MICHAEL EISEN: I will answer this with a brief history lesson. In 2007, the Giants finished 14th in the 16-team NFC with a minus-9 turnover differential, which was the worst figure in Tom Coughlin’s 17 years as an NFL head coach. That Giants team won Super Bowl XLII. So if the Giants lose the turnover battle, they can not only make the playoffs, they can bring home the Lombardi Trophy. But Coughlin would prefer a figure like plus-7, which the Giants owned in their Super Bowl XLVI-winning season or plus-14, which they were in 2012.
JOHN SCHMEELK: No. Teams that finish in the negative area of the all-important +/- stat have a very difficult time making the playoffs. It takes a lot of talent to make up for finishing with more turnovers than takeaways. The NFC East is too evenly matched talent wise to compensate. I don't have the exact numbers, but teams that win the turnover battle win more than 80% of their games most years.
DAN SALOMONE: Sure. Minnesota, Denver, and Indianapolis each did so last season. It’s by no means ideal and won’t get you deep into the playoffs, but it’s possible to just make the tournament. The Giants had an outstanding 2012 in this department, forcing 35 turnovers and having a plus-14 differential, but they fell short of the postseason. You’d rather have a smothering defense than an opportunistic one. You can control the former.
20 QUESTIONS IN 20 DAYS ARCHIVE
Question 11: Team Captains
Question 12: Running back stats
Question 13: TE Myers' role?
Question 14: Thomas' position in '13
Question 15: Who will be 3rd safety?
Question 16: Debating touchdown totals
Question 17: Two kickers on roster?
Question 18: More 3-WR sets in 2013?
Question 19: Toughest Opponent in 2013?
Question 20: Best Position Camp Battle?