Russian journalist deported, banned from returning for five years

first_img BelarusEurope – Central Asia May 28, 2021 Find out more May 31, 2011 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Russian journalist deported, banned from returning for five years News Receive email alerts “We welcome opening of criminal investigation in Lithuania in response to our complaint against Lukashenko” RSF says to go further Russian TV reporter Rodion Marinichev was given 24 hours to leave the country after his arrest yesterday in Minsk and was banned from returning for five years. His deportation came just days after President Alexander Lukashenko urged his government to rein in news media which, in his view, have been “creating the panic” that is the cause of the country’s current economic crisis.“We condemn the government’s tendency to blame the media for every crisis,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The protests against the elections last December, the Minsk metro bombing and now the economic crisis have all been used as pretexts to crack down harder on the media. The expulsion of another foreign journalist fpr trying to cover events in Belarus is intolerable.”The correspondent of the Russian TV station Dozhd, Marinichev was arresting immediately after interviewing Irina Khalip, the Belarusian correspondent of the Moscow-based newspaper Novaya Gazeta, who was given a two-year suspended jail sentence on 16 May. His video recording of theinterview was erased.Andrey Bastunets of the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) described Marinichev’s deportation as illegal. That fact that he did not have government accreditation was not grounds for expelling him, he said.Deporting foreign journalists is starting to become a habit for the Belarusian government. Alexander Loshmankin, a Russian journalist who founded the human rights website Svoboda, was arrested as he was about to cover an opposition demonstration on 24 March. After being held for three days, he learned that his accreditation had been rescinded and he had to leave the country.President Lukashenko, who is on the Reporters Without Borders list of Predators of Press Freedom, lashed out at the media during a meeting on the economic crisis on 27 May.“I won’t name any names to avoid giving them publicity, but the government must do everything it can to ensure they are no longer present in our country,” he said, going on to accuse the Russian media of being the most “hysterical” and of portraying Belarusians as “savages” with nothing in their shop windows. RSF at the Belarusian border: “The terrorist is the one who jails journalists and intimidates the public” News June 2, 2021 Find out morecenter_img Help by sharing this information RSF_en News BelarusEurope – Central Asia Follow the news on Belarus News Organisation Russian media boss drops the pretence and defends Belarus crackdown May 27, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

Cliff Ensley earned everything. Now, he’s giving it all back.

