Madden NFL 13 Tips – 5 Sets for Success on Offense

Top 5 Madden NFL 13 Improvement Tips

Top 5 Sets for Success—Offense

Any time players have confidence in their game, they will be playing at a high level. Nothing makes a player feel more confident than having a game plan. The “five sets for success” philosophy is the key to using real football tactics and knowledge to create the ultimate game plan for any situation. These plans work with any team or playbook and give players an easy-to-follow strategy to start winning more games. Knowing that you put yourself in the best position to win when the ball is snapped is the ultimate confidence boost.

5. Power Run Set (Three-Headed Rushing Attack)

4. Quick Pass Set (Blitz Beater)

3. Compressed Set (Man Beater)

2. Bunch Set (Zone Beater)

1. Base Set

5. Power Run Set

Examples: I-Form Tackle Over, Strong Close, I-Form Tight

Pro Tip: The key to a great power rushing set is the three-headed rushing attack.

Coming out and being able to run the ball takes all the pressure off of your offense. This will later open up the passing game and keep the defense honest. A three-headed rushing attack means the ability to run the ball to the left, middle, and right from one formation. By coming out in a run left, you can access the run middle with the quick audible down. You can access the run right by audibling to it. This gives you three super-easy and fast options to take advantage of wherever the defense looks weak. When you don’t have to change formations to run and can quickly adjust, you will move the chains consistently!

4. Quick Pass Set (Blitz Beater) 

Examples: Full House, Strong Close, Weak I, Shotgun Split Slot

Pro Tip: Keeping players in the backfield in to block is another strong way to beat the blitz.

Beating the blitz means either picking up the pressure or getting the ball out fast. By having a play with a few solid quick-pass options, we can beat aggressive defenses. If the opponent blitzes and does a good job manually covering our hot read, we will need a second target. When you dump the ball off quickly, you can easily break huge gains if you can shake past one defender. For newer players, a great quick pass is an HB screen, which fools the blitzers into thinking they have the QB, before he dumps the pass off over the defenders’ heads. By using a formation with at least two players in the backfield and one TE on the line, we can block any pressure the defense sends!

3. Compressed Set (Man Beater)

Examples: Shotgun Tight Flex, Singleback Tight Slots 

Pro Tip: CBs have landmarks they are accustomed to using on the outside; when you slide them in, some can lose their feel for space!

When you put multiple WRs into one area and choreograph their routes, it can be nearly impossible for the defense to stick with them. These players will work in such a tight area that the defenders will naturally pick each other off and the WRs will get free. This forces defenses out of man-to-man defense and into more zones. From a route standpoint, curls, outs, and slants against backed-off coverages are a great way to beat man-to-man. Knowing when your WR is going to cut and having the pass ready for him will force the defense to add zones, which will give you more time in the pocket.

2. Bunch Set (Zone Beater)

Examples: Singleback Bunch, Gun Bunch Quads, Gun Trey Open 

Pro Tip: You can use these sets to force defenses to play the coverages you want to attack.

Getting comfortable reading different zone coverages will help cut down on your turnovers. Making throws to hook and drag routes against zone is extremely safe and will help get your offense into a rhythm. A standard bunch set has three WRs on one side of the field, and we like keeping one on a flat zone. This forces a defender to slide down low and let in some space behind him. Against a Cover 4, you should have the flat zone wide open for an easy gain. Cover 2 does a better job over the middle of the field but can leave the corners vulnerable, so we like a nice route to the sideline that we can throw to behind the flat zone. To clear out the safety, leave the third WR on a streak or open the middle with a drag or a slant. You will see all of these concepts in bunch sets (for example, the Z Spot play) and can always make your own by using different hot routes. If you make consistent reads from a bunch set against zone, you will be an extremely high percentage passer.

1. Base Set

Examples: Singleback Spread, Shotgun Tight Doubles, Shotgun Trips TE

Pro Tip: The best base plays use a man concept on one side of your play and a zone beater on the other!

Our base set is our most comfortable offensive formation, and we come out in it every play. This gives us great repetition and we can usually get a good idea of what defense our opponent is utilizing. It usually contains elements of both bunch and compressed sets, which can defeat any type of coverage. We can motion out an HB to either side to create a flood concept and we can leave our best WR on the single side to run a man-beating route. Using this formation early keeps our game plan on track and prevents us from using random plays. The base set allows you to attack any weakness the defense shows pre-snap. If you can get your best five athletes on the field, you can always audible to other formations and still have plenty of talent. Think of the Patriots’ Joker package with three WRs and two TEs. They use these players in multiple lineups and are always looking to catch the defense off-balance.

Related posts:

  1. 5 Sets for Success – Starter Defensive Tips
  2. Madden NFL 13 Tips: Top 5 Offensive Formations
  3. Madden NFL 13 Tips: Stopping 5WR Empty Sets
  4. Why the Patriots Run a Madden NFL 13 Offense
  5. How to Set Your Offensive Audibles in Madden NFL 25!

