Welcome to the Week 4 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.
It is the rare week with no matchups between like-minded teams, aside from the Broncos and Jets – who just want the season to end. Week 4 is littered with fast teams playing slow teams, run-establishers against the pass-happy, as well as plenty of high point totals and more than one likely blowout. In addition to COVID-related uncertainty, this week’s contrast in offensive profiles complicates the search for play volume.
In matchups featuring an up-pace team against a slower-moving opponent, it helps to anticipate game script. If the slower team gets a lead, we know they’ll most likely drain clock. When the quicker team dictates the game, and they have a history of playing fast even with a lead, we can feel reasonably confident that both offenses will operate quickly.
Of course we’d prefer to target matchups between fast-paced offenses, but we’d also like the number of games at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. to be split more evenly. We eat what the schedule maker feeds us.
Up In Pace
New England Patriots at Kansas City Chiefs
Whether it’s Tom Brady or Cam Newton behind center, the Patriots remain a game-plan offense. They will undoubtedly try to slow things down in Kansas City, and stay run-based as long as the scoreboard allows. As touchdown-underdogs facing the best quarterback in the league, New England likely won’t have that luxury for long. We only need to reference their Week 2 game against Russell Wilson.