first_imgTo understand why a former walk-on football player would donate millions of dollars to his alma mater, you must first know the man behind the check.Cliff Ensley is the last Syracuse three-sport letterman. He turned a $2,500 investment into Leisure Luggage, a multimillion dollar operation. He once added 15 pounds to jump up weight classes before the NCAA wrestling tournament to allow a teammate to pursue a national title in his former weight class.“I didn’t really answer to anyone,” Ensley said. “I had my own set of goals and my own motivation. But it was always just do the best you can and see where it leads you.”On Oct. 14, SU Athletics will reveal Ensley’s latest contribution, statues of former Syracuse lacrosse coaches Roy Simmons Sr. and Jr. This comes after he recently donated several million dollars to build an indoor turf football facility in 2015.Ensley considers this the latest bronze veneer in preserving a legacy he helped create. He often travels from his home in Edison, New Jersey, to a second home in Cazenovia — about 18 miles from SU’s campus — to watch games of the players he still calls “teammates.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textHe has always seen life through this context. Ensley stopped wrestling in college to focus on football and lacrosse. Growing up in Scarsdale, New York, his efforts at defensive end and wide receiver didn’t earn him any all-league accolades, but he kept playing because he liked playing sports — even though he didn’t think the town wasn’t big on them.More than 50 years later, he donated the building that became the Ensley Athletic Center, a massive, white-paneled facility across from South Campus. Yet the building that bears his name isn’t his favorite contribution.“I think it’s a way of saying, ‘You never appreciated me when I was first starting out, but I’m appreciating Syracuse now,’” said former SU football coach James Ridlon.Zero Division I schools recruited Ensley, the defensive back one coach called a “skinny little guy,” but he walked on at SU anyway. The tryouts started with 20 players until two weeks later, when only one remained. Coaches remember how hard Ensley pummeled All-American running back Larry Csonka in practice. So, that spring, then-head coach Ben Schwartzwalder awarded him a scholarship.In Ensley’s sophomore season, when receivers consistently burned aggressive defensive backs for long plays, at least one backup adjusted by playing a step back. Ensley understood his role: don’t allow the big play. He provided his receivers a cushion, preferring to defend short passes rather than deep balls over his head. He wormed his way into the rotation, earning a start in the season’s third game. Ensley started every game after.“I think I’ve always had that attitude, start at the bottom and work your way up,” Ensley said. “I’d done that in grade school and high school, and that’s what I figured I would be doing at Syracuse.”In 1968, his senior season, Ensley remembered Syracuse punt returners weren’t catching the ball. When they did, they often ran sideways. Midway through the season, Ensley assumed the role, seldom calling for a fair catch and always running forward.In five games, Ensley fielded 31 punts, the second-highest SU single-season total ever. On Nov. 16, in a record-setting punt-return performance against Navy, Ensley caught a kicked ball as it sailed over his head, like a receiver. The risk proved worth it 76 yards later in the end zone.“He never really was recognized,” Ridlon said. “I had to to keep telling Ben Schwartzwalder how important he was.”Andy Mendes | Digital Design EditorAbout five years ago, Floyd Little set out in search of donors for a series of statues and a new athletic center. He knew to call the man who had been sending him Leisure Luggage products for years, the man he considered a teammate.Through talks with Dick and Gene Thompson, Ensley found himself more invested with the center. He discovered the Thompsons were dedicating the field to Gene’s father, a World War II veteran who fought on the beach at Normandy.Ensley agreed to pay for “(his) share” of the center if SU also memorialized Schwartzwalder, a fellow Normandy soldier. More than 50 years earlier, Schwartzwalder had given Ensley a shot. Now, his former player wants to show the same respect.Outside the Ensley Athletic Center stands a series of bronze statues. A cluster of them, called “Plaza 44,” contains the replicas of the three legendary SU running backs who donned the number 44: Jim Brown, Ernie Davis and Little, Ensley’s hero.To their right, the sculpture of an elderly gentleman with glasses and a Syracuse sweater stands alone. He wasn’t supposed to be there. The statue of Schwartzwalder had been dropped when the “44 project” was developed, Ensley said. Then, he stepped in.Ensley didn’t want his name on the building alone. He wanted Sue, his wife and business partner of nearly two decades, to share that space. But she declined, and Syracuse added her name to an inside wall of the building.“You can always owe back,” Ensley said, “but a lot of times you don’t get in positions where you can do it, so I did it. I take pride in doing it.”In 2007, Ensley founded the Orange Memorial Fund, which originally gave blankets with a block letter “S” to the families of deceased Syracuse athletes who lettered in football, wrestling or lacrosse — his sports. He also included boxing, because though he never played, Simmons Sr. coached it.The inspiration came when Thomas George, Ensley’s teammate and former roommate, died in the early 2000s, and Ensley attended a big town funeral. He thought Syracuse should honor him.Ten years after the program’s inception, it now covers all athletes. The program delivers a blanket to the family members of any deceased Syracuse athlete, hopefully before funeral services. The blanket always arrives accompanied by a handwritten note:“From your teammates, you’ll always be remembered.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on October 4, 2017 at 10:56 pm Contact Josh: [email protected] | @Schafer_44last_img read more

