Takeaways vs. giveaways. Turnover margin. The old plus-minus. It’s been a touchstone for football coaches for a while in explaining why a given opponent is so dangerous or how their own teams managed to lose particular win-worthy games.
Rex Ryan brought the subject up this past week when he was delving into why the Baltimore Ravens are such a tough out. He mentioned about how strong the Birds’ front seven is in stopping the run and getting after the QB.
“It’s not going to be easy, that’s for sure. This is a team that, over the years, when they win the turnover battle, they generally win, like, 45 out of 47 times since 2003. I’m just throwing a number out there,” Ryan said with a smile. “We have to do a great job of protecting the football.
That figure didn’t include postseason games. With the playoffs thrown in, Baltimore since ’03 has won 48 of 51 games (.941 winning percentage) in which it had at least a plus-1 turnover differential. Since ’04 the record is 39-2 (.951). Since ’05 it’s 32-1 (.970), with the only loss coming last season at home when the Ravens took a 15-14 fourth-quarter lead on Indianapolis, only to lose to the Colts, 17-15. That’s how close that mark is to being perfect over the past five years.
You can see where I’m going with this.
Ryan didn’t mention it, either out of modesty or because he wanted us all to connect the dots on our own. But his coaching was a major contributor to the Ravens’ record in plus turnover games from ’03, when he became the D-line coach, through ’08, his fourth season as D-coordinator.
Then add in his first year as the Jets’ head coach. Of the 19 games the Green & White played last season, they had a plus turnover margin in 10 of them. They won all 10.
So let’s use the ’05 opening day as the jumping-off point. Since then, the Ravens are the aforementioned 32-1 in plus games.
Ryan’s teams are 34-0.
The lesson: Don’t give a turnover to Rex or to the Ravens. Each may take a victory along with it.
The NFL’s TO Record
The league, heading into today’s 13-game Kickoff Weekend slate, isn’t quite as good as Rex or the Ravens when it comes to winning plus games, but the record illustrates the wisdom of taking care of the ball.
Since 2003, including playoffs, NFL teams that register at least a plus-1 takeaway margin won nearly 80 percent of their games (1,161-296-1, .797). The rule of thumb is that roughly a team that goes plus-1 will win 70 percent of the time, plus-2, 80 percent, plus-3, 90 percent, and plus-4-plus, nearly 100 percent.
Opening Night Reminders
Two points we wanted to stress again for fans planning on attending Monday night’s opener. Everyone’s heard Green Day will be performing at halftime, but you also don’t want to miss the concerts on the New Meadowlands Stadium plaza before the game.
From 5:30-6:30 p.m. outside the Jets Shop Flagship Store powered by Reebok, be sure to take in Slash, former lead guitarist of Guns N’ Roses, performing alongside lead singer Myles Kennedy and special guests Nicole Scherzinger, lead singer of the Pussycat Dolls and “Dancing with the Stars” champion, and Jason Bonham.
And for the folks at home near the Meadowlands as well as the thousands in the NMS stands right before kickoff, be advised that the U.S. Air Force is supporting the Jets’ pregame activities with a B-2 Spirit Stealth bomber flyover. The mission will be supported by Air Force Global Strike Command’s 509th Bomb Wing, flying out of Whiteman AFB in Missouri.
The aircraft is scheduled to be directly over the stadium at 7:08 p.m., which means it will be directly over the ceremonial full-field American flag unfurled by members of all five uniformed services.
Tags: Rex Ryan, turnover margin
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