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Halo 11-20-2009 12:24 PM

Don't worry about recent turnover troubles for Saints
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The 1983 Washington Redskins rolled through the regular season with an astronomical plus-43 turnover differential, by far the best in NFL history. They were plus-4 in two playoff games, advancing to the Super Bowl against the Los Angeles Raiders, who were minus-13 in the regular season and added five turnovers in a postseason victory over the Seattle Seahawks.

Yet, the Raiders beat the Redskins 38-9, returning a Joe Theismann interception for a touchdown in the first half and forcing three turnovers.

Inexplicable turnarounds like that one are the reason you should not be overly concerned about the Saints’ recent spate of 13 turnovers in four games.

While turnover differential is the single-most reflective stat of a team’s past performance, it is the least predictive of future results because of its volatility. Bad defenses usually stay bad without a change in personnel. Poor offenses rarely morph into point-scoring machines without an upgrade in talent.

Turnover totals change dramatically from week to week and year to year with little rational explanation. A team can kill itself with mistakes in one game and slaughter its opponent thanks to a slew of errors in the next.

Consider: Miami and Tennessee, which had the NFL’s best turnover ratios in 2008, were on the negative side after nine games this year.

Common sense dictates the turnover-prone New Orleans Saints should have lost at least two of their last four games, but this is an uncommon team. Times-Picayune columnist Jeff Duncan dug up a stat from the Elias Sports Bureau that New Orleans is the first franchise since the St. Louis Rams in 2003 to win four in a row while making 13 or more miscues.

Rugby Saint II 11-21-2009 11:05 PM

Re: Don't worry about recent turnover troubles for Saints
Most of the turnovers have come from Drew Brees and I think he will take better care of the ball. What he needs is better blocking on his blind side.

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