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Broncos vs. Patriots: Turnovers paramount to outcome

The Broncos are focusing on ball security this week, which is a good thing considering how important the turnover differential has been for New England.

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Most of New England's success this season is tied to their ability to create turnovers. Consider this. In two losses (Kansas City and Miami), the Patriots are -5 in turnover differential. In six wins (Buffalo, Minnesota, Oakland, Jets, Chicago, Cincinnati). the Patriots are +16 in turnover differential. The Patriots have not turned the ball over in a game they have won so far.

Likewise, the Broncos have done well this season with no turnovers in five of their victories. Their lone loss to Seattle in OT was a -2 day while their blowout win against Arizona was also a -2 day. In fact since Manning has been here, the Broncos have been able to win multiple times while losing the turnover differential. The offense has been that efficient.

Last season in the Broncos lone trip to Foxboro, the Broncos raced out to a 24-0 halftime lead due in large part to 3-Patriot turnovers, one of which was a fumble Von Miller returned for a touchdown. In the 2nd half? Denver turned the ball over 3 times to let the Pats back into the game and a regulation tie. In overtime a final botched punt gave the Pats a chip shot field goal for the win.

In the AFC Championship Game neither team turned the ball over and the Broncos won by two scores.

Odds and ends

  • The Broncos rank 1st in the NFL with an average of 2.74 points per drive. The Patriots are 8th at 2.49.
  • The Broncos defense leads the league in forcing three and outs (31% of all drives). The Patriots force a three and out 20% of all drives.
  • The Broncos rank 1st in the NFL in Red Zone TD percentage scoring a TD on 82.6% of all opportunities, the Pats are 18th scoring a TD on 54.8% of all opportunities.