Inside The Bills

Bills post their best toxic differential in 2015

Posted by Chris Brown on January 12, 2016 – 9:58 am

Before 2009 toxic differential was an unknown metric. Devised by former Baltimore Ravens head coach Brian Billick, it takes turnover differential and big play differential and adds the two figures together as a means of measuring how effectively an NFL team can execute big plays without surrendering them to the opponent. As we covered on Buffalobills.com today, the Bills finished with their highest ever toxic differential, finishing fourth in the NFL in 2015. Here’s a look at how Buffalo has fared since the statistic was initially recorded in 2009.

The Bills have had only two seasons in which they’ve posted a positive toxic differential, with both coming in two of the last three seasons.

Year Toxic Differential Rank
2009 -21 25th
2010 -35 31st
2011 -13 23rd
2012 -29 27th
2013 +11 9th
2014 -5 17th
2015 +35 4th

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Most playoff teams ranked high in toxic metric

Posted by Chris Brown on January 12, 2016 – 8:58 am

Toxic differential isn’t the end all, be all metric in determining playoff clubs or even Super Bowl winners, but 10 of the last 15 Super Bowl winners have ranked high in toxic differential, which takes turnover differential and big play differential and adds the two figures together for toxic differential. Below is the ranking of the top 12 NFL clubs in toxic differential for 2015, with Buffalo posting their highest ranking ever of fourth with a plus-35. What’s interesting is the number of 2015 playoff teams on this list.

Ten of the league’s 12 playoffs teams rank in the top 12 in toxic differential. The only non-playoff teams are the Bills, who finished 8-8 and the Jets who finished 10-6 this season. The two playoff teams that did not rank highly in toxic differential were Houston (15th; +3) and Washington (26th; -25). Both clubs were beaten in the Wild Card round last weekend. Houston was shut out 30-0 and Washington lost by 17.

This list was put together by SportingCharts.com.

Rank Team Turnover Differential Big Play Differential Toxic Differential
1 Carolina 20 34 +54
2 Seattle 7 42 +49
3 Cincinnati 11 25 +36
4 Buffalo 6 29 +35
5 Kansas City 14 11 +25
6 Minnesota 5 19 +24
7 Pittsburgh 2 19 +21
8 Arizona 9 11 +20
9 New York Jets 6 11 +17
10 New England 7 6 +13
11 Denver -4 14 +10
12 Green Bay 5 4 +9

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Bills ranking high in toxic differential

Posted by Chris Brown on October 1, 2015 – 12:16 pm

It was a statistic invented by former Baltimore head coach Brian Billick. Toxic differential takes turnover differential, big pass play differential and big run play differential and adds them together. The higher the number the better. Through the first three games this season the Bills rank very high in toxic differential.

Buffalo’s figure is a +12 so far this season, which ranks third in the league right now behind only Carolina, which is a gaudy +17 and Cincinnati at a +14.

The Bills are a +5 in turnover margin and a +7 in big play differential so far this season. Buffalo finished 17th in the league last season in toxic differential with a -5 figure. The goal is to obviously be on the plus side in both categories.

Buffalo’s big-play ability on offense this year appears much improved from last season with Tyrod Taylor and Buffalo’s passing game weapons.

Most NFL clubs that have won the Super Bowl have finished in the top 10 in toxic differential. This year’s figures come courtesy of Sporting Charts.


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2014 Toxic Differential rankings

Posted by Chris Brown on February 5, 2015 – 1:09 pm

As we profiled on Buffalobills.com today (Thursday) the Bills were a top five team in the league in 2014 when it came to Toxic Differential, an advanced metric that combines turnover differential and explosive play differential (plays of 20 yards or more). Here is the full league rankings list from this past season.

2014 Toxic Differential Rankings

Rank      Team           Takes    Gives    Diff.       20+ for  20+ again.         Diff.       Toxic Diff.
1              Seahawks        24           14        +10         73           38                     +35         +45
2              Broncos          25           20           +5           80           48                    +32         +37
3              Packers           27           13           +14         71           57                      +14         +28
4              Cowboys         31           25           +6           74           56                     +18         +24
5              Bills                 30            23          +7             59          47                    +12         +19
6              Colts                26           31           -6            85           65                     +20         +14
7              Ravens            22           20           +2           74           63                     +11         +13
7              Lions               27           20           +7           60           54                     +6           +13
9              Texans            34           22           +12         61           62                      -1            +11
10           Falcons            28           23           +5           68           65                     +3           +8
11           49ers                 29           22           +7           61           61                      0              +7
12           Chiefs               14           17           -3            56           49                      +7           +4
12           Steelers            21           21           0              65           61                      +4           +4
14           Vikings            19            20           -1            54           50                      +4           +3
15           Patriots            25           13           +12         53           63                       -10          +2
16           Chargers         18           23           -5            64           58                       +6           +1
16           Browns           29           23           +6           66           71                        -5            +1
18           Panthers        26           23           +3           50           55                        -5            -2
19           Cardinals       25           17           +8           64           75                         -11          -3
20           Bengals         26           26           0              49           55                        -6            -6
21           Buccaneers   25           33           -8            59           58                         +1           -7
22           Dolphins      25           23           +2           52           63                          -11          -9
22           Redskins      19           31           -12          70           67                           +3           -9
22           Titans           16           26           -10          58           57                           +1           -9
25           Rams            25           27           -2            50           59                           -9            -11
26           Jets               13           24           -11          50           52                           -2            -13
27           Eagles          28           36           -8            76           82                          -6            -14
28           Jaguars       20           26           -6            60           76                          -16          -22
29           Giants         26           28           -2            60           82                          -22          -24
29           Saints          17           30           -13          62           73                           -11          -24
31           Bears           24           29           -5            45           75                           -30          -35
32           Raiders       14           29           -15          36           68                           -32          -47