Debate on student goals

first_img“If a school is meeting 17 out of 20 \ criteria, no way should that be considered underperforming,” Elbling said. “Let’s be real and decide what’s truly attainable, without pie-in-the-sky standards.” Cirasole, 59, a school consultant, agreed, saying NCLB has set “awfully high standards for California, and they’re not real- istic. We’re chasing our tails on these things.” But it has helped with teacher quality, Cirasole added, saying 99 percent of district teachers have met the federal criteria of a highly qualified teacher. Gallardo, 45, a school administrator, says NCLB has also led to some good things, like the alignment of curriculum to state educational standards and more collaboration among teachers about what material should be taught at specific grade levels. “Schools should continue to collaborate and provide the staff development that is necessary for teachers to provide \ level of learning,” he said. On the other hand, it’s good to set high goals, said Aparicio, 28, a middle school teacher. “In that sense, NCLB has been good,” Aparicio said. “For me, as a teacher, it’s been hard the last few years. “But if we’re aiming for that mark, we will get there,” he said. “I just don’t know if we’ll get there in the next six years – in 10 years, yes, I believe so.” All four board contenders also said they were in favor of after-school programs, articulation with high schools their students feed into, and more emphasis on nutrition, P.E. activities and parent/student education about how to combat childhood obesity. The forum was co-sponsored by the Whittier-Pico Rivera Council of PTAs and the Whittier chapter of the American Association of University Women. For information on the LWV forums, call (562) 947-3634. [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3051 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “The candidates running for school districts will help produce the adults of the next generation,” she said. “And our livelihood will depend on those students.” The board candidates are hoping to snag the current seats of Robert Ehlers and Alison Pigott, both of whom decided not to run for another term. At the forum, all four agreed the federal NCLB law, which calls for all students to be proficient in English-language arts and math by 2013-14, was created with good intent. But its goals aren’t realistic, said Elbling, 43, a middle school teacher. WHITTIER – Covering topics like the much-maligned No Child Left Behind Act and childhood obesity rates, four candidates offered up their views at a forum this week in their bid to win a board seat at the East Whittier City School District. Carlos Aparicio, Michael Cirasole, Dimitri Elbling and Angel Gallardo were on hand Wednesday night at City Hall for the forum organized by the Whittier League of Women Voters. The forum, one of several scheduled in the next two weeks to help familiarize voters with candidates in the Nov. 6 elections, allowed school-board hopefuls to introduce their platforms and be questioned on the issues by the small audience. “School boards are our most local level of government, the people who are most \ to you to communicate with, to express your ideas,” said Margo Reeg, a LWV member who served as the forum’s moderator. last_img read more

