I would say there are definite differences, though maybe it's because I'm playing the 360 version. The gameplay is MUCH more similar to Madden than it was in the past.
I like the general changes...changing the view and gameplay to make it more similar to Madden is a plus, and making the pass defense more reallistic is a plus (it does make it a bit easier which is bad, but at least we don't have linebackers hearing you click the button on your controller and turning and running upfield, seeing the ball through the eyes in the back of their helmet and jumping 12 feet in the air while rotating their arm 360 degrees to swat down a ball that was intended for a guy 25 yards further downfield than him).
However, ONCE AGAIN with this series there are just some mind numbing, head scratching things that make you wonder if they actually have people test these games and if they do, how they're not all fired by now.
The big one is the way they show different camera shots in between plays instead of showing the players walk up to the line and line up. We know you guys want to show off all the work you put into the stadiums but it got boring seeing the camera pan all around the stadium inbetween plays after about the 3rd time. This isn't really a problem in one player games because you can press A to skip it, but online only the offensive team can press A. So we already have serious abuse of it online as following. Offensive team picks play, camera pans around stadium, to close-ups of players, etc. In the meantime the defense cannot make any adjustments at the LoS, no coverage audibles, no audibles, no line shifts, nothing. Then, offensive player presses A and magically we're taken to a view of everybody lined up (we still haven't seen their formation until just now) and is able to snap it within one second of doing this. It was so blatantly obvious that this was going to be abused it just makes me scratch my head how they could be so idiotic as to overlook it.
Next up (and this may just be me being too lazy to read the instruction booklet)....WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO HOT ROUTES PEOPLE???
Also, they jacked the "practice" mode from Madden but did a horridly half-assed job with it. Seriously, how long would it have taken a program to add the random play selection feature to it? A few hours in the span of a game that's been in development well over a year? Get your heads out of your @$$es quality assurance people.
Other than that, it's pretty good. Mini-games are fun, but you can't play them on line. Why....the....hell....not?