If you're anything like me, you refuse to use any team but the Chicago Bears when playing the latest installment of the Madden video game franchise. Therefore, today's developments come with great anticipation.
(Click here to download the full Bears ratings)
EA Sports promised with Madden 10 more of a disparity between some of the league's marquee players and the Joey LaRocques of the league.
Here are some of the overall ratings highlights for the Bears:
Orlando Pace: 87
Matt Forte: 89
Robbie Gould: 94
Brian Urlacher: 94
Jay Cutler: 87
Lance Briggs: 95
Tommie Harris: 92
Olin Kreutz: 87
Unfortunately for Cutler, the lowlights of this season's team include the entire wide receiver corps. Earl Bennett (72) is the team's highest-rated wide out, while Devin Hester (71), Rashied Davis (69), Juaquin Iglesias (69) and Johnny Knox (62) comprise the rest of the lackluster bunch. Worth noting is Hester's speed and return ability, which keep steady this season at 99 apiece despite a significant drop in actual return numbers last season.
In the underrated category, tight end Greg Olsen was only given an 82 and defensive end Adewale Ogunleye carries an 83 overall rating.
Pass defense for the Bears in real life remains a question mark for the team, and Madden 10 follows suit. Only one player in the team's secondary -- Charles Tillman -- is higher than 80 at 82. The safety spots are especially weak with Kevin Payne (76) as the best option for strong safety and Josh Bullocks (76) at free safety. Despite picking up some of Hester's slack last season as a return man, Danieal Manning carries only a 72 rating in the return department.
This marks the first year that Lance Briggs has carried a higher Madden rating going into the season than Brian Urlacher.
Pisa Tinoisamoa, who signed a one-year deal with the Bears last month, was not among those on the list. However, he's expected to be the frontrunner to start opposite Lance Briggs.
And finally, the Madden 10 team rankings for the NFC North:
Elsewhere around the NFC North, the Packers' Aaron Rodgers is one overall point behind Cutler at 86, while the first-overall draft choice of the Lions, Matthew Stafford, has an overall ranking of 79. The Vikings come in with running back Adrian Peterson at 97, a strong offensive line, but a No. 1 quarterback in Sage Rosenfels with a paltry 69 rating.