First for African forest stewards

first_imgA young woman prepares to plant ablackwood seedling, while Tanzania’s loftyKilimanjaro looms in the distance. (Image:African Blackwood Conservation Project) Unassuming to look at, the Africanblackwood is a highly sought-aftercommodity. (Image: Steve Ball, Fauna &Flora International) A cross section of the mpingo tree,showing the yellowish sapwood without,and the dusky heartwood within. (Image:African Blackwood Conservation Project)Janine Erasmus In a first for the African continent, the Forest Stewardship Council has bestowed its certification for community-managed natural forest on two communities in Tanzania for their care of the African blackwood, that country’s national tree.Africa’s blackwood, or mpingo as it is known in Kiswahili, is native to 29 sub-Saharan African countries. It occurs in a range that extends roughly from the Sudan south to Mozambique and north-eastern South Africa, across to Angola on the west coast, and then north as far as Nigeria and west as far as Senegal. It is classified as Near Threatened on the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.The blackwood (Dalbergia melanoxylon), a member of the rosewood family, is highly sought after like its relatives the Brazilian, Indian and Honduras rosewoods. The African variety, which grows abundantly although slowly, is ideally suited for the manufacture of woodwind instruments such as piccolos, wooden flutes, clarinets and oboes. This is the wood’s primary economic use.Not only is it snapped up by instrument craftsmen around the world, but local wood carvers, notably the Makonde people who live in the tree’s main growing region on the Tanzania-Mozambique border, use it extensively. Furniture makers also prize the valuable commodity, and it is said that the ancient Egyptians used the wood in their furniture building.The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international non-profit body that works to promote responsible management of the earth’s forests. The FSC certification is viewed as the gold standard in worldwide forest management and conservation. Certified forestry organisations are entitled to use the FSC logo and thereby help consumers to identify products that are harvested responsibly and sustainably.To date, over 50-million hectares of forests around the world have been FSC certified.Sustainable harvestingProper management of the forests is the key to their preservation and profitability. Trees take upwards of 60 years to reach maturity and become commercially viable, so careful monitoring and management is necessary to prevent over-harvesting which will result in the species becoming endangered.Tanzanian communities are assisted in this endeavour by the East Africa-based Mpingo Conservation Project, an organisation that promotes sustainable harvesting of valuable indigenous timber and works for conservation of endangered forest habitats.“In this time of global economic crisis,” says a spokesman from the Mpingo project, “it is important to remember that even small consumer choices can make a huge difference to poor communities in the developing world, providing them with an opportunity for a hopeful and sustainable future.”Because the wood is so sought-after, illegal logging is widespread and poor communities that derive a livelihood from the surrounding forest are often deprived of benefits they might otherwise enjoy.The groundbreaking FSC certification achievement will enable the two communities, both situated in Kilwa District, south-east Tanzania, to earn up to 250 times more for harvested wood than before, affording them the opportunity for a brighter future.By managing their current 2 420 hectares of forest responsibly, local folk can ask for, and receive, a much better price on sustainably-harvested timber. UK-based conservation organisation Fauna & Flora International predicts that communities will soon be earning in excess of US$19 (R158) per log compared to the paltry eight cents (67 cents) they received previously.Community ownership and controlCommunities may also take advantage of Tanzania’s Participatory Forest Management scheme, which allows them to take over the ownership and control of surrounding forests from the government, but they first have to show that they are competent enough to do so. Then, with their FSC certificate in hand, communities have proof that their timber is sustainably harvested and can ask, and receive, a fair price for their labours.The initiative will also benefit the miombo woodland ecosystem, a dry forest-savannah biome that covers the greater part of southern Africa. This ecosystem is important because it supports many forms of wildlife including lion, buffalo, warthog, elephant, and African wild dog.According to the World Wildlife Fund, the area supports what may be the largest populations of African elephant (Loxodonta africana) and African wild dog (Lycaon pictus) on the continent.The FSC certification takes effect in time for the first harvest in June 2009. Because the wood requires at least a year’s slow drying time to avoid the risk of splitting, it is expected that the first FSC-certified instrument will only be available in 2011.The Mpingo Conservation Project hopes that its blackwood initiative will become the flagship of many more woodland conservation success stories.Perfect for woodwindsWith its grey bark and spiny shoots, the African blackwood may look scruffy on the outside, but its heartwood is a lustrous inky black and can vary from dark brown to a purple-indigo. The heartwood is extremely resistant to decay. Top quality timber can fetch up to $18 000 (R150 000) per cubic metre, according to the Mpingo Conservation Project.It is said that between 7 500 and 20 000 African blackwood trees get the chop each year, destined to become the highest quality musical instruments.The wood used to be referred to as ebony, but the true ebony tree belongs to another unrelated genus known as Diospyros. Among these are D. ebenum, known as Ceylon ebony and native to southern India and Sri Lanka.Blackwood’s dense grain is naturally impregnated with oil, meaning that sound waves vibrating inside an instrument’s bore do not get absorbed by the wood, resulting in a brighter sound. The natural oils also protect it from degradation caused by players’ breath and saliva.Its fine grain means that it can be turned and bored easily, and its density, roughly that of cast iron, is so robust that it easily and accurately accepts the metal screw threads of keys. The wood is tough enough that it has been known to dent and blunt cutting tools. It is stable under extremes of humidity and temperature, and its beautiful finish makes it the wood of choice for woodwinds.American master flute maker Casey Burns, who also uses South African-sourced mopane wood for his creations, recently claimed that African blackwood is now the standard by which all other blackwoods are judged in the manufacture of woodwind instruments.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Contact Janine Erasmus at [email protected] linksMpingo Conservation ProjectForest Stewardship CouncilFauna & Flora InternationalSound & FairFood and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nationslast_img read more

Webinar looks at the changing climate and agriculture

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Weather patterns are changing and presenting unique challenges to the agricultural community, both in Ohio and across the globe. An upcoming webinar will focus on the changing weather patterns, how those shifts have impacted the industry and ways the ag community can adapt.On June 20, 2019 at 11 a.m. EST Webinar host Aaron Wilson will take an hour long look at the changing climate. Wilson is an atmospheric scientist at The Ohio State University and an expert in weather, climatology and climate change. He holds a joint appointment as a research scientist at the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center, as a climate specialist with OSU Extension and is a contributing member to the State Climate Office of Ohio. His recent work focuses on the local impacts of changing weather patterns, particularly those affecting the ag sector.The session will cover:Challenges a changing climate presents to Ohio’s ag sector.How agriculture can impact our changing climate.Effects of increasing greenhouse gases.Differences between weather and climate.Local and global context for impacts.How temperatures and precipitation have already affected agriculture in Ohio.An opportunity to ask questions.Listeners will get an update on scientific projections for the future, learn ways the ag community can adapt, get deeper understanding of weather and the impacts of our changing climate, and find out about mitigation efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions and enrich our soils. To register, visit https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/5760563917587783180.last_img read more

