The Pace of Play Report: Week 15

by Neil Dutton · Analytics & Advanced Metrics

We’re back again for our weekly dive into the high-speed world of NFL offensive play calling. That’s right folks. It’s the Week 15 Pace of Play report. Which teams are speeding up? What teams are slowing down? Which matchups should we focus on this week, and which should we ignore? Let’s find out.

The Leaderboard

The Pace of Play Leaderboard Through Week 15

The Eagles (and Falcons) are Landing?

The thing that screams out the most about this week’s ranking is where the Philadelphia Eagles currently sit. The Eagles, the team boasting the best record in the NFL, are ranked No.27 after Week 15. This marks a prodigious drop for the Birds who were No. 12 a week ago. It’s tough to see what caused such a fall for the Birds, although it is noticeable that for the first time since Week 3 the Eagles have a pass-to-run ratio of at least 1.00. This makes their Week 16 match-up against the Dallas Cowboys look like a true clash of opposites given how fast the Cowboys are in comparison.

Another team that took their foot right off the gas in Week 15 was the Atlanta Falcons. Now I must stress that the Falcons were not exactly rushing to get plays off before last week. They were ranked No. 26 going into Week 15 with a pace of play mark of 1.984. Following an 18-21 reverse against the New Orleans Saints, this mark now reads 1.809, and they sit in last place. This team is truly a sight to behold on offense, and for none of the good reasons. They have the No. 2-lowest pass-to-run rate in the league and have run the No. 3-fewest plays of all 32 teams. We could perhaps forgive such a run-heavy approach if they leaned on one back above all others. But they don’t, employing a sickening RBBC that satisfies no one.

The Week Ahead

I’ve already touched on the Cowboys v Eagles game. This is a clash from which you may want the big names but may not want to get cute with peripheral pieces. The Arizona Cardinals take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a clash of two top-three teams in the pace of play. But both offenses look broken, especially the Cardinals who could be down to their third-string quarterback this week. This one will have a lot of plays, but probably not an awful lot of fantasy points.

Another game that we can probably avoid, especially if we like to see lots of plays, is the clash between the Falcons and the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens currently sit at No. 26, the highest they’ve been since Week 6. The Falcons, as I’ve already pointed out, take no joy from running offensive plays either. So if you like watching games with play clocks ticking toward triple zeroes, and Kenny Albert and Jonathan Vilma commenting that “Time is running out!”, then this is the game for you. But if you want fantasy points, I’d cast my gaze further afield.

Thanks for reading, and a very Merry Christmas to all who observe.