Picking up the pace: Big offense expected this weekend
Welcome to the Conference Championship Round edition of Snaps, Pace & Stats, where we examine trends in snap totals and no-huddle usage. It is meant as 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.
The turf in Atlanta, and possibly New England, will sprout plenty of points this weekend, with an expected 110-point combined total for the two games, according to Vegas linesmakers. Three of the top four most efficient per-snap scoring offenses will be in action, plus Pittsburgh ranked sixth over their last four games. High play volume will not be a requirement for elevated point totals.
|2016 Snaps Per Game||NFL Rank||Last Four Games||NFL Rank|
|New England Patriots (66.0)||7th||New England Patriots (68.2)||5th|
|Green Bay Packers (64.3)||13th||Green Bay Packers (65.5)||11th|
|Pittsburgh Steelers (64.1)||14th||Atlanta Falcons (63.8)||13th|
|Atlanta Falcons (62.2)||26th||Pittsburgh Steelers (61.0)||22nd|
Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons
The Packers finished the year with the 13th-most plays per game. Not only are they the third-most-efficient offense on a point-per-snap basis (0.42), their games are increasingly more voluminous from a total plays perspective. Despite abandoning their up-tempo offense (more in No-huddle notes), Packers’ games rank third-highest for average combined plays during every team’s last four contests (131.8). After they lost Eddie Lacy, Green Bay handed off at the league’s sixth-lowest rate, which typically leads to higher offensive play totals. The Falcons allowed the seventh-most plays per game this season (66.2) and their biggest liability is perimeter pass coverage. Atlanta barely blitzes (20.3 percent; 30th), which is the one thing that’s slowed Aaron Rodgers the last two weeks (67.0 passer rating vs. blitz; 132.5 vs. none).