Gymnast McKayla Maroney says settlement covered up sex abuse

first_img“First and foremost, she wants this never to happen to another little girl,” Manly said in an interview.The settlement included nondisclosure and non-disparagement clauses and Maroney or her parents could be sued for more than $100,000 for violating the agreement. The suit seeks to invalidate those provisions under a California law which prohibits settlements in civil cases that could result in criminal sex offense charges.“It’s despicable and it is wrong,” Manly said of the settlement agreement.Nassar has admitted to sexually assaulting female gymnasts, possessing child pornography and molesting girls who sought treatment. He was sentenced earlier this month to serve 60 years in federal prison for possessing thousands of images of child pornography.Maroney’s lawsuit also names the U.S. Olympic Committee and Michigan State University, where Nassar had worked for decades.ADVERTISEMENT Asian shares slide on weak Japan data; US markets closed US Olympic gymnastics gold medalist Mckayla Maroney (left) revealed on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017, that the team’s former doctor, Larry Nassar (right), molested her from when she was 13 years old until she left the sport in 2016. AFP FILE PHOTOSLOS ANGELES — Olympic gold medalist McKayla Maroney was forced to sign a confidential settlement with the group that trains U.S. Olympic gymnasts to keep allegations that she was sexually abused by team doctor Larry Nassar a secret, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday (Thursday Manila time).Maroney, who won a team gold and an individual silver on vault as part of the “Fierce Five” U.S. women’s team at the 2012 Olympics in London, said Nassar’s abuse started in her early teens and continued for the rest of her competitive career.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Read Next After suffering sexual abuse and “years of psychological trauma,” Maroney reached a settlement with USA Gymnastics in December 2016, but the terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed in court papers. Her lawsuit seeks to invalidate parts of the settlement, arguing it violated California law and that USA Gymnastics “had a plan to keep the sexual abuse of Nassar quiet.”Maroney, who is now 22 years old, said in a Twitter post in October that the abuse started when she was 13 and attending a U.S. national team training camp in Houston. Nassar told her at the time that she was receiving “medically necessary treatment he had been performing on patients for over 30 years,” she said at the time.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutHer attorney, John Manly, said she had been abused between 50 and 100 times by Nassar, including at the Olympics and during the world championships.She has described Nassar giving her a sleeping pill while the team traveled to Japan for the 2011 world championships. Maroney says Nassar later visited her in her hotel room after the team arrived in Tokyo, where he molested her yet again. Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa View comments 8th Top Leaders Forum assessed the progress of public-private efforts in building climate and disaster resilient communities BI on alert for illegally deployed OFWs to Iraq Do not bring these items in SEA Games venues LATEST STORIES Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC The court complaint alleges the university had received complaints from two female athletes who accused the doctor of inappropriately touching them in the late 1990s and that the USOC has had “a culture and atmosphere that conceals known and suspected sexual abusers.”USA Gymnastics, the U.S. Olympic Committee and Michigan State University did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university PLAY LIST 01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Cayetano: 4 social media groups behind SEA Games ‘sabotage’ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Isaiah Thomas could be playing for Cavaliers next weeklast_img read more

16 days agoSchmeichel slams Liverpool ace Shaqiri for ‘behaving like a child’

first_imgSchmeichel slams Liverpool ace Shaqiri for ‘behaving like a child’by Paul Vegas16 days agoSend to a friendShare the lovePeter Schmeichel says Xherdan Shaqiri “behaved like a child” over the Switzerland captaincy row.Liverpool ace Shaqiri reportedly missed Switzerland’s last two Euro2020 qualifiers because he was annoyed over Granit XhakaThe Arsenal midfielder was open to discussing it with Shaqiri, who has been criticised by Schmeichel.”I liked the words of Granit Xhaka in the context of Shaqiri’s absence,” the Manchester United legend said.”I read that the captain question played a role in Shaqiri’s thinking.”Although this has been denied in the meantime, nevertheless I found it strong that Xhaka said: ‘If Shaqiri wants to have the captain’s armband, he should take it.'”Xhaka showed that he wants to be a leader even without ties – and gave the pressure to Shaqiri. That was brilliant of him. In contrast to Shaqiri, who behaved like a child.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

