Madden 20: How to dominate with RPO plays and win the Super Bowl

The run/pass option has arrived in Madden and mastering them is a key this year.


The Run/Pass Option (RPO) has been in vogue in the NFL for a few years now, and was a key to the Philadelphia Eagles finally claiming their first Super Bowl at the end of the 2017 season. Now it has been added to Madden 20.

In this guide we’ll explain how to run RPO plays work but also the best way to use them. We always recommend practicing these to master them.

In the Skills Trainer under the Exhibition menu you can find the Run Concepts playbook. There is 3 new drills are available to familiarize you with the plays.

So let’s get down to running RPO in Madden 20.

READ MORE: Complete Madden 20 controls guide

What is RPO?

As mentioned, RPO stands for Run Pass Option and it’s exactly what it says on the tin. Until this Madden, you defined a play before snapping the ball and it was a run or a pass. Over the years, Madden followed the NFL by introducing ‘option’ plays. These plays allowed the user to hand off, or keep the ball with the QB. This is the next evolution of choice.

Just like in the NFL, read the defense after the snap and work out if it’s better for your team to run the pass, or pass the ball. With great power, comes great responsibility. More casual gamers find it hard to keep up with the complexity of this choice – but fear not, we are here.

Where are they in the playbook?

RPO plays have their own placement in the Madden 20 playbooks. The best route of finding them is through the Play Type and scrolling until you see them together in their own section.

There are 3 types of RPO plays Read, Alert, and Peek. They all have the same basic tenants, but need to be understood separately to ensure we use them correctly. They have different defaults if you don’t make a certain action, so make a note of this and practice, practice, practice.

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Read RPO

The Read RPO as its names suggest, means you have to read the defense correctly to get the benefit. It’s probably the most difficult of the RPO plays, as it has 3 options not just 2. You can look for the pass, hand off to the HB or keep on a QB scramble.

In Pre Snap mode, if you press LT/L2 you will see a defender with ‘P‘ above their head. This is the person to read.

You have a split second to read the defense and make a decision that benefits you. The benefit is it gives you 3 ways to beat the defense, and it’s virtually impossible to cover all of them in one play. If you can master this approach consistently, it will lead to good results.

If you want to run the ball hold A/X. If you want to pass, then press the button of the correlating receiver. Finally, for a QB scramble then just directionally run (RT/R2). If you do nothing the QB will scramble.

READ MORE: Best playbooks in Madden 20

Alert RPO

Alert RPO plays are slightly different to the other plays. It’s a little simpler as it automatically hands the ball off to a HB if you don’t make a choice, therefore meaning you only have one thing to focus on.

However, this means if you aren’t quick enough you miss the window. There is no waiting for your WR to be open and should only be used in short yardage situations.

If you want to run the ball don’t press anything. If you want to pass, then press the button of the correlating receiver

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Peek RPO

Peek RPO plays are the same as Read RPO, but without the complexity of the QB run option. As with the other plays, you don’t have long to read the defense. Remember, in Pre Snap mode, if you press LT/L2 you will see a defender with ‘P above their head. This is the person to read.

With Peek RPO, if you don’t do anything you default to passing. This is significant as your offensive line continue to block in case of a rushing option and then when you do pass you will be penalized for illegal men down the field.

If they blitz and bite on the HB, then you should pass the ball as that should mean the coverage has less men. If that defender drops into coverage, you have the ability to run the ball knowing you should have more space and an open gap.

If you want to run the ball hold A/X. If you want to pass, then press the button of the correlating receiver, this will happen if you don’t press anything – but remember to do it quick enough to avoid the penalty flag. 

So that’s how to run the RPO plays in Madden 20. These are incredibly useful plays to master as the defense cannot account for every option you without exposing a massive hole you can then take advantage of on another play. But remember, practice makes perfect!

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Tom Owen

Contributor. I joined RealSport in 2019 contributing to Madden content.

I have followed the NFL for 15 years since playing Madden 2004, alongside being an avid life long gamer. I have been in a national Madden franchise league called NFL Out of Hours for 5 years.

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