It’s really pretty simple. Winning the turnover battle puts you in a position to win a football game.
It’s also a formula the New York Giants ignored for the first six games of the 2013 season.
The Giants repeatedly shot themselves in the foot over the course of their first six games, turning the ball over a total of 23 times in that span. On top of that, they forced just seven turnovers. A turnover margin of that magnitude ends any and all mystery of how the Giants managed to lose six straight.
Eli Manning was the man behind the wheel as the Giants were quickly spiraling into oblivion. The two-time Super Bowl MVP threw 15 interceptions in the first six games, which is the same amount he threw all of last season.
And then, just when it seemed all was lost, the Giants found a pulse. Their schedule lightened up and their performance improved dramatically.
After their six losses to start the year, the Giants have now rattled off four straight wins. Over those wins, the Giants are plus-five in the turnover margin, recording 11 takeaways and surrendering only six. The only instance where New York has won a game and not the turnover battle was against the Oakland Raiders.
Not only has the offense been more careful with the football, but playmakers are re-emerging along the defensive unit.
Veteran safety Antrel Rolle has led the resurgence. Rolle was a mirage during New York’s losing streak, but his turnaround has been crucial for the Giants’ defense. In New York’s four wins (the last four games), Rolle has compiled three interceptions, two sacks and one forced fumble. And he’s not the only one who has been brought back from the dead.
Jason Pierre-Paul has put together a couple of very nice games recently. He recorded a sack against the Raiders before having to leave the game with a minor shoulder injury, and then he picked off a pass and returned it for a touchdown in Sunday’s win over Green Bay. If Pierre-Paul can continue to show glimpses of his All-Pro form, the Giants could be something special on defense.
On Sunday the Giants will face their toughest test since embarking on this winning streak. New York will host Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys in hopes of continuing their push for the playoffs.