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Inside the Numbers | Jets Leaned on TOs, Field Position to Topple Eagles

Green & White Rise to 3-3, Plus-5 Turnover Margin with Help from Huge 22.1-Yard Avg. Drive Start Margin


Turnovers have been nourishing for the Jets this season.

The Green & White's leading offensive and defensive indicators haven't been that impressive so far, but both units are doing great things with TOs. The defense is taking them away and the offense isn't giving them away.

The Jets' 13 takeaways are tied for second in the NFL with Buffalo and two behind leader Jacksonville. Their eight giveaways aren't as high on that list, tied for 14th.

But with nine TAs and three GAs the past three games against MVP-quality QBs and dangerous foes, the Jets have improved to a plus-5 TO margin for the season, tied for sixth in the league. That in itself is not eye-popping, but the last time they had a better turnover margin after six games was 2010. And the last time they had a better season margin after any game was their plus-6 at the end of the 2015 season.

Pulling three INTs out of Jalen Hurts and Philadelphia with a patchwork but still sturdy secondary has been the high point of this takeaway campaign. As Robert Saleh said after the 20-14 comeback: "Any given Sunday. Any given Sunday, man."

The D talked all offseason and into this season about their quest for more turnovers, and the offense is most appreciative.

"I just know they're going to get us the ball back, that's the biggest thing," RB Breece Hall said. "I always believe in those guys."

Saleh, like most NFL head coaches, prays at the turnover shrine. "I have said forever that turnovers and takeaways are the great indicators of wins and losses," he said last season.

Here's a familiar chart to underscore the theory that TOs lead to W's and L's. It's the Jets' all-time records for different game TO margins:

Table inside Article
TO Margin W-L-T Win Pct. TO Margin W-L-T Win Pct.
Plus-4/Higher 51-2-0 .962 Minus-4/Lower 0-63-1 .008
Plus-3 55-10-0 .846 Minus-3 5-67-3 .087
Plus-2 93-26-1 .779 Minus-2 18-99-1 .157
Plus-1 95-50-0 .655 Minus-1 49-127-1 .280

But turnovers aren't the only statistic that correlates crisply with victory. There are points, of course. But a stat that came into play against the Eagles was field position.

The INTs by Quinnen Williams, Bryce Hall and Tony Adams and the fumble recovery by Quincy Williams had much to do with the Jets' great field position. The offense started its drives after those takeaways on the Eagles 45, Jets 49, Jets 38 and Eagles 8.

As a result, the Jets' average drive start was their 43.6 while the Eagles' was their 21.5. The difference of plus-22.1 is their sixth-best game margin since drive starts have been methodically recorded the last 35 seasons. The Jets' top five average-drive-start-margin games since 1989:

Table inside Article
Year, Game Opponent ADS Margin TO Margin Final Score
2008, Gm 5 vs CIN plus-25.3 minus-2 Jets 26-14
1998, Gm 12 vs CAR plus-24.8 plus-1 Jets 48-21
2001, Gm 13 vs CIN plus-24.0 plus-3 Jets 15-14
2012, Gm 10 @ STL plus-23.8 plus-3 Jets 27-13
2003, Gm 5 vs BUF plus-23.6 plus-4 Jets 30-3

As for field position margin joining turnover margin as strong victory markers, consider that, since '89, in the 26 games in which the Jets have had a plus-15-yard drive start margin over their opponents, their record is 25-1. The only loss: In their 2010 season opener and MetLife Stadium debut, they fell to the Ravens on MNF, 10-9.

All food for thought during the bye week and on into the regular season's final 11 games. Turnovers can disappear quickly, but when the defense can bring in more and the offense can pass them up, great TO margins and field position and of course wins will follow.

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