Any seasoned fan of football has heard that “the game is won in the trenches.” Defensive coordinators will have a long day if they cannot pressure the quarterback and stop the run. Thankfully, Madden 23 provides players with Superstar X-Factor abilities to enhance the effectiveness of your team’s defensive tackles and ends.
Below, you will find the Superstar X-Factors for defensive linemen in Madden 23. Each X-Factor will feature an associated player to give you players to target in Franchise and MUT.
1. Unstoppable Force
A great offensive line can make it tough to put pressure on the quarterback. The more time a quarterback has in the pocket increases the chance of a receiver getting open. A great pass rush is paramount to a great defense and a bad one will leave you on the wrong side of many third down conversions.
The Unstoppable Force X-Factor increases a defender’s pass rush win rate in one-on-one situations. When you have a player in the zone, assign them to the weak side of the offensive line for the best results. This will lead to quicker block shedding and allow penetration of the pocket and pressure on the opponent’s quarterback. Unstoppable Force is triggered by two defensive line sacks and is lost after allowing ten offensive yards.
Certain defensive players can have a positive effect on the entire defense. Think Ray Lewis, Troy Polamalu, or Aaron Donald. Players of their stature intimidate opposing offenses simply due to their presence on the field and the added attention they require. Many times, they will also be double-teamed, which makes the overall offensive line weak in other areas.
The Blitz X-Factor completely wipes out resistance bars for all on-field blockers. A resistance bar is a power meter of sorts that builds up during the game based on individual blocking success. The zone only lasts for one down, but can turn the tides of a game if activated in the right situation. Defensive lines are usually less effective later in the game so the Blitz X-Factor can help in the clutch. It is triggered by achieving two defensive line sacks.
Applying pressure on a quarterback does not always mean being a free runner with a chance for a sack. The thought of the pocket breaking down is enough pressure for a lot of quarterbacks. As you push an offensive lineman into the backfield, this increases the sense of urgency in a quarterback and can lead to inaccurate throws caused by the fear of being sacked.
The Fearmonger X-Factor increases the chance of applying pressure to the quarterback while engaged with a blocker. It’s a good ability to assign to defensive tackles, but defensive ends will be the ideal players to give it to since the quarterback will move towards the outside of the pocket if they feel too much pressure up the middle. Fearmonger is activated with two defensive line sacks and deactivated once you allow 20 offensive yards.
4. Momentum Shift
It can be tough to stop an offense once they establish a rhythm and are executing at a high level. Changing defensive schemes and coverages cannot always combat confidence and knowing what works. To make matters worse in Madden, the offense will most likely start having their players in X-Factor zones to further gain an advantage.
The Momentum Shift X-Factor wipes out the on-field opponent’s zone progress. This applies to opponents that are currently in the zone as well. For instance, you can be stuck with a quarterback who has activated Bazooka and is destroying your secondary with deep passes. Knocking them out of the zone can give you the chance to disrupt your opponent’s game plan and gain some momentum for your team. The ability is triggered with two defensive line sacks and is lost after one down is played.
At the NFL level, everyone is a monster physically, especially at the line of scrimmage. Brute strength does not always work. Finesse and swim moves in addition to strength make a great pass rusher. Each time you perform one of these rush moves, you lose a pass rush point that regenerates over time.
When a defender is in the zone with the Relentless X-Factor, pass rush moves will no longer cost points. Take advantage of this by user-controlling the player in the zone and attacking the offensive line with pass rush moves until you lose the ability by allowing the opponent to accumulate 20 yards.
Now you have five X-Factors to assign to players and gain a further advantage at the line of scrimmage. Defensive tackles and ends do a lot of the same things, but defensive ends are usually more athletic. Assign X-Factor abilities based on position and talent level of player in Madden 23.