Over two dozen organizations took registrations at 20th Annual Spring One Stop

first_imgFORT ST JOHN, B.C. – The Totem Mall was the host of the 20th Annual Spring Community One Stop registration event on past Saturday.The event took place between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and was hosted in by both the Mall and the City of Fort St. John.The Spring Community One Stop is an excellent opportunity for residents of the community to learn about what local organizations, community groups and sports clubs had to offer for the upcoming spring/summer season. With an impressive total of 26 organizations in attendance, the upcoming spring/summer season will be a busy one in the community.Activities available at One Stop were not limited to strictly sports but also included many literacy, music and art-based organizations.In addition to the annual Spring One Stop registration, a Fall version will be held in early September.last_img read more

The 10 Games That Shaped The NFL Playoff Picture The Most

Detroit72100+28 Denver4139-2 Green Bay70%100%+30 PLAYOFF CHANCES PLAYOFF CHANCES Washington37%51%+14 Houston44%74%+30 3. Tennessee 13, Denver 10 (Week 14) The most important game of the year came in Week 17, even though one of the teams — the New York Giants — had absolutely nothing to play for. Washington’s loss ended its playoff hopes and rendered the highly anticipated Green Bay-Detroit evening matchup mostly moot by guaranteeing playoff spots for both the Packers and Lions. Tennessee11%25%+14 After a tedious Week 17, the NFL playoff picture is finally set. Every week since Week 12, we’ve looked at which games could have the biggest impact on postseason chances throughout the league. Now, instead of dealing with hypotheticals, we can look backward to see which results from the entire 2016 regular season actually affected the playoff race the most.This is pretty easy to measure. Our NFL predictions update after every game, so the most important games are simply the ones that caused the largest net change in playoff probabilities. For example, when Buffalo beat Los Angeles in Week 5, the Bills’ playoff chances immediately improved from 50 percent to 64 percent (+14) while the Rams’ dropped from 49 percent to 34 percent (-14, with rounding). That’s a net change of 28 points. If we add to that number the impact the Bill’s victory had on Arizona, Seattle, New England and Oakland and its minor impacts on every other team in the league, we get an overall playoff swing of 57 points for that game.1The playoff swing totals in this article are lower than what we had listed in previous weeks. That’s because the scale has changed a bit, now that we’re measuring based on one actual game outcome instead of two potential game outcomes. An example: Going into their Week 17 matchup against New York, Washington had a 58 percent chance of making the playoffs. It would be eliminated with a loss and would more or less clinch with a win, so the team’s total potential range of outcomes, which we called its swing, was zero to 100 percent, or 100 percentage points. But Washington lost that game, so its actual, non-potential swing was from 58 percent to zero, or 58 percentage points.By this measure, the 10 biggest games of the regular season are below. Note that some of these results didn’t actually “matter” in the end. Going back to the example above: Buffalo didn’t make the postseason. But that game did make a significant impact on the playoff race at the time, so it was still important to the arc of the season. Miami55%92%+38 Game had 75.9 total “swing” points; only teams with a playoff swing of at least 2 percentage points based on the game outcome are shown AFFECTED TEAMBEFORE GAMEAFTER GAMECHANGE Detroit4650+4 Pittsburgh was an early favorite to make the playoffs, with a 62 percent preseason chance of advancing to the postseason that improved to 90 percent after a 4-1 start. But then the Steelers lost four straight, dropping down to 16th in our rankings, which are based on Elo ratings (a measure of team strength based on game results that we use quite a bit around here). They would go on to beat the Browns in Week 11, but this road victory against the Colts was when Pittsburgh really righted the ship. The Steelers closed the season with five more wins, easily making it to the postseason; they enter as the fourth-ranked team by Elo. Game had 58.5 total “swing” points; only teams with a playoff swing of at least 2 percentage points based on the game outcome are shown Dallas2623-3 Game had 76.0 total “swing” points; only teams with a playoff swing of at least 2 percentage points based on the game outcome are shown The game to watch for Week 16 was one of the best of the year. Buffalo came back from a 21-7 deficit, but the Dolphins hit a 55-yard field goal at the end of the fourth quarter to send the game into OT. Buffalo immediately drove 58 yards to Miami’s 17-yard line before moving backward 10 yards on two running plays and missing a 45-yarder. The Dolphins eventually won it on a chip shot field goal, sending their playoff chances skyrocketing to 92 percent at the expense of Denver and Baltimore. Washington1815-3 AFFECTED TEAMBEFORE GAMEAFTER GAMECHANGE Green Bay6269+6 Miami1626+11 Buffalo712+5 N.Y. Giants3429-4 AFFECTED TEAMBEFORE GAMEAFTER GAMECHANGE Philadelphia56%72%+16 AFFECTED TEAMBEFORE