Arizona Cardinals: Winning the turnover battle

ORCHARD PARK, NY – SEPTEMBER 25: Patrick Peterson

The Arizona Cardinals usually come out on top when winning the turnover battle

The Arizona Cardinals shared an interesting stat on Saturday about the Bruce Arians era.  They are 26-2 when winning the turnover battle against their opponents.

While it should come as little shock that any football team would have a dominating winning record when winning the turnover battle, still 26-2 is impressive.  Last season, the Cardinals ended up zero in the turnover ratio.

In 2016, the Cardinals offense turned the ball over 28 times (17 interceptions, 11 fumbles).  The defense created 28 turnovers of their opponents (14 interceptions, 14 fumbles).

The Cardinals were 5-1 last season when winning the turnover battle.  The one loss was in the season opener to the New England Patriots.  The Patriots had two turnovers while the Cardinals had none.

Of course we know a huge reason why the Cardinals lost was the missed Chandler Catanzaro kick that would have won the game 24-23.  Instead they lost 23-21.

They also won the turnover battle against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco 49ers, New York Jets, Washington Redskins, and Los Angeles Rams.  All five were victories.

The Cardinals lost the turnover battle last season seven times.  The only game in which they lost the turnover battle was at home against the 49ers.  They were even in turnovers with their opponents three times, going 1-1-1.

With the defense only creating 28 turnovers in 16 games, that’s just 1.75 turnovers per game. That won’t get them to the playoffs if they repeat that statistic in 2017.

Fewer interceptions certainly will help.  Quarterback Carson Palmer threw 14 and backup Drew Stanton threw three in relief.  While 14 doesn’t look that bad compared to the productivity of others and Palmer has thrown more in winning seasons, when the defense isn’t getting them back, it produces fewer wins.

The Cardinals also need to do a better job of protecting the football. Palmer needs to be aware more often not to hold the football too long when dropping back.  He fumbled the ball 14 times, losing just four of them last year but that spells trouble more times than not.