New York Jets games in 2011 were filled with turnovers – the Jets were tied for second in the NFL with 31 takeaways but also had the most giveaways in the league with 34. Turnovers are part of the sudden change aspect of the game. Unpredicted, games can turn at any time on a given play. Are turnovers truly unpredictable? Do the trends suggest that the Jets are in for an upswing when looking at the turnover story from the past few seasons?
Does a high turnover total for the New York Jets in 2011 – both forcing and committing turnovers – suggest that the team's win total will take an upturn in 2012? College football fans familiar with the work of Phil Steele know his theory on turnovers: teams with a double-digit positive difference usually win the same amount or less games than the year before and teams with a double-digit negative difference typically stay the same or see an upswing.
Three NFL teams had negative double-digit turnover totals (Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts, Pittsburgh Steelers) and only one team had a positive double-digit total (New England Patriots). The Jets aren't on the double-digit side either way. So where are we going with this?
Let's stretch the general principle out further. The same amount of forced turnovers with less turnovers committed typically means more wins. Can we realistically predict less turnovers committed by the Jets this year while forcing the same number?
Start on defense. In three seasons under Rex Ryan, the Jets have at least 30 turnovers each year. The Jets forced 31 in 2009, 30 in 2010 and 31 in 2011. That's unbelievably consistent and there's no reason to expect that to change. The Jets have upgraded their speed on defense and believe they will generate more pressure on opposing quarterbacks, plus the addition of LaRon Landry adds another playmaker to the secondary. That could cause an uptick in forced turnovers, but let's keep the expected number at 30.
Let's move to turnovers committed. Here's the last three seasons under Rex Ryan: