NFL Teams That Win Turnover Battle Have 72-17 Record

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Oct 29, 2013



OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS: TURNOVERS ARE KEY TO VICTORY

 

Winning the turnover battle is one of the keys to success in the National Football League.

 

“It’s all about the number of possessions,” says NFL Network analyst and former head coach STEVE MARIUCCI about the importance of turnovers. “It’s about possession time, clock time and the number of chances to score points. If you give the ball away three times a game, that’s three opportunities out of 12 or 13 that you don’t have a chance to score. Plus, you’re providing the other team with a short field. It’s quite evident that if you lose the turnover battle, then you lose a very high percentage of those games.”

 

Statistics show that in the NFL, teams with positive turnover ratios have a significantly higher probability of winning. Over the past five full seasons, clubs with more takeaways than giveaways have a combined 810-220-2 (.786) record.

 

A breakdown of teams’ records within varying degrees of turnover ratio and the total for clubs with a positive differential:

 

SEASON

+1

+2

+3 OR MORE

TOTAL

WIN PCT.

2008

66-28

46-12

44-8-1

156-48-1

.763

2009

64-31

49-14

51-2

164-47

.777

2010

66-27

49-10

57-3

172-40

.811

2011

63-33

56-9

37-1

156-43

.784

2012

64-30-1

43-9

55-3

162-42-1

.793

TOTAL

323-149-1

243-54

244-17-1

810-220-2

.786

 

The trend has continued this season as teams with a positive turnover differential have a 72-17 (.809) record.

 

SEASON

+1

+2

+3 OR MORE

TOTAL

WIN PCT.

2013

29-11

26-5

17-1

72-17

.809

 

“Turnovers play a big role in football,” says former NFL head coach DICK VERMEIL. “When I was coaching, turnovers were something I would emphasize, emphasize some more, and then keep emphasizing. On the field, in the meeting room, in training camp, in minicamp. All the time. We always stressed the importance of ball security and taking the ball away.

 

“I used to put up charts detailing the numbers every week. When you stress the importance of turnovers, the players understand. I used to hear players on the sidelines saying ‘Hey, we’re +1.’ They knew exactly what the turnover differential was. And they knew their chances of winning the game were better.”

 

This season, the Kansas City Chiefs have used a league-best +12 turnover differential (20 takeaways, eight giveaways) to help build an NFL-best 8-0 record.

 

“Turnovers can be demoralizing to the opposing team, especially when points are scored as a result of them,” says Chiefs head coach ANDY REID. “It can be a real momentum swing during the course of the game.”

 

Last year, five of the seven teams with a turnover differential of at least +10 – New England (+25), Washington (+17), Seattle (+13), Atlanta (+13) and Houston (+12) – made the playoffs and combined for a 58-22 record (.725). 

 

Those seven teams all finished with a winning record and combined for a 77-35 (.688) mark.

 

The seven teams with a +10 or better turnover differential in 2012:

 

TEAM

TAKEAWAYS

GIVEAWAYS

DIFFERENTIAL

RECORD

New England*

41

16

+25

12-4

Chicago

44

24

+20

10-6

Washington*

31

14

+17

10-6

New York Giants

35

21

+14

9-7

Seattle*

31

18

+13

11-5

Atlanta*

31

18

+13

13-3

Houston*

29

17

+12

12-4

 

 

 

TOTAL

77-35 (.688)

                                                *Qualified for playoffs

 

“You win games when you force turnovers on defense,” says St. Louis Rams head coach JEFF FISHER. “You never get tired of preaching turnovers, that’s one of the key factors in wins and losses.”

 

This season, the top five teams in turnover differential have combined for a 40-13 (.755) record.

 

TEAM

TAKEAWAYS

GIVEAWAYS

DIFFERENTIAL

RECORD

Kansas City

20

8

+12

8-0

Dallas

19

10

+9

4-4

Seattle

21

12

+9

7-1

New Orleans

15

7

+8

6-1

Indianapolis

13

6

+7

5-2

New England

16

9

+7

6-2

Chicago

18

11

+7

4-3

 

 

 

TOTAL

40-13 (.755)

 

“Forcing a turnover is an impact play,” says Carolina Panthers head coach RON RIVERA. “It gets your offense back on the field and it swings momentum.”


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