While those studies have focused exclusively on the college game, the NFL playoffs have greatly exposed one truth that applies to every level of the game: turnovers.
Take a look at the NFL's turnovers committed rankings, and the top of the list is a laundry list of 2012 playoff teams: Washington, San Francisco, Baltimore, Green Bay, New England, Houston and Seattle comprise the top seven spots on the list. The four playoff squads that did not make this list: Minnesota, Denver, Cincinnati and Indianapolis, all went one-and-done.
In the actual playoff games, teams that win the turnover battle are a perfect 7-0 in 10 games to this point:
- Green Bay 24, Minnesota 10. Packers win, 3-0.
- Seattle 24, Washington 14. Seahawks win, 2-1.
- Houston 19, Cincinnati 13.Tied, 1-1.
- Baltimore 24, Indianapolis 9.Tied, 2-2.
- San Francisco 45, Green Bay 31. 49ers win, 2-1.
- Atlanta 30, Seattle 28. Tied, 2-2.
- Baltimore 38, Denver 35 (2 OT). Ravens win, 3-1.
- New England 41, Houston 28. Patriots win, 1-0.
- San Francisco 28, Atlanta 24. 49ers win, 2-1.
- Baltimore 28, New England 13. Ravens win, 3-0.
Collectively, those seven winners own the turnover margin, 16-3. In keeping with the trend from the regular season, the 10 winners have lost a sum of only eight turnovers.
While forcing turnovers is great, being selfish with the football is a sure-fire way to keep your season alive.