Playoff teams' turnover margins

October, 11, 2013
10/11/13
12:48
PM ET
HOUSTON -- That the Texans' turnover margin has been lacking has been well discussed.

Right now the Texans' turnover margin is negative-8. That is the combined result of nine interceptions and two fumbles on offense, while only forcing three turnovers total on defense.

"As a whole, we’re playing pretty solid," cornerback Kareem Jackson said. "That’s probably the only thing that we’re not doing a good job of right now, and that’s getting turnovers. Hopefully, like I said, once they start, they’ll come in bunches. We’ll just continue to do what we do. There’s definitely some plays we’re still leaving out there, some plays that we can make. Once they start coming, I hope they come in bunches."

But just how critical might this be when it comes to the Texans' playoff chances?

Thanks to Jason Vida of ESPN Stats and Info who looked into the numbers for me. Over the past 11 years only 27 of the 132 teams that made the playoffs have had negative turnover margins.

In only three of those seasons, teams have made the playoffs with negative double-digit turnover margins. In 2004 the St. Louis Rams made the playoffs with a negative-24 turnover margin.

All of the Super Bowl winners in that span have had positive turnover margins, several with positive double-digit margins.

Right now the Texans (2-3) don't find themselves in especially good company when it comes to their turnover margin. Of the three teams with worse turnover margins than the Texans, only one has a winning record -- the 3-2 New York Jets. And the other two teams -- the Steelers and Giants -- have yet to win a game.

With the Texans' offense struggling as it has, the Texans' defense, a unit that has played well for the most part this year and leads the NFL in yards allowed, has emphasized creating turnovers.

"We had three turnovers in the first three plays of practice of people making the effort to rip the balls out and punch the balls out, and go for fumbles and things like that, interceptions," Texans defensive end Antonio Smith said Thursday. "They’re going to come. Our DBs (defensive backs) intercept the ball all of the time in practice. We’ve just got to get those fumbles, those, what they call them, bang-bang plays, big plays to change the momentum."

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Tania Ganguli

ESPN Houston Texans reporter

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