Twentyman: The turnover totals might decide who comes out the winner on Sunday

Posted Oct 10, 2012

The Eagles’ offense currently ranks 11th in the NFL in yards per game, but 31st in points, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense until the turnovers are factored into the equation.

Through five games, the Eagles have 14 turnovers, 11 of which belong to quarterback Michael Vick. The Eagles enter Sunday’s game with a -7 turnover ratio, second worst in the league.

Vick has thrown six interceptions and lost five fumbles.

“You just try and work on it in practice and not go into a game thinking about it,” Vick said of the turnovers. “If we can just eliminate our turnovers the sky is the limit for this team.

“But the last thing I want to do is go out on the field thinking about turning the ball over. I just have to find a way to protect it and at some point its just going to all come together for us.”

The Lions enter Sunday’s game with just three takeaways, tied for the fewest in the NFL. They’ve been outscored 60-31 in the first half this season and their propensity to settle for field goals on offense, along with their inability to force turnovers on defense are two contributing factors.

“When you’re playing defense what you need to do is worry about doing your job,” Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said. “Play physical football, be fast and be around the ball. If you start trying to create turnovers, if you start pressing, get guys start cheating, getting out of position and things like that; it’s certainly something that we don’t want to do.

“Turnovers come if you’re playing hard, if you’re playing physical football. We need to worry about playing our scheme, playing hard. And when we do, turnovers will come.”

So it appears something has to give Sunday in Philadelphia. The Eagles turn the ball over. The Lions haven't been getting turnovers. The turnover totals just might decide the winner.

“He’s turned the ball over a little bit but you also look at the last drive (against the Steelers last week) when he took them down the field in the fourth quarter to give them the lead in that game,” Schwartz said of Vick.

“They’re near the top in the league in big plays and a lot of that has to do with the quarterback. (He) opens up some things, he can scramble, buy time; push the ball down the field. You certainly respect the player and we have a lot of respect for Michael Vick.”

The Eagles offense is predicated on the big play and some of Vick's turnovers are from a tendency sometimes to hold the ball to let a big play develop or fit the ball into places trying to make a play.

“He’s obviously going to drop back and hold it, especially if our coverage is doing their job and there’s nobody open,” said Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. “But we are excited any time we can go against a quarterback that’s passing the ball a lot. So we look forward to it.”