The Pace of Play Report: Week 8 – NFC South Warp Speed

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 8 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 2022 Pace of Play Leaderboard

Pedal to the Metal

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the new speed kings of the NFL. It’s been a steady climb for them in reaching a 2.250 pace of play mark. Back in Week 1, they were at 1.834, which was good for No. 27 among all NFL teams. Moving forward, this should be good news for all of their pass-catching weapons. The Buccaneers lead the NFL with a 2.17 pass-to-run ratio. Even with Leonard Fournette struggling to run the ball, his receiving role ensures he will remain fantasy viable.

Leonard Fournette Productivity and Advanced Receiving Stats 2022

Another NFC South squad that has gotten faster recently is the Carolina Panthers. They’re not melting faces as they rush to the line to snap off another play, so don’t get it twisted. But they jumped from No. 18 to No. 14 this past week with a 2.012 pace of play mark. All this being said, they were engaged in a nip-and-tuck affair with a seemingly closely matched opponent last week. When the Panthers lock horns with a superior squad, it will be interesting to see if they can keep their foot on the gas.

Throttling Down

The New Orleans Saints enjoyed a comfortable victory over the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 8. The leisurely nature of this win seems to have influenced their decision to take things a little easier this week. Their pace of play mark fell to 2.065 (No. 10) after sitting at 2.109 (No. 7 ) a week ago. The Saints have the No. 12-lowest pass-to-run ratio in the NFL this season. Matches in which they encounter favorable game scripts would suggest that we can bank on Alvin Kamara¬†and probably Chris Olave. But it’s tough to get excited about anyone else.

The Indianapolis Colts lost to the Washington Commanders in Week 8. They did so slowly with their pace of play falling to 2.030 from 2.067. It makes sense that the Colts would try to slow things down for their untested quarterback Sam Ehlinger. However, this offense was not exactly overflowing with fantasy goodness before. If we start taking things even slower than they were before, then any Colts players on your rosters become risky weekly propositions.

The Week Ahead

It’s not a great week for fans of fast-paced football fun. The Kirk Cousins Bowl between Washington and the Minnesota Vikings is an interesting clash between the No. 13 and No. 6 ranked teams in this metric. But we pretty much know who we want to play on both of these teams. So speculative adds / starts based on the upside of game pace are going to be hard to justify.

The Chicago Bears and Miami Dolphins clash isn’t likely to be one in which both teams race up to the line either. The Bears are currently ranked No. 28 in pace of play, while the Dolphins are a little better at No. 20. Chicago currently also sits dead last in pass-to-run ratio. There’s just not a lot here to get excited for outside of the usual suspects.

Go well, folks.