Predicting Round 3 of 'Madden' Cover Vote

Arian Foster has been a surprising force in the first two rounds of the "Madden NFL 25" cover vote. Courtesy of EA Sports

Back in the day, Barry Sanders played football as though he was a human video game. So it should come as little surprise that heading into Round 3 of the “Madden NFL 25” cover vote, Sanders has emerged as the front-runner to win it all. Facing Marcus Allen in Round 2, Barry pulverized his fellow Hall of Fame back, collecting a staggering 92 percent of the clicks, while proving that his win in the EA Sports “NCAA Football 13” cover vote was no fluke.

Then again, as we get into Round 3, each bracket is going to be tougher and tougher to predict, as only the true juggernauts have survived. Now we get down to names such as Dan Marino, Joe Montana, Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice battling it out for Old School bragging rights, while the New School is led by Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, and the overall leader in New School votes to date, Adrian Peterson.

Will we see an Adrian Peterson versus Barry Sanders final, or will the San Francisco faithful continue to push both Montana and Colin Kaepernick into the championship round? With the vote totals reset heading into Round 3, it’s anybody’s guess at this point, but here are my predictions (which so far have been correct at a clip of 43-5).

Old-school bracket

(1) Joe Montana vs. (4) Dan Marino

Marino finally gets his shot at revenge after Super Bowl XIX. Dan couldn’t win the big one then, and I don’t think he does it here, either, even if his fans came out in surprising numbers in Round 2 to take down Marshall Faulk.

Winner: Joe Montana

(3) Barry Sanders vs. (2) Ray Lewis

Looking at the voting statistics, Barry Sanders has been collecting an overwhelming number of votes through the first two rounds, while Lewis struggled to take down LaDainian Tomlinson. I say Barry sidesteps Ray’s hit stick and moves on to Round 3.

Winner: Barry Sanders

(1) Jerry Rice vs. (5) Michael Strahan

Jerry Rice went from the play-in round, to a No. 1 seed, to two weeks of voting domination. Looks like another easy win for the G.O.A.T.

Winner: Jerry Rice

(3) Troy Aikman vs. (2) Deion Sanders

Former teammates collide, but Deion has been consistently killing it in the vote so far, while Aikman struggled a bit against Tim Brown. What can I say, I once bought a copy of “Must Be the Money,” so you know who I’m going with.

Winner: Deion Sanders

New-school bracket

(1) Colin Kaepernick vs. (4) Arian Foster

When the vote was announced, I couldn’t believe Foster was the choice over J.J. Watt, but Foster’s voting numbers have been extremely impressive, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he pulled off the upset here. Then again, 49ers fans seem to be stacking the vote in order to see Rice, Montana, and Kaepernick in the final four.

Winner: Colin Kaepernick

(3) Russell Wilson vs. (2) Andrew Luck

The Seahawks are all the rage right now, and Russell Wilson is poised to lead what looks like will be the most played team in “Madden 25” (defense, running, and a deep threat … oh my!). It would be fitting to see him on the cover.

Winner: Russell Wilson

(1) Robert Griffin III vs. (5) Ray Rice

Does RG III really need to deal with the Madden curse as he tries to rehab his knee? I wish the fans would pity the poor kid and vote him out before his knee explodes during a workout. Unfortunately, I just don’t see him losing any time soon. Sorry, RG-knee.

Winner: Robert Griffin III

(3) Rob Gronkowski vs. (2) Adrian Peterson

Peterson’s comeback last year was something straight out of “Madden” -- you know, when you hit the power button immediately after your star gets injured so you can start the game from scratch and continue to play with him during your season as though the injury never happened. I’m not the only one who does this, right? Only difference is, when Peterson came back, it was like someone gave him a cheat code to get even stronger.

Winner: Adrian Peterson