When the Patriots defense faces off against the Broncos offense on Sunday night, they’ll be facing a unit that runs the most plays per game in the NFL.
That’s a change from last year’s meeting between the two teams. The Patriots offense was the one running 89 offensive plays in that game, which ended as a 31-21 New England victory. The Broncos ran 66 plays, which was pretty much their average through the first 12 weeks of the season. They then stepped up the tempo and offensive coordinator Adam Gase said this week that watching the Patriots was a big inspiration for speeding things up.
“I know we were interested in it and we were kind of curious what they were doing,” Gase said, via the Denver Post. “It really didn’t get brought up until way later in the year. We were still kind of figuring who we were at that time. I think we did change a little bit as the season progressed.”
The Patriots are averaging 70 snaps a game this season, down about five snaps from last year but still good for fifth in the league, and they’ve dipped down to 66.7 per game over the last three weeks. It shouldn’t take much for them to ramp things back up on Sunday if need be, however, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see both teams pushing the envelope of pace.