Eagles worst team in modern history to lead NFL in time of possession

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If the trend continues for the Philadelphia Eagles through the end of the season, they could set some interesting history.

The team currently leads the entire NFL in time of possession, yet they willnot only miss the playoffs but also post a losing record this season.

No team since the 1997 Chicago Bears (4-12) has ever led the NFL in this stat category and had such a dreadful season.

Typically, time of possession is a good stat, one that typically predicts success. Teams like the 1998 Falcons, 2003 Steelers and 2009 Patriots have led the league in this stat, and a large percentage of the 20 teams since 1997 atop this measurement have not only made the playoffs but have won 12 or more games and advanced to a Super Bowl.

Of course, time of possession is a controversial stat in Philadelphia, in the wake of Chip Kelly’s fast-paced offense that gave absolutely no priority to ball control. This year’s Eagles have jumped from last to first in that category in one season, but it hasn’t led them to more success.

“I think some of it is the red zone and some of it is the lack of big plays,” Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich said.”You want some explosive-play touchdowns; we need a few more of those…Amidst the negatives and amongst the negatives, leading the league after 14 weeks in time of possession, there’s something positive about that. [But] it’s not good enough because we haven’t scored enough points.”

The Eagles ranked 16th in points per game with 22.6 prior to kickoff against the Giants Thursday night.

As they have all season long, the 2016 Eagles are hard to make much sense of. But — if the Eagles can acquire more big-play weapons on offense and continue to control the ball, pace of play and run a lot of plays from scrimmage (their 950 through 14 games is the third most in the NFL) the future is likely bright as Carson Wentz continues to develop into a franchise quarterback.

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