Best and Worst Teams by Turnovers and Big Plays

Two factors that indicate a team’s win/loss potential are the takeaways/giveaway differential and the big play differential. The takeaways/giveaways are the difference in turnovers between the ones the offense gives up and the ones the defense take. The big play differential are plays (pass or run) of 20+ yards between those achieved by the offense and those given up by the defense.  Below are the teams that are excelling (positive) in these categories and those doing poorly (negative). Beside the team is their win/loss record followed by their big play differential and  turnover differential. Positive numbers are better. Teams are listed in order starting with best and decreasing. Criteria for selection was a combination of positive or negative in both categories.

Update: I added the Net Line Of Scrimmage (LOS) per Drive (Dr). It is the Offensive average starting field position minus the Opponent (Defensive) average starting field position. Positive is better. This is another indicator or contributing factor for win/loss outcome.

Positive Teams

Los Angeles Rams (3 W , 0 L)

Big Play differential: +6

Turnover differential: +3

Net LOS/Dr: 7.10 (4th)

Brandin Cooks is one of only five wide receivers to have reached over 1,000 receiving yards in each of the last three seasons.  This year his catch percentage of 76% is fourth among wide receivers with 100+ yards per game. His 17.7 yards per reception is third among wide receivers with 100+ yards per game. He is one of only nine wide receivers averaging 100+ yards per game. Though only 5’10” and 183 pounds Cooks has played every game over the last three seasons. Brandin Cooks ran the fastest forty yard dash at the 2014 NFL Combine (4.33 seconds). Cooks has got seven plays of 20+ yards, the second most receiving 20+ yards in the league.

Washington Redskins (2 W , 1 L)

Big Play differential: +6

Turnover differential: +2

Net LOS/Dr: -2.35 (21st)

Seven time Pro-Bowler in his nine year career, Adrian Peterson is starting 2018 strong. He has 100+ all purpose yards in two of his three games.In his week three game he averaged 6.3 yards per carry for 120 yards.  He has three rushing touchdowns for the season which is tie for fourth in the league. Peterson is one of only six running backs that have had a rush of 40+ yards. 

Cleveland Browns (1 W , 1 L , 1 T)

Big Play differential: +3

Turnover differential: +9

Net LOS/Dr: 5.93 (5th)

Rookie Denzel Ward was the fourth pick in the 2018 draft and the first defensive player chosen. He opened his rookie season with two interceptions and three passes defended against the Steelers. In his third game against the Jets Ward allowed just two receptions for nine yards in coverage. He also ripped a ball away from Jets receiver Robby Anderson and recovered the fumble to help the Browns to their first win.

Miami Dolphins (3 W , 0 L)

Big Play differential: +1

Turnover differential: +4

Net LOS/Dr: 7.97 (1st)

After returning from a season ending ACL injury in the 2017 preseason Ryan Tannehill is now enjoying what is so far the best season of his seven season career. His completion percentage has been above 70% in each of his three games for an average of 73%, the fifth best in the league.  He has the fourth best passer rating at 121.8. Tannehill’s touchdown to interception ratio of 3.5 is tie for seventh best among quarterbacks with at least one touchdown. He is sixth in touchdowns with seven. In week three he had a 34 yard touchdown pass to Kenny Stills and a 36 yard pass down the sideline to DeVante Parker. he had a 155 passer rating, three touchdowns and zero interceptions in the third game.

Atlanta Falcons (1 W , 2 L)

Big Play differential: +1

Turnover differential: +1

Net LOS/Dr: 4.23 (8th)

Rookie Receiver Calvin Ridley was chosen 26th in round 1 of the 2018 NFL draft. He is tie for first among wide receiver for touchdowns with four. His 90.9% first down percentage on receptions is second among wide receivers with more than five receptions. Ridley was a top wide receiver in the forty (6th) and three cone (10th) at the Combine.  In week three he was targeted eight times and had seven receptions, 146 yards and three touchdowns.

Negative Teams

Minnesota Vikings (1 W , 1 L , 1T)

Big Play differential: -1

Turnover differential: -1

Net LOS/Dr: -4.96 (28th)

The offensive line has been identified as a potential weak link in a strong team. Their run game has averaged  3.5 yards per carry which is 29th in the league. In the passing game they have given up nine sacks which is 22nd in the league. Minnesota has nine big passing plays (15th) and zero big rushing plays (27th).

Pittsburgh Steelers (1W, 1L, 1T)

Big Play differential: -3

Turnover differential: -1

Net LOS/Dr: -5.93 (30th)

The Steelers lead the league in penalties with 37 and 361 penalty yards. The next closest team in number is Buffalo with 28 penalties. The next team in penalty yards is the Eagles with 266 yards.

Philadelphia Eagles (2W, 1L)

Big Play differential: -5

Turnover differential: -3

Net LOS/Dr: -9.34 (32nd)

The Eagles have just five passing plays of 20+ yards which is tie for 28th in the league. Their receiving corps has been hurt by injuries losing both Mack Hollins and Mike Wallace.  The Eagles have only two passing touchdowns thru three games which is tie with eight teams for least in the league.

Oakland Raiders (0W, 3L)

Big Play differential: -5

turnover differential: -4

Net LOS/Dr: -4.19 (27th)

The Raiders traded Khalil Mack and are now hurting to generate a pass rush. They have three sacks in three games which is the least in the league.  Opposing quarterbacks have a 105 passer rating which is 26th in the league. The Raiders have given up 15 passing plays of 20+ yards which is tie for 29th in the league.

Arizona Cardinals (0W, 3L)

Big Play differential: -7

Turnover differential: -3

Net LOS/Dr: -0.30 (15th)

Arizona has just six big passing plays (27th) and zero big rushing plays (27th). Their 23% third down conversion rate is last in the league. On passing plays 21% achieve first down (last) but 23% of their rushing plays achieve first down (17th).

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