NFL Week 11 Mismatches: Divisional Opportunities For Vikings, Dolphins

Written By Brett Gibbons on November 17, 2021
NFL Week 11 Matchups

Individual matchups determine NFL games. It’s a league filled with mismatches and identifying those mismatches is key for successful betting. Below are a pair of NFL Week 11 matchups worth noting. They can help when betting player props, the spread, and point total.

This isn’t by any means an exhaustive list. At TheLines, we encourage bettors to identify their own mismatches using our array of tools. Search for the best prices on weekly player props by using our NFL Player Prop finder (below).

NFL Player Prop Finder

NFL Week 11 Matchups And Mismatches To Watch

Kirk Cousins vs. Packers in the red zone

Kirk Cousins is unbelievably efficient in the red zone this season. Adam Thielen, who was second the NFL in red zone touchdowns a season ago, leads all receivers in completion percentage when targeted inside the 20 (minimum 10 targets). Justin Jefferson leads the team with 15 red zone targets (ninth in the NFL) and even tight end Tyler Conklin gets in on the action.

Conversely, the Green Bay Packers have been atrocious keeping opposing teams out of the end zone once they reach the 20 yard line. Their 73.1% touchdown rate allowed is 29th, down with teams like Atlanta and Detroit. Granted, Green Bay has been terrific at keeping opponents outside the red zone this season, with only Denver and Carolina allowing fewer trips than the Packers.

So what is it that makes Cousins so effective around the goalline? Primarily, the effectiveness of Thielen, who’s made a living in the NFL as a route running technician. He runs a heavy amount of option routes particularly because he’s elite at identifying coverages and, simply, getting open. Thielen’s counterpart Jefferson is also a master route runner whose goalline production has only been helped along by playing with and learning from Thielen. There’s plenty of film breakdowns on why these two players are so good at what they do, so we’ll keep it concise here.

Rather than Cousins being the director of the red zone offense, he has plenty of open targets to throw to. Expect that to continue against the Packers should the Vikings get inside the red zone enough times.

Dolphins defense vs. Joe Flacco

Joe Flacco is a quarterback that’s struggled against the blitz from just about Day 1. During the crux of his career (2012-16), Flacco posted an average passer rating of 78.2 when blitzed. In his most recent action (2019), he recorded a passer rating of 74.9 when being blitzed. For a barometer, the best quarterbacks against the blitz in 2021– Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, and Kyler Murray– record 137.2, 148.1, and 153.8 ratings respectively.

This season, the Dolphins have blitzed the second most in the NFL (on 38.2% of snaps) and never moreso than last week against the Ravens. In that game, Miami dialed up more blitzes involving safeties than has ever been recorded at PFF. The result? Four sacks, two turnovers, 10 points allowed, and Lamar Jackson’s lowest-graded week by far, according to PFF.

The New York Jets‘ pass protection this year hasn’t been inspiring, with them sitting just outside the top 10 in highest pressure rate allowed (24.9%). However, they stand in the bottom third of the NFL in times blitzed against. That’s a product of trailing so steeply in most of their games that defenses pull the pressure late.

The Dolphins have generated nine sacks and forced six turnovers over their last two games. Conversely, the Jets lead the NFL in turnovers. Those woes won’t be solved this week.

Brett Gibbons Avatar
Written by
Brett Gibbons

Brett is an avid sports traveler and former Division-I football recruiter for Bowling Green and Texas State. He’s a graduate of BGSU and works as an auditor for Google content curation products. He’s also contributed to Sports Illustrated and Fansided during his young writing career.

View all posts by Brett Gibbons