99 Stats Until Kickoff: (#18) How many takeaways guarantee a win in the NFL?

Fumble

(Photo credit: Keith Allison)

From May 30 and every day until September 5… the start of the 2013 NFL season… Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ will publish “99 Stats Until Kickoff” a daily dose of NFL stats that will get you ready for the 2013 NFL season.)

We’ve all heard a coach, player or even an announcer mention that getting takeaways can be an important part to a team’s success. The question, however, is how many takeaways does a team need to increase their likelihood of winning?

To get an answer to that “provocative” question, let’s look at regular season games this century. Specifically, what was the win-loss record of teams when they had no takeaways in a game, with one, two, three, or four or more in a game? Here’s the breakdown:

Takeaways in regular season games from 2000-2012

0 takeaways: 291-1023-1 (.222 winning pct.)
1 takeaway: 778-127-2 (.388 winning pct.)
2 takeaways: 886-713-1 (.554 winning pct.)
3 takeaways: 695-245-1 (.739 winning pct.)
4 or more takeaways: 659-101-1 (.867 winning pct.)

Let’s define it a little further: Teams that had two or more takeaways in a game from 2000-2012 were 2240-1059-3, a .679 winning percentage. Those numbers will get a team a spot in the playoffs in most seasons.

Staying with the theme of two or more takeaways in a game, the Chicago Bears had the most games with two-plus takeaways in a game this century with 121. They did not, however, have the best record in those games. That title belonged to the New England Patriots who were 103-14 (.880 winning percentage) in games where they had two or more takeaways.

Following are the records of each team when they had two-plus takeaways in a game.

Record in games with two-plus takeaways (2000-2012)
.880 New England
.822 Indianapolis
.807 Pittsburgh
.795 Green Bay
.783 Philadelphia
.776 Baltimore
.750 New Orleans
.748 Tennessee
.738 New York Giants
.725 New York Jets
.714 Atlanta
.711 Chicago
.709 Seattle
.707 Miami
.685 Houston
.683 Denver
.680 San Diego
.673 San Francisco
.673 Minnesota
.667 Buffalo
.653 Dallas
.643 Tampa Bay
.599 Cincinnati
.593 Oakland
.590 Carolina
.589 St. Louis
.588 Arizona
.571 Jacksonville
.556 Kansas City
.556 Washington
.489 Cleveland
.462 Detroit

If we look at the playoffs from the 2000-2012 seasons, the breakdown is as follows:

  • Two-plus takeaways in a playoff game: 97-39 .713 winning percentage
  • Three-plus takeaways in a playoff game: 65-12 .844 winning percentage
  • Four-plus takeaways in a playoff game: 40-1 .976 winning percentage

Follow Jerry on twitter @StatsonTapp

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