The old adage in football is that the team that has the less turnovers wins the game. The percentages support that theory in a dramatic way. Every season you look at the top teams in the league, and they are all very high in the turnover ratio. I've had several people ask me how it's possible that the Saints lost to both the Browns and the Cardinals. It's pretty simple: turnovers. If you look at both games on paper, the offense moved the football and the defense had stops. Honestly, every ingredient was there for the Saints to handily win both games, if they would just take care of the football. If you look at the Saints' 7 games and how each fared, it really is that black and white.
Steelers vs Saints coverageIn 4 wins, the Saints have turned the ball over 3 times and forced 7. In 3 losses, the Saints have turned the ball over 11 times while causing only 2. Pretty dramatic difference, wouldn't you say? But that's exactly why, in a league that's so competitive where every Sunday any team is capable of making a surprise upset, you have to play smart. The Saints don't have to get 4-5 turnovers to win games. As we saw early last year, when they get that many, it leads to blowouts. But more important than getting the exciting pick six is just to take care of the football. It's really that simple. Through 7 games, the Saints have turned it over 14 times. That's 2 turnovers, on average, per game. That is entirely too much and most of that is on Drew Brees. The good news is I don't think there's anyone out there more capable than him of correcting his mistakes.
So there you have it. I don't agree that PIerre Thomas or Reggie Bush being out are the major reasons for the Saints' woes. In fact, I don't think that is even close to as much of a factor than Brees just taking care of the football. It really is that simple. The Saints are so good offensively and defensively (and even on special teams when Garrett Hartley isn't shanking field goals), that they will win 90% of their games if they avoid turnovers. Of course that's easier said than done, but I've always been a firm believer that in the NFL where talent is spread out amongst teams so evenly, winning and losing really is that simple. Case and point, Colt McCoy threw for 74 yards, but he didn't have one single turnover. Guess who was the winning quarterback in that game?
So how many turnovers do you expect the Saints to have against the Steelers? If it's one or less, mark my words, they will win. If it's two or more, they will lose. Let me know what you expect Sunday night, and Happy Halloween!