0 thoughts on “Madden NFL 13 Tips – 5 Sets for Success on Offense

  1. Thank you for this info, I have been playing for years and have needed some direction, this helps out a lot, now I can use these concepts in the practice mode of my connected career.

      • Great tips I want more lol this was very helpful I need more defensive tips I am horrible on d. I lost 2 games in last minute situations I an now 5-2.

  2. Excellent tips, some of them i used since madden 11 n “export” to every year’s saga. But as far from the games i’ve played up to now in mad13, it seems more easy to score, n besides, intercept…more easy to pass n more difficult to run….this could be some tips to choose your strategy…thanks.

  3. Did EA Sports take over VG Sports? I can not find VG Sports Strategy guides anywhere and I believe they had the best guides ever. In the past Prima guides where just stats and information about players although now it seems like they have improved.

    • Hey Johnny,

      SGibs and I (ZFarls) are currently making the digitial and print guides on the site as official partners of EA Sports. Let me know if you have any questions on the content, we have been making items since 08 and they are legit.

  4. I like the concepts here and in the official guide, but am having trouble figuring out exactly how to use in game play.

    As I understand, each of the 5 sets is in a different formation, and that each of those should have a few different plays. So I set each of these 5 sets as my 5 audibles? But then if I change plays, I won’t have the right personnel for that formation. I’d like each of the 5 sets have its own group of audibles so I can change plays without taking too much time off the clock.

    Also, how do you work this within the play calling screen? Do I use the conventional 3-box screen and just manually navigate to the formation, and browse down to select the same play every down? There’s gotta be a better way than that.

    Can we maybe get a video (or link me, if it already exists) to show how this all flows in gameplay?

    • Hey Joe,

      With most teams, the base formation involves using your best 5 athletes. (Think Pats, how the always use, Welker, Gronk, Hernandez, Lloyd, Woodhead)
      This gives them great flexibility to audible back and forth to different formations.
      If they want to run, they go Ridley and come out in run middle.
      I usually start by calling my base play and then depending on what I read will later come out in Man/Zone plays depending on situation and how things feel.
      I always call plays by 3 box and formation screen.
      Feel free to email me any other questions, we also will have a free video coming out soon, just send a pic of your guide to and I’ll send when its ready.

  5. I got the prima guide, and im wondering was it written before you found out you can’t move lbs? But I really love the format of guide its very well put together. Any player could benefit from picking it up!

  6. Does anyone feel that the audibles on defense is a bit slow compared to.madden.12;?…also ive heard they are goin to fix th man coverage, that works a little too well in this game. Im not complainin because im 37-11 online, but dbs seem to.kno where ur route is goin 85% of the time which is odd esp if steve smith route running in 95 (papog1986) if yoy want good competition

  7. Never use to set audibles,just started in this years Madden,have to say works wonders.Using 49ers in an online league,play books Offense-Brian Billicks (Single Back Pro Twins- counter wk,stretch and dive as my three headed rushing attack,Strong I-F Angle as my quick pass(has some nice plays I can audibles to) Single Back Flex-Slot Post or Cross Dagger my Zone beater and Single Back Y-Trips-Curl flats man beater defense-Ravens .Defense I set depends on team I play.Check out 3-4 Over Ed-Cover 3.

  8. I started following SGibbs last year and loved the videos…you have taken this to a whole new level…I have been frustrated in my league but of course I just got back in Madden last year after being gone since 2005…My mentor from last year said he just got your guides and they are the here I am again for M13…I’m hoping I can turn this around because my league has some BALLERS!!! You 3 head rushing attack concept got me to to lead the league in rushing last yr 3 seasons in a row but this yr I’m not doing so hot…anywho i look forward to getting back on board with with you guys and your tips….

  9. I just jumped into the purchase of this defense, because I saw your video preview and the audibles you used were from a favourite PB of mine. Now, after purchasing the guide, I realize you use a totally different playbook and plays and I’m wondering why. Is this an update to the video preview or what? I’d rather have those audibles and plays explained instead of those who are in the final guide.

  10. I am confused. If you come out in your “rushing attack” people know you will be rushing. They don’t know where, but they know you will. Correct? Come out in i form then audible to the run direction you want.

    If you come out in your quick pass set form, people will know you are going to pass?

    I would like maybe a super simple explanation to this, as I have been told I am borderline retarded. Thanks!

    • I agree. I would like an explanation of this as well. This works for a while, but if you play the same player multiple times they will adjust to the so called 5 sets for success offense.

  11. You Have To Know When To Throw It, Like ZFarls Wrote In The Post When You See The DBs Backed Up In Coverage You Do Curls And Slants.

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