The defensive AI got an enormous buff in Madden NFL 23, but knowing how to intercept and deflect a pass manually is still key for any serious player.
A big emphasis of Madden NFL 23 was to remove “money plays,” a series of plays that appear in each game that the defensive AI just can’t handle. The discovery of money plays has traditionally led to an arms race between players to figure out the best ones and the best teams to execute them in competitive settings. There were multiple steps taken to try and remedy this, and the incredibly high rate of interceptions by AI-controlled players is likely a direct symptom of this.
Unfortunately, money plays are likely to persist in one form or another. That means that Madden NFL 23 players will need to learn how to intercept and deflect passes eventually. Here’s how to work the game’s coverage mechanics.
How to intercept a pass in Madden NFL 23
Players can try to intercept the ball by pressing the triangle button on PlayStation or Y button on Xbox.
When playing as a defender in a coverage situation, players have three different options. They can either go for a tackle, jump up for a deflection, or look for an interception. There’s an inherent risk vs. reward factor to this, with an interception being a high-risk play with a high reward while a tackle is lower risk with low reward.
Hitting the triangle or Y button will make the defending player go for an interception. If successful, this nets the team a turnover and stops an offensive drive. The trouble is that if the defender doesn’t secure the interception, it leaves a clear path for the intended receiver to make the catch. This is particularly dangerous in situations where there isn’t another nearby defender to make the tackle should the interception attempt fails.
The lowest risk option is to play the receiver and look for a quick tackle. By holding the X button on PlayStation or A on Xbox, the defensive player can look to wrap up the receiver to prevent the catch or prevent them for getting any serious yards after. This is a bit of a trade as it likely gives away the reception, but it also prevents a potentially bigger gain.
The medium-risk play is going for a deflection. This can be done by pressing the square button on PlayStation or X button on Xbox. This sees the defender look to swat the ball away from the intended receiver to secure an incompletion. A deflection attempt is more reliable than an interception, but doesn’t force a turnover.
The best option will ultimately vary based on the situation. Players can look to intercept in Madden NFL 23 in a short pass to the slot receiver much more safely than 30 yards downfield in a one-on-one situation. Of course, a skillful player won’t even give the defensive side an opportunity to make a play on the ball. Plus, there are other options for forcing a turnover even after the reception is made.