and forces offenses to adjust their blocking and even audible away from certain plays. The Over Ed front gives you an effective 4-3 defense, while the Bear creates a six-man front that will play havoc with your opponent's blocking schemes.
Along with all those options from the 3-4 package, you get a nine-play 4-4 Split front, with zone blitzes, a Cover 2 Invert, and a Crash 3. This front is not in many playbooks, and will confuse a lot of your online opponents.
You also get both a 2-4-5 and 3-3-5 nickel front, along with 2-4-5 Double A Gap and 3-3-5 Wide to give you multiple blitz options and coverage looks. The Ravens playbook gives you so many options without forcing you to sub linebackers or change your defensive ends. It's one of the best playbooks, either offensive or defensive, in Madden 19.
Best versatile defensive playbook - Detroit Lions
If you're determined to mess with your opponent and give them a million and one fronts to worry about, then the Lions playbook is for you. It's no surprise that the Lions playbook this year closely resembles the New England Patriots since they hired head coach Matt Patricia from the Pats. He brings a multiple front defense that can flip between a 3-4 and 4-3 with five alignments between them. You get 3-4 Odd, 3-4 Under, 3-4 Solid, 4-3 Under, and 4-3 Over. Between those five alignments there are 108 plays, more than enough to keep offenses off balance and create turnovers.
You have all-out blitzes like 3-4 Under Pinch Buck 0, zone blitzes like 4-3 Under Mike Will Cross Press, and full coverage plays like 3-4 Solid Cover 4 Quarters. There are so many pressure fronts and disguised blitzes here that you can have a field day with your opponent.
There are also four Nickel front; Normal, 2-4-5 Double A Gap, 3-3-5 Odd, and 3-3-5 Wide to provide extra coverage, as well as the Big Nickel Over G. The Lions defensive playbook provides all the ammunition you need to dominate, but it requires careful use of substitutions to make sure you don't end up with your speed rushers inside or your big run stuffers out on the edge.
For more articles like this, take a look at our Madden page.