FanPost

Can the 49'ers Maintain their Turnover Differential in 2012?

You will likely recall that in 2011, the 49’ers:

- Had the fewest giveaways (10) in the NFL;

- Lost the fewest fumbles (5) of any NFL team;

- 49ers tied a NFL record for fewest interceptions in a season with 5.

- No team had more takeaways (38), giving the 49’ers a league-best +28 turnover differential,

- The 49ers led the league in forced fumbles (31) and fumbles recovered (15).

- 49ers had 23 interceptions for 2nd most in the league.


Can the 49’ers maintain their Turn Over Differential in 2012? Particularly if you assume (as I do) that the offense is going to open up more given the recent roster additions.

This was one of the more noteworthy statistics from the 49’ers last season and worthy of a little discussion.

Scott Kacsma at coldhardfootballfact.com had an interesting post several months ago regarding turnover differential. Kacsma looked at the teams that led the League in the fewest turnovers in a season and how they did the following season.

Next Year's Results in Turnovers

Team

Year

Record

TOs

Year N+1

Record

TOs

Diff.

NY Giants

2008

12-4

13

2009

8-8

31

18

NY Jets

2004

10-6

16

2005

4-12

34

18

Miami

2008

11-5

13

2009

7-9

29

16

Jacksonville

2002

6-10

15

2003

5-11

31

16

Kansas City

2010

10-6

14

2011

7-9

28

14

Denver

2005

13-3

16

2006

9-7

30

14

NY Giants

1990

13-3

14

1991

8-8

23

9

San Diego

2006

14-2

15

2007

11-5

24

9

Dallas

1998

10-6

15

1999

8-8

23

8

New England

2010

14-2

10

2011

13-3

17

7

New England

2007

16-0

15

2008

11-5

21

6

Green Bay

2009

11-5

16

2010

10-6

22

6

Kansas City

2002

8-8

15

2003

13-3

18

3


All 13 teams of course saw their turnovers increase the following season, and by an average increase of 11.1 turnovers. This would indicate 20-21 turnovers for the 49’ers in the upcoming season. If we subtract this from the 2011 Takeaways (38), we have a turnover differential of 18 versus a differential of 28 in 2011. While a significant drop from 2011, it surprisingly would have placed the 49’ers only behind Green Bay and well ahead of Detroit (18).

A problem with this analysis is that it assumes that Alex Smith will throw a career low number of interceptions in 2012, repeating his 2011 performance. If Alex throws 15-16 interceptions (close to what Eli Manning and Brees threw in 2011) the Turnover Differential drops to around 8 – still equivalent to the 4th highest differential in 2011.


What’s your view?

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This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors.

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