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Snaps, Pace, & Stats: The speed of the Conference Championship games

FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 10: Brandin Cooks #14 of the New England Patriots reacts before a preseason game with Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium on August 10, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Welcome to the Conference Championship edition of Snaps, Pace, & Stats, where we examine trends in snap totals and no-huddle usage. It is meant to be a 30,000-foot view of upcoming games, with the goal of identifying which matchups will – and which will not – be played on fertile fantasy soil.

2017 Snaps Per Game 2017 Rank Last Four Games
Jacksonville Jaguars (67.4) 1st New England Patriots (71.0)
Philadelphia Eagles (67.1) 3rd Minnesota Vikings (65.0)
New England Patriots (66.9) 4th Jacksonville Jaguars (64.8)
Minnesota Vikings (65.9) 7th Philadelphia Eagles (61.3)

Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots

Despite the presence of our highest-graded defense, Sunday’s opening game offers the better path to voluminous fantasy goodness. The Jaguars produced the league’s most plays during the 2017 season (67.4 per game) despite the eighth-highest run rate in neutral situations (one-score games). Much of the credit for their dominant possession statistics, which include the third-highest average time of possession (32:21), goes to a defense that forced the fourth-worst third-down conversion rate (33.6 percent) and second-most turnovers (33).

Our highest-graded offense is well-suited to counter, as the Patriots had the 10th-best third-down conversion rate (40.6 percent) and committed the second-fewest turnovers (12). Their 66.9-plays-per-game average ranked fourth-highest, and their seconds-per-snap pace was fifth-quickest despite operating in consistently positive game scripts. New England’s pace (24.7 seconds per snap) was significantly faster than their norm during a blowout of the Titans, in part due to their second-highest no-huddle rate of the season (15 percent). The Patriots ran a week-high 80 plays.

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