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Bills lead NFL in toxic differential

Posted by Chris Brown on October 30, 2014 – 12:40 pm

It’s a compound statistic that former NFL head coach Brian Billick has tracked for years and only recently made popular since he began working for NFL.com. It’s called toxic differential. It’s essentially a combined margin of turnover differential and big play differential (plays of 20 yards or more made or given up). At the midway point of the season the Bills lead the NFL (see table below)

As you can see in the table, Buffalo leads the league in takeaways and is fifth in explosive plays. Their plus-7 turnover differential and plus-13 explosive play differential gives them a toxic differential of plus-20. The San Diego Chargers are the only team within striking distance at this point of the Bills at plus-17.

It has Billick convinced that the Bills could be for real if they can maintain the differentials they’re enjoying in both areas of their game. Here’s what he wrote about Buffalo.

Buffalo, San Diego, San Francisco, Houston and Denver are the only teams in the NFL that rank in the top 10 in both turnover differential and explosive differential. We knew the Chargers, 49ers and Broncos were good, but this shows that the Bills and Texans are teams to watch in the second half, as well.

At a glance, you can see how teams have worked to address limitations from last season. In 2013, Buffalo was a bottom-10 team in explosive offensive plays. This year, with the solid quarterback play of Kyle Orton and the early maturation of Sammy Watkins, the Bills rank fifth overall in that category.


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Big play Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on February 15, 2012 – 11:21 am

With the new statistical measure ‘toxic differential’ gaining popularity in determining an NFL team’s success, we thought we’d take a closer look as to just what players were providing the big plays for the Bills this past season.

There are some obvious candidates, but here are the players that turned in all of the 20-plus yard plays in the run and pass game for Buffalo in 2011.

Players with plays of 20 yards or more in 2011
1 . Fred Jackson (18)
2. Stevie Johnson (13)
3. David Nelson (7)
4. Naaman Roosevelt (7)
5. C.J. Spiller (6)
6. Scott Chandler (4)
7. Brad Smith (3)
8. Donald Jones (2)
9. Derek Hagan (2)
10. Kevin Brock (1)
11. Ruvell Martin (1)

It’s not surprising that Jackson had the most 20-plus yard plays on the season. Even though he only appeared in 11 games in 2011 he still seemed to have at least one big play every time out. Perhaps the most impressive though is Naaman Roosevelt, who probably had significantly fewer snaps than Scott Chandler, David Nelson and C.J. Spiller. Yet Roosevelt was tied for third most plays of 20+ yards.


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NFL toxic differential rankings

Posted by Chris Brown on February 15, 2012 – 10:59 am

As we profiled on the home page of Buffalobills.com Wednesday, toxic differential (measure of turnover differential + explosive play differential) is becoming and more and more respected statistic for team success. Here’s the league rankings of toxic differential for 2011 as compiled by Buffalobills.com courtesy of stats from Stats Inc.

The 20+ categories represent explosive plays by a team’s own offense and by a team’s opponent. The differential between those two figures is reflected in the Exp. Diff. column followed by the Turnover Differential column (Turn. Diff.). The sum of those two columns is then represented in the far right column as Toxic Differential

NFL TOXIC DIFFERENTIAL RANKINGS 2011

Tm Rank Team 20+ own 20+ opp. Exp diff. Turn diff. Toxic diff.
1 San Fran 57 52 +5 +28 +33
2 Carolina 90 67 +23 +1 +24
T3 Detroit 73 62 +11 +11 +22
T3 Green Bay 78 80 -2 +24 +22
5 Houston 68 55 +13 +7 +20
6 N.O. 83 63 +20 -3 +17
7 Seattle 59 51 +8 +8 +16
T8 Atlanta 67 62 +5 +8 +13
T8 Pitt. 69 43 +26 -13 +13
T10 Dallas 69 64 +5 +4 +9
T10 Balt. 57 50 +7 +2 +9
T12 NY Giants 71 71 0 +7 +7
T12 San Diego 82 68 +14 -7 +7
14 Phil. 84 64 +20 -14 +6
15 N.E. 77 89 -12 +17 +5
16 Chicago 61 59 +2 +2 +4
T17 Buffalo 65 66 -1 +1 0
T17 Cincy 57 57 0 0 0
19 Oakland 84 82 +2 -4 -2
20 Tenn. 65 69 -4 1+ -3
21 Jax. 40 51 -11 5+ -6
22 Miami 67 68 -1 -6 -7
23 Minn. 60 65 -5 -3 -8
24 NY Jets 48 54 -6 -3 -9
25 K.C. 52 65 -13 -2 -15
26 Denver 56 60 -4 -12 -16
T27 Wash. 67 72 -5 -14 -19
T27 Clev. 39 59 -20 +1 -19
29 Arizona 62 69 -7 -13 -20
30 St. Louis 44 63 -19 -5 -24
31 Indy 39 56 -17 -12 -29
32 T.B. 44 78 -34 -5 -39

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