One reason the Saints went from an 8-8 team in 2008, to the Super Bowl this Sunday is a key stat — turnover ratio.
New Orleans finished the regular season with a plus-11 turnover ratio which was third best in the NFL behind the Packers (plus-24) and the Eagles (plus-15).
The Lions owned the NFL’s worst turnover ratio at minus-19.
Creating takeaways was a focus of Saints’ practice every day all season long according to published reports. It was part of the game plan under new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. He was obsessed with takeaways and soon it was an obsession for the whole defense. They finished the season with 39 takeaways, compared to 22 in 2008.
In 2008, the Saints had the league’s top passing game, but the defense was lacking. Their turnover ratio was minus-4. The turnaround in that one category isn’t the only reason they’ll play in Sunday’s Super Bowl, but it is a factor.
The Lions need much more than just a better turnover ratio to get to the Super Bowl, but it would be a good start.