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Welcome to the Week 2 edition of Snaps & Pace, where we examine trends in play volume and game pace. It is meant to be a 30,000-foot view of upcoming contests, with the goal of identifying which matchups will — and which will not — be played on fertile fantasy soil. For a primer on why this is important, click here.

Week 1 felt like it lasted a month — an unfamiliar pace in which the annually invigorating kickoff weekend instead served up deflated scoring, disjointed offense, and devastating injuries. There were fewer touchdowns, less offensive play volume, and over bettors are already checking their couch cushions for change — as only four of 16 games topped their projected totals.

We did see twice as many teams as last year (12) go to the no-huddle at a greater than 15% rate. We know the Bills, Chiefs, Eagles, Vikings, and Bengals will rebound with improved health and cushier matchups. Plus, three-ring offenses from Indianapolis, New England, Los Angeles (Rams), Denver, and New Orleans showed a new year has dawned. It’s never as dark as it seems, unless you’re a Jets fan.

To paraphrase a noted optimist from the northeast …We’re on to Week 2.

As always, “situation neutral” is meant to provide context, refers to plays while the game is within seven points during the first three quarters (minus the final two minutes of the first half), and is derived via the intrepid RotoViz Pace Tool. The average play-clock seconds remaining are also based on neutral game script and are provided by our machine, Mike Leone.


Up In Pace


Kansas City Chiefs at Jacksonville Jaguars

The Chiefs’ offense played quickly to kick off the season, if not effectively. Their contest with the Lions resulted in 132 combined snaps — good for the seventh most of Week 1 — in large part due to the Super Bowl champs operating at the fifth-quickest situation-neutral pace. They also threw on a situation-neutral basis at a similarly high rate as when they led the league last year, and they registered the highest pass rate over expectation of Week 1. With Travis Kelce a solid bet to return, and Kadarius Toney likely leaving his frying-pan hands in Kansas City, we are staring at a more fantasy-friendly result. Chiefs games were once again consistently voluminous last season, while averaging the second-most total points. One uneven Opening Night performance should not alter our expectations in that regard.

Among the eight games in Sunday’s early window, only Jaguars-Colts went over its projected total and saw both offenses produce an above-average snaps tally. While Jacksonville wasn’t blazing, they did post the ninth-most play-clock seconds remaining, on average (10.7). Trevor Lawrence handed off more often than we’d like, as the Jaguars were 15th in situation-neutral pass rate after closing 2022 ranked seventh over the final seven weeks. We should see an uptick on Sunday against a Chiefs defense that typically faces relatively elevated pass rates and did again in Week 1, while registering the fourth-lowest PFF coverage grade. In two contests with Kansas City last year, Jacksonville turned in 63% (Week 10) and 66% (playoffs) situation-neutral pass rates. Their regular-season mark was 55%. As they should, the Jaguars will sink or swim with Lawrence in big spots.


Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans

It was exciting to see the Colts’ preseason pace carry over into a Week 1 matchup that met elevated expectations. On the week, Indianapolis was top 10 in offensive plays and average play-clock seconds remaining, while ranking first in situation-neutral pace. They were even second in no-huddle rate (23%). Not a bad start for a rookie quarterback with well-founded passing acumen questions. Until further notice, or at least until Jonathan Taylor returns to drag Indianapolis’ pass rate below mid-pack (58%; 16th), we’re going to ride Jim Irsay’s train. It will occasionally be rocky, but at least it’ll be fast.

The Texans’ offense also offers a bumpy ride — but it, too, will allow for elevated play volume if Week 1 was an indication. Houston’s coaches let rookie C.J. Stroud pass at the seventh-highest rate of the week during the 39 offensive plays that their game with the Ravens remained close (67%). While their 15% no-huddle rate was accrued mostly in garbage time, the Texans did average the eighth-most play-clock seconds remaining during neutral situations. Their 72 offensive snaps tied for fourth highest on the week. While it’s probable that a Ravens team that was pushing the pace helped to speed Houston up, they face another up-tempo outfit on Sunday. There are sexier main-slate matchups to choose from, but few have a sneakier play-volume ceiling.


Seattle Seahawks at Detroit Lions

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