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Week 11 Havoc Mismatches

Earlier this week, we introduced the Havoc Rate. For those who missed it, Havoc Rate is a popular college football statistic that attempts to capture an offense’s ability to prevent negative plays and a defense’s ability to create negative plays. We have altered and expanded the traditional formula to include third- and fourth-down failures/stops. The formulas are as follows:

An offense wants to allow less havoc, so we have chosen to present their values as negative. The Packers, riding their strong offensive line, currently lead the league in Offensive Havoc Allowed at minus-26.92%. Conversely, a defense wants to create havoc. The Steelers, with league-leading pressure and turnover numbers, currently lead the league in Defensive Havoc Created at 60.35%. Finally, Net Havoc Rate combines the two measures to get an idea of how a team is performing on both sides of the ball:

Havoc Rate Leaderboards

The Offense and Defense leaderboards heading into Week 11 (as well as their rates expressed in standard deviations) are as follows:

Week 11

Using Havoc, what are the projected Week 11 mismatches? Here are the top five:

Havoc again puts the Steelers defensive matchup in the top spot. While the final score shows the Jaguars hung around with the Packers last week, we would not read too far into the score line. The weather and timely Green Bay turnovers masked an offense that struggled: 4.3 yards per play and -47.5% Offensive Havoc Allowed. Expect the Steelers defense to cause Jags rookie QB Jake Luton fits.

Two mismatches we want to focus on are the Miami Dolphins Defense and the New England Patriots Offense.

Miami Dolphins Defense vs Denver Broncos Offense

Riding a 5-game win streak, the Dolphins have launched themselves firmly into the playoff picture. While headlines focus on the play of Tua Tagovailoa, Brian Flores has this defense rolling. The Dolphins defense in those five wins:

Last week, Flores’ “amoeba” look stifled rookie Justin Herbert. Now the Miami defense faces a Denver Broncos offense that ranks 31st in Offensive Havoc Allowed. What is driving this mismatch?

Expect Drew Lock and the Broncos offense to struggle.

New England Patriots Offense vs Houston Texans Defense

With a surprising "Sunday Night Football" win, the Patriots kept their season alive. Two keys to last week’s success were avoiding havoc plays and running the ball effectively:

Damien Harris ran for a career-high 121 yards against the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens knew the Patriots wanted to run the football and still could not stop them (Patriots seventh in ESPN’s Run Block Win Rate). According to Next Gen Stats, Harris had nine carries for 60 yards with 8-plus defenders in the box.

An offense trending in the right direction (15th in Offensive Havoc Allowed) now faces one of the worst defenses in the NFL (32nd in Defensive Havoc Created). While the Texans only allowed 10 points last week, the severe wind and Nick Chubb going out of bounds on the 1-yard line masked Houston's inability to cause the Browns issues:

Expect the Patriots offense to have no issues against this Texans defense.