This Saints ‘Stat Of The Week’ About Bill Belichick, Patriots Is Remarkable

'In Foxboro, the turnover numbers are going to be important'

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New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston has turned the ball over more than anyone else in the NFL over the course of his career.

His head coach knows ball security will be of paramount importance when the Saints visit the New England Patriots this Sunday.

In his Wednesday conference call with New Orleans reporters, Sean Payton shared an eye-popping stat about Bill Belichick’s Patriots teams.

“In Foxboro, the turnover numbers are going to be important,” Payton said, via a team-released transcript. “Under Bill since 2001 at home, they are 108-7 when they win the turnover battle at home. That’s your stat of the week.”

When coaches drop numbers like that in media interviews, you know they’ve been hammering those same stats into the minds of their players all week.

A slight correction: That 108-7 record actually dates back to 2000, Belichick’s first season with New England. Since 2001, the Patriots are 105-6 at home when winning the turnover battle, including playoffs — a winning percentage of .946 that’s tops in the NFL by a wide margin. The Baltimore Ravens are a distant second at .900.

That phenomenon isn’t wholly unique to the Patriots. Every NFL team has a winning percentage of .661 or better when winning the turnover battle at home since 2001, according to Radar360, and 24 of them are above .800. Data clearly shows teams that force more turnovers than they commit have much, much higher odds of winning.

The Patriots’ 2021 season has followed that pattern thus far: They had one takeaway and two giveaways in Week 1 — including a red-zone fumble late in the fourth quarter — and lost to the Miami Dolphins, then forced four turnovers with no giveaways in a comfortable win over the New York Jets.

The same has been true for the Saints. They won the turnover battle 2-0 in their Week 1 rout of the Green Bay Packers, then lost it 2-1 in a blowout loss to the Carolina Panthers.

Perhaps the most impressive stat, though, is this one: New England has a winning record at home since 2001 when losing the turnover battle. They’re 26-23 in those games. No other team is above .500. Twenty clubs are below .300, all the way down to the last-place Jacksonville Jaguars at 9-55 (.141).

Of course, the vast majority of those victories came with Tom Brady behind center. The Patriots’ fortunes now rest on rookie quarterback Mac Jones, who has yet to turn the ball over this season.

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