Inside The Bills

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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