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Ray Rice Advances In Madden NFL 13 Cover Vote

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Madden NFL 13 Cover Vote Bracket
Madden NFL 13 Cover Vote Bracket

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice continued his surprising run in the fan voting to be on the next cover of Madden NFL 13. Rice, who was the #5 seed advances to the "Elite Eight" by defeating 4th seeded New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees. It doesn't get any easier for Rice, as next up for him is Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, one of the pre-voting favorites to win this competition.

Last year, Rice was defeated in the opening round of voting by eventual winner, Cleveland Browns RB Peyton Hillis. At the time, Rice had no interest in winning the fan's vote, even asking for fans not to vote for him, perhaps as a sign of respect for what has been called, "The Madden Curse," which has been known to strike the cover winner with some sort of devastating injury (Note: Hillis only played in 10 games in 2011 due to injuries).

Now Rice wants to be on the cover and wants fans to vote for him to keep advancing. However, Rice faces stiff competition should he continue to advance, as the other players still in the "tournament" include voting favorite Cam Newton, Rob Gronkowski, Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson, Victor Cruz and Patrick Willis.

(For more info on the Madden NFL 13 Cover Vote, click on the 'Jump')

April 4, 2012 – Fans have come out in force to support their favorite Madden NFL 13 cover athlete candidates, casting 16 million votes to date. This year’s vote tally has already eclipsed last year’s 13 million votes, with three rounds still to go. Voting continues at ESPN.com/MaddenVote through April 25 when the next Madden NFL 13 cover athlete will be announced on ESPN’s SportsNation at 5 p.m. ET.

ROUND 3 BREAKDOWN OF MADDEN NFL 13 COVER VOTE CAMPAIGN

§ Cam Newton vs. Larry Fitzgerald

§ Patrick Willis vs. Victor Cruz

§ Aaron Rodgers vs. Ray Rice

§ Calvin Johnson vs. Rob Gronkowski

Second round voting highlights include:

§ Upset of the Week

§ No. 6 seed Calvin Johnson (WR, Detroit Lions) over No. 3 seed Arian Foster (RB, Houston Texans)

§ Largest Voting Differential

§ No. 1 seed Cam Newton (QB, Carolina Panthers) over No. 8 seed Antonio Gates (WR, San Diego Chargers)

§ No. 2 seed Rob Gronkowski (TE, New England Patriots) over No. 7 seed Jared Allen (DE, Minnesota Vikings)

§ Closest Matchups

§ No. 5 seed Ray Rice (RB, Baltimore Ravens) over No. 4 seed Drew Brees (QB, New Orleans Saints)

§ No. 4 seed Larry Fitzgerald over No. 5 seed LeSean McCoy

Round 3 voting is now open and fans can make their selections exclusively atwww.ESPN.com/MaddenVote to determine which of the eight NFL players advance to the next round of the Madden NFL 13 cover athlete voting campaign. Every Wednesday throughout the campaign, fans can tune in to SportsNation at 5 p.m. ET for analysis and commentary on the competition.

Fans can visit the Madden NFL Facebook page (www.facebook.com/EASPORTSMaddenNFL) orSportsNation page (www.facebook.com/SportsNation) to join discussions surrounding the Cover Vote. Fans are also encouraged to tweet their Cover Vote picks using the hashtag #MyMaddenCoverVote on Twitter.