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Packers Focus On Turnover Battle


Looking at the stat sheet heading into Sunday's game pitting the Packers against the Giants, the two teams appear to be about equal.

Comparing their points scored and yardage gained, they are in a virtual dead heat. For all the talk of how much the Packers defense has given up, they've allowed opponents one fewer yard than the Giants have.

So why is it that with the teams so close statistically, the Giants come to town with a record of 2-1 and winners of two in a row, while the Packers stand at 1-2 and are looking to snap a two game losing skid?

One key stat jumps off the page when comparing the two clubs that seems to tell the tale, and will no doubt be a determining factor in the outcome of Sunday's contest, and that is turnovers.

Through three games, the Packers stand at -1 in the turnover ratio, having caused six turnovers while turning the ball over seven times. The Giants, on the other hand, lead the league in the takeaway-giveaway category with a mark of 8. The New Yorkers have been very opportunistic on defense, forcing 10 turnovers, and stingy on offense, losing possession only twice.

It also is no coincidence that the Packers are 1-0 when winning the turnover battle and 0-2 when losing it. Also, the Giants are 2-0 when holding on to the ball better than their opponent, and their lone loss came when they were behind in the turnover column as well.

Turnovers will undoubtedly play a role in the outcome of the game this weekend, a fact not lost on the home team.

"Our goal is to (get them to) turn it over three times," said linebacker Nick Barnett. "We haven't gotten enough turnovers in the last two games necessary to win games, so that's our focus. We're going to go out there and try to cause some turnovers."

When asked about what his team must do to be successful this week, GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman immediately pointed out the turnover battle.

"You hang on to the ball as best you can," Sherman said when quizzed on how to offset the Giants takeaway mentality.

"This team is 8 and they have 10 takeaways and only two giveaways," he went on to say. "That's a telling statement in itself. The eight takeaways are impressive, but the two giveaways, in my mind, is even more impressive. They're hanging on to the football very well. (Running back Tiki) Barber holds on to it, (quarterback Kurt) Warner is very cautious with it. They're doing a nice job of holding on to that ball."

Defensive end Aaron Kampman feels that perhaps the Giants offense has been living a charmed life, and it's time for them to turn the ball over a time or two.

"They seem to be due," Kampman said. "They've only given up two turnovers this entire season so far, so I hope they're ready. We're going to do everything we can to make sure that they are, and we'll work on that in practice and try to get them to cough up the ball a little bit."

Safety Darren Sharper, responsible for one of the Packers' two interceptions on the season, said that the time seems right for a change of fortune, both for his unit and the offense lining up across from them. He was hopeful when quizzed about the Giants recent success in holding on to the football.

"I hope that means they're due," Sharper said. "We're due for creating takeaways this game. We're going to go out there and try to attack - try to find a way to create a turnover."

There is no doubt that turnovers play huge role in determining the outcome of football games. Listening to the talk in the locker room, the Packers are prepared to do whatever it takes to finish the game Sunday ahead in the turnover battle, as well as on the scoreboard.

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