NFL success in ‘no turnover’ games

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers.

Houston Texans' Arian Foster fumbles while bei...

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How often have you heard an NFL head coach, when talking about an upcoming game, mention that his team needs to “limit the turnovers” and “protect the ball” to be successful in their upcoming game? Quite often, I bet.

So far this season there have been 81 occasions when a team played a game without a turnover. In those games, teams are 64-16-1, a .796 winning percentage. In fact, just last week seven of the league’s 32 teams had a turnover-free game: Carolina, Cincinnati, New York Giants, Baltimore, San Diego, Seattle and Tampa Bay. The Panthers, Bengals, Giants and Ravens each won their games, while the other three teams lost those turnover-free contests.

Fifteen teams this season are undefeated in games where they committed no turnovers. Houston and Baltimore top the list, each going 5-0 this season in games with no turnovers. Atlanta is 4-0, and the New York Giants and Pittsburgh are 3-0. In addition to the Texans and Ravens having played five games this season with no turnovers, four other teams are tied with these two teams for most games with zero miscues: San Francisco (4-1), New England (4-1), Tampa Bay (3-2) and Washington (3-2).

Oakland and St. Louis are the only teams this year that have not won a game when they had no turnovers. Each team is 0-1.

If we expand the parameters a little and look at how well teams have played in turnover-less games since 2000, we discover that NFL teams are 989-283-1 in games with no turnovers dating back to the start of the 2000 season. The Patriots top the list with 67 games played with no turnovers since 2000, while the Indianapolis Colts have the league’s best record in these games, going 37-2 (.949 winning percentage) in those games.

Following is a look at each teams record in games with no turnovers (from 2000 through Week 12 of this season):

Indianapolis 37-2 .949
New Orleans 36-3 .923
Baltimore 38-4 .905

Denver 34-4 .895
Pittsburgh 40-5 .889
New England 59-8 .881
Green Bay 41-6 .872
San Francisco 36-6-1 .849
New York Giants 38-8 .826
San Diego 38-8 .826
Carolina 31-7 .816
Arizona 17-4 .810
Cincinnati 29-7 .806

Tampa Bay 33-9 .786
Tennessee 32-9 .780
Atlanta 35-10 .778
New York Jets 41-12 .774
Seattle 32-10 .762
Jacksonville 36-12 .750
Chicago 24-8 .750
Dallas 26-9 .743
Miami 26-9 .743
St. Louis 18-7 .720
Minnesota 25-10 .714

Philadelphia 26-12 .684
Washington 26-12 .684
Buffalo 26-13 .667
Oakland 23-12 .657
Detroit 19-12 .613
Houston 21-14 .600
Cleveland 18-12 .600

Kansas City 28-19 .596

Note: The Atlanta Falcons have the longest current winning streak in games where they do not commit a turnover. The Falcons have won their last 17 straight turnover-less games, dating back to Sept. 28, 2008. Three others teams currently have double-digit winning streaks in turnover-less games: Baltimore (11 games), New York Giants (11 games) and Carolina (10 games).

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp


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