FanPost

Turnovers in 2013: expect Dallas to improve its differential by more than 20, and win several more games as a result


In Monte Kiffin's run as the Tampa Bay Defensive Coordinator from 1996-2008, the Bucs averaged 19 picks and 12 fumble recoveries each year. Also, Rod Marinelli's Bears had the most forced turnovers in the NFL last year (44).

Dallas, meanwhile, has not done so well. Here are our last 8 years of stats.

2012 - 7 picks, 9 fumble recoveries = 16

2011 - 15, 10 = 25

2010 - 20, 10 = 30

2009 - 11, 10 = 21

2008 - 8, 14 = 22

2007 - 19, 10 = 29

2006 - 17, 13 = 30

2005 - 15, 11 = 26

So you can see that in the last 8 seasons, Dallas has never had as many forced turnovers as Monte Kiffin's Bucs teams averaged over a 12 year period.

But, more significantly for 2013, last year the Cowboys had their WORST year of forcing turnovers in their last 8 seasons.

Thus, the Cowboys are likely to generate a LOT more turnovers in 2013 for at least two reasons:

1. Monte Kiffin and Rod Marinelli will be in charge of the Defense.

2. Regression to the mean suggests that Dallas will get more turnovers this year, because 16 was their LOWEST total in the last 8 years. (I didn't look back further, but I'd guess it was their lowest total in much longer.)

On the other side of the ball, it's also unlikely that Dallas will turn the ball over as much. Romo threw 19 picks last year. This was his highest total since 2007. In 2011 he had only 10 and in 2009 only 9. He's much more likely to be around these numbers again in 2013, especially since the running game will be better and he will have to make fewer throws.

On the fumbling side, Dallas has averaged about 10 fumbles a year since 2007, without much variation.

So, if Dallas could hit the Kiffin average on the plus side, and revert to about 20 turnovers on the minus side, we'd be at +11 in 2013 rather than -13.

A net 24 turnover swing, if the Cowboys could reach it, is going to be worth A LOT OF GAMES. I have to run right now, so I can't put up the links to fill out my argument, but suffice it to say that the teams that win the turnover differential in individual games win most of the time. And if the margin is +2 or more, they win almost all of the time.

With the talent Dallas has, I have thought we will win most games if the turnovers are even. That's borne out by being 8-8 last year but -13 in the turnover department. If we move into positive territory, I'd say LOOK OUT. The Cowboys could be looking at a very good year.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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