GAMEAFTER GAMECHANGE Denver7348-24 AFFECTED TEAMBEFORE GAMEAFTER GAMECHANGE Houston5855-3 Let’s take a moment to acknowledge Tennessee’s season. The Titans were one of the NFL’s worst teams in 2015 but rallied to go 9-7 this season, with a 5-2 record against eventual playoff teams. Their peak came in back-to-back wins against Denver (Week 14) and Kansas City (Week 15), giving them a serious shot at an AFC South title. Unfortunately, it was all for naught — the bad version of the Titans came out in Week 16 and lost 38-17 to the Jaguars, allowing the Texans to clinch the division. Tennessee’s victory over Denver did make a big difference for Miami, which eventually took the second AFC wild card spot. PLAYOFF CHANCES Houston7957-22 Based on the Cowboys’ terrible performance last season, our NFL predictions projected them to go 7-9 in 2016. And it took a little while for our model to figure out that Dallas was for real. This Week 6 drubbing of Green Bay improved the Cowboys’ record to 5-1 and sent their playoff chances shooting up 22 points to 78 percent; the suddenly struggling Packers saw an equivalent drop. Game had 57.2 total “swing” points; only teams with a playoff swing of at least 2 percentage points based on the game outcome are shown Remember Philadelphia? After a 3-0 start, capped by this shellacking of the highly rated Pittsburgh Steelers, the Eagles saw their playoff chances rise to over 70 percent. After a bye in Week 4, it was all downhill. Philadelphia went 2-9 over their next 11 games and were eliminated from playoff contention in Week 15. Game had 66.3 total “swing” points; only teams with a playoff swing of at least 2 percentage points based on the game outcome are shown Indianapolis11%21%+10 9. Philadelphia 34, Pittsburgh 3 (Week 3) Green Bay5434-20 The Texans ended the regular season with a 9-7 record, a -49 point differential and just the saddest kind of quarterback controversy (the kind where both quarterbacks are bad). So how did they find themselves in the playoffs, with room to spare? Houston’s secret weapon was a 5-1 record against its AFC South opponents, spoiled only by its final meaningless game against the Titans. Whenever Houston’s lead in its terrible division was challenged, the team rose to the occasion, getting a particularly large boost to its playoffs chances in this narrow victory over the Colts. Pittsburgh6870+2 4. Houston 22, Indianapolis 17 (Week 14) Pittsburgh55%71%+16 Indianapolis2311-12 5. Tennessee 19, Kansas City 17 (Week 15) Kansas City>9997-2 AFFECTED TEAMBEFORE GAMEAFTER GAMECHANGE N.Y. Giants4850+2 Houston7987+7 Baltimore3224-8 Game had 58.7 total “swing” points; only teams with a playoff swing of at least 2 percentage points based on the game outcome are shown PLAYOFF CHANCES Pittsburgh9388-5 Indianapolis73-4 1. N.Y. Giants 19, Washington 10 (Week 17) PLAYOFF CHANCES AFFECTED TEAMBEFORE GAMEAFTER GAMECHANGE PLAYOFF CHANCES After Green Bay’s late-season surge to make the playoffs (and the collapse of Washington and Tampa Bay), the Packers’ midseason foibles are all but forgotten. But they really almost blew it, going on a four-game losing streak that started at the end of October during which the Green Bay defense allowed 38 points per game and the team’s chances of making the playoffs dropped (at 4-6) to just 6 percent. This Week 9 loss to the Colts — the second loss in the streak — was one of the most damaging for Green Bay while simultaneously reviving Indianapolis’s hopes. Houston8682-5 2. Miami 34, Buffalo 31 (Week 16) Baltimore3841+3 6. Indianapolis 31, Green Bay 26 (Week 9) Houston5144-7 Cincinnati159-7 Baltimore2814-14 Washington2831+3 Tennessee16%44%+28 Game had 58.9 total “swing” points; only teams with a playoff swing of at least 2 percentage points based on the game outcome are shown AFFECTED TEAMBEFORE GAMEAFTER GAMECHANGE Dallas56%78%+22 Minnesota6164+3 Game had 116.6 total “swing” points; only teams with a playoff swing of at least 2 percentage points based on the game outcome are shown Philadelphia3835-3 AFFECTED TEAMBEFORE GAMEAFTER GAMECHANGE Miami4145+3 Baltimore5154+3 Indianapolis3934-5 8. Dallas 30, Green Bay 16 (Week 6) Denver177-10 Indianapolis344-30 Game had 65.0 total “swing” points; only teams with a playoff swing of at least 2 percentage points based on the game outcome are shown AFFECTED TEAMBEFORE GAMEAFTER GAMECHANGE Game had 59.7 total “swing” points; only teams with a playoff swing of at least 2 percentage points based on the game outcome are shown PLAYOFF CHANCES Pittsburgh8067-13 Washington580-58 PLAYOFF CHANCES The second ultimately meaningless late-season Titans victory that briefly shook the AFC South playoff race. Better luck next year, Tennessee! PLAYOFF CHANCES PLAYOFF CHANCES Tampa Bay29<1-28 Detroit7380+7 Tennessee4542-3 Green Bay7249-22 10. New Orleans 31, Tampa Bay 24 (Week 16) 7. Pittsburgh 28, Indianapolis 7 (Week 12) Going into Week 15, the 8-5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a 54 percent chance of making the playoffs but blew it with back-to-back narrow losses to the Cowboys and Saints. Although this game didn’t technically eliminate Tampa Bay from playoff contention — the team had a very outside chance of making the playoffs in Week 17, if seven games broke their way — it more or less ended the Bucs’ playoff hopes.Check out our latest NFL predictions. read more

