NFL 2017: Turnovers Are Key To Victory
NFL 2017: Turnovers Are Key To Victory

What is one of the keys to success in the NFL? Winning the turnover battle certainly ranks high on the list.

"That's ultimately the difference in the games," according to Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews about the importance of turnovers. "You look at the percentages of the games in which you're able to get takeaways, it favors heavily in the win column."

Last season, five of the top six teams in Net Turnover Differential -- Kansas City (+16), Oakland (+16), New England (+12), Atlanta (+11), Green Bay (+8) -- made the playoffs and combined for a 59-21 record (.738).


Teams With Best Net Turnover Differential

Team Takeaways Giveaways Differential Record
*Playoff Team (Source: NFL)
Kansas City*3317+1612-4
New England*2311+1214-2
Green Bay*2517+810-6


Falcons head coach Dan Quinn has made turnover differential one of the key components of his team philosophy.

"I love using turnover margin because it's a team stat," says Quinn. "Now, you can say it's just offensive-related or just defensive-related, but it's not. It's the way the defense goes after the ball, but it's also the attitude the offense has, to take care of it. We're much clearer to that vision now than we've ever been."

Last year, the AFC champion Patriots (+12) and NFC champion Falcons (+11) had the third-highest combined turnover differential of any of the previous 10 Super Bowl participating teams.

"For us to be way in the plus in turnover margin -- along with New England as well -- I think that's one of the real factors in our season that we don't talk about a lot," said Quinn. "It didn't happen overnight. This attitude to take care of it and go after it, it came from every day at practice, going for it, battling for it. That's been the biggest difference for us."


Turnover Differential of Super Bowl Teams (Since 2008)

Season AFC Team NFC Team Super Bowl Differential
*Won Super Bowl (Source: NFL)
2010Pittsburgh (+17)Green Bay* (+10)XLV+27
2011New England (+17)New York Giants* (+7)XLVI+24
2016New England* (+12)Atlanta (+11)LI+23
2014New England* (+12)Seattle (+10)XLIX+22
2013Denver (0)Seattle* (+20)XLVIII+20
2012Baltimore* (+9)San Francisco (+9)XLVII+18
2015Denver* (-4)Carolina (+20)50+16
2009Indianapolis (+2)New Orleans* (+11)XLIV+13
2007New England (+16)New York Giants* (-9)XLII+7
2008Pittsburgh* (+4)Arizona (0)XLIII+4

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