We've been doing continuous coverage this week for Madden NFL 15, covering all the bases, from Ultimate Team to picking the best teams for the job to dominating the field on offense. Now, it's time to focus on the defensive side of things, as keeping your opponent out of the end zone is just as vital as penetrating your own.

There are some new tricks to learn with this year's defense, so let's get started with some basic tips that will have you mastering your domain in no time – and maybe even scooping up a loose ball in the process!

Getting Off To a Good Start

The important thing when it comes to blasting your way through a defensive line is momentum. New in Madden NFL 15 this year is a "fresh start" option, where you can press the speed boost button right before the defensive team snaps, giving you the opportunity to try and dart ahead of a defender and try to get the snap.

How it works is simple: wait for your cue to hit the trigger when you feel a slight rumble in your controller. This will be your chance to jump ahead of when the opposing team snaps the ball.

Now, it's not just "press a trigger" and you'll automatically break through, as the opposing QB will more than likely have a defensiveman trying to keep you off his back. As this battle proceeds, you'll see a queue to hit a button in order to break free from the grapple, usually something along the lines of "X" or "Square," depending on the version you play. Hit it just right, and you could slip loose, getting the opportunity to nail the QB before he hurls the ball away.

Using these two new options could give you the boost you need to get more sacks on the play, or, at the very least, pressure the QB enough to not complete the intended pass. Strong defense is way better than none at all.

Tackling the Running Man

Usually, the quarterback will find an opportunity to hand off the ball to a receiver, in an attempt to get some yards by running it up the field. It's important to note these plays, as you can usually see the formation, but not always the intended receiver.

With that, keep a button handy on your player switch, and when you see the QB handing off the ball, try to get to the nearest available defensiveman. By doing this, you'll gain a jump on who's got the ball, and possibly tackle them for a loss of yards.

Now, with this tackle system, you'll be introduced to a new "cone" technique that shows the direction of your tackle. While hitting a player 100 percent is most effective, you can also trip them up or maybe even cause enough of a loss in momentum to have your fellow players bring him down. So, when you're aiming on your tackle, use the "cone" to get the right direction going, and then, before he can pull off a defensive maneuver (like a spin or stiff arm), bring him down to size.

This system might take practice at first, but make sure you have someone ready and able to bring down a runner. Otherwise, they'll make the first down marker easily, and you'll have to start all over again.

Choosing the Right Defensive Play

When it comes to choosing a defensive play that works, you'll want to make sure coverage is out on all fronts. You don't want to stack up the front too much, as that'll free up a number of receivers in the backfield, allowing the quarterback to move the ball with a simple pass play. Instead, examine the pass plays and see which ones have best overall coverage. Those are the ones to go with.

If you're still confused what plays work best, don't forget the coach consultation option. They'll provide some strong basic tips as to which plays you should go with, and they usually end up being right. If you're still doubtful, running the 2 Man Under defensive play comes with a strong recommendation, because of its overall coverage.

Interception or Not, Go For the Ball

Finally, when it comes to trying to pick someone off, it's important to keep two things in mind.

First, don't touch the receiver. Stopping their momentum could very well give you a penalty flag, and that's just as bad as a reception, because it'll give them the first down needed to get into the end zone. Let them come to you, if possible, and then try to get in front of them to get the pick. 

Secondly, you don't always need to go for the pick. The idea behind your defense is to make sure the receiver doesn't get the ball. This is no matter what. So even if you don't think you have a bead on the ball, there's always the chance you could swat it away before they get their hands on it. To go for the play and even not make the reception still results in success, as they aren't able to gain the yards necessary to complete the play.

Remember, stay on them like glue, but don't stick to them – and then make your move, successful or not, for the ball.

Get all the Madden NFL 15 plays, tips, and tactics from the Madden Pros with theOfficial Madden NFL 15 Strategy Guide + All 32 Teams Video Bundle (Includes 6 MUT Pro Packs!).

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