Blue Jackets still getting accustomed to new coachs uptempo offense

Talk in Columbus during the Blue Jackets offseason often focused on new coach Scott Arniel’s up-tempo, high-octane offensive system. Meanwhile, fans wondered if a new coach would turn the team around after one of the most disappointing seasons in franchise history. After 15 games, it’s clear that the transition from former coach Ken Hitchcock’s read-and-react style to Arniel’s is still a work in progress. Ideally, Arniel would like to push a defender up the ice to help on the attack, creating offense by controlling the puck and limiting the opponent’s space. “It’s kind of meat and potatoes, get the puck deep and get the puck on the net,” Blue Jackets center Kyle Wilson said. “The way the NHL is these days, sure you see the pretty goals on the highlight reels every day, but 95 percent of them are goals in and around the net. These days, that’s how you’re going to win hockey games.” Former Buckeye and current Blue Jackets center R.J. Umberger said the system can be fun as long as the team gets up the ice without turning over the puck. “I think that we have a lot more responsibility, and as long as we’re making smart, sound plays with the puck and protecting it, we get a leash and can go out there and do a little bit more with it,” Umberger said. The Jackets’ defense has been turning in the most impressive performances in the first 15 games. The worry with Arniel’s system is that it can lead to two-on-one breakaways for the opposition, especially when the defenders are moving up the ice and into an attacking position. Yet the team ranks 20th in the league in goals per game, with 2.7, and 10th in the league in goals against, with 2.5 per game. The Jackets are 9-6, good enough for fourth place in the competitive Western Conference Central Division. Right wing Jakub Voracek said the wins column will fill up if the team is more consistent. “We’ll play well for two or three games and then we’ll just have a blowout game,” Voracek said. “We’ve just got to figure this system out and we’ve got to play even better.” Jackets defenseman Anton Stralman agreed with Voracek’s assertion but said he likes where the team is headed under Arniel. “I think the system has been good, you know, obviously it’s getting results,” Stralman said. “We’re a better team this year than we were last year, so we just have to be more consistent and put the effort in every game.” The Jackets will start the week by traveling to Los Angeles, where they will play the Kings on Wednesday at the Staples Center. read more