Welcome to the Week 10 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.
This is an odd week from a pace predicting perspective. There are no games on the main slate where both offenses are pass-heavy, up-tempo outfits. There are, however, several matchups where one side will be elevating – or dragging down – the pace of their opponent. Figuring out which will occur is both an inexact science and potentially lucrative. Let’s dive in.
Up in pace
|Rank||Week 9 Snaps||2018 Snaps/Game||Opponent Wk 9 Snaps||2018 Opp Snaps/Gm|
|1||Buffalo (81)||Baltimore (71)||Chicago (81)||Cleveland (72.2)|
|2||Pittsburgh (76)||Cleveland (70.2)||Baltimore (76)||Cincinnati (71.3)|
|3||Seattle (75)||Indianapolis (69.3)||L.A. Chargers (75)||Arizona (69.1)|
|4||Cleveland (70)||Tampa Bay (68.5)||Kansas City (70)||Kansas City (69)|
|5||DET / NO (70)||Pittsburgh (68.1)||LAR / MIN (70)||New England (66.4)|
Washington is taking on water, as their grand brainstorm of playing passable defense and riding a 33-year-old workhorse back to razor-thin victory margins has shockingly been upended. Injuries aren’t predictable, but a fragile plan eventually breaking is inevitable. Already missing their best lineman, left tackle Trent Williams, Washington lost both guards and have been scraping free agent barrel bottoms since Sunday. Their league-high 51.5% run rate is on shaky ground. They won’t be able to play keep-away as effectively, and their 61.5 plays per game allowed (eighth-lowest) will surely rise. Washington operated at the 10th-slowest pace, but just turned in their most up-tempo outing of the year while trailing the Falcons throughout. It’s most likely a sign of what’s to come.
The Bucs are the perfect opponent to welcome Washington to a higher pace. They have a comically bad defense, but their fourth-worst-graded pass coverage is more hysterical (and inviting) than a middling run defense. Tampa Bay throws at the 11th-highest situation-neutral rate. Their games average the seventh-most combined snaps (131.4) – a mark that’s jumped to a league-high 136.8 over the last month. During that time, only the Giants and Bengals operate at a quicker seconds-per-snap pace. Washington won’t completely abandon their grind-it-out plan simply because their offensive line was run through the wood chipper, but with Jamison Crowder and Chris Thompson back soon, shifting to a more pass-centric approach is probably for the best. Whether Washington likes it or not, it’s more likely that the Bucs juice their pace than are dragged down by it.