D-Day: Key Ugandan facts ahead of Rio opening ceremony

first_imgGamesGoldSilverBronzeTotal  BronzeLeo Rwabwogo 1968 Mexico City BoxingMen’s flyweight Joshua Cheptegei wins at the World Juniors in 2014. He is one of Uganda’s main medal hopes.PHOTO CREDIT Erik van LeeuwenThe world’s focus turns to Brazil from Friday 23.00GMT (Saturday 02.00am Uganda) when the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics starts.Even though the nations will be read out in Portuguese alphabetical order, Uganda will still be among the last nations to enter the Maracana Stadium, Rio de Janeiro – in 200th place out of 209.The event will combine a formal ceremonial opening, including welcoming speeches, hoisting of the flags and the parade of athletes and an artistic spectacle to showcase the host nation’s culture.Under the games’ protocol, Greece always marches first while  the host country always goes last. For the rest, the parade follows alphabetical order in the local tongue—in the case of the Rio games, Portuguese. South Africa (“Africa do Sul”) moves up to the front while Uganda moves into an even later position.Swimmer  Joshua Ekirikubinza Uganda’s flag bearerUganda will have a lean team at the opening ceremony, as the bulk of the team, the track and field team are still in Uganda. The second batch of 14 leave on Sunday, while the marathoners including Olympic gold medalist Stephen Kiprotich leave a week later. Total2327 Uganda’s best bet for medalsCheptegei – Uganda’s former World and African junior 10000m champion Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei will have two chances to win his first senior medal.Cheptegei together with Juliet Chekwel, are the only Ugandan athletes doing a double and have been blessed by a  well spaced schedule. The 10000 metres finals are among the first events at Rio – with the 5000m starting four days later.Nineteen-year-old Cheptegei, has one of the fastest times in the world this year in the 5000m of 13:00.60 .Kiprotich – He travels to Rio as defending champion and although he does not hold one of the fastest times in the past year, he is in exactly a similar position he was before London.Kiprotich ended Uganda’s  40-year wait for an Olympic gold medal when he stunned Kenyans Abel Kirui and Wilson Kipsang to win the Marathon in London. Kiprotich became only the second Ugandan to win an Olympic gold medal after John Akii-Bua in Munich 1972. Boxing0314 First Ugandan in actionFirst in action for team Uganda will be light heavyweight boxer Kennedy Katende who climbs into the ring on Sunday August 7 (7pm Uganda time) against Joshua Buatasi of Great Britain. He will be followed 40 minutes later by swimmer Jamila Lunkuse who dives into the pool for the 100m breaststroke Heat 2 on Sunday August 7. 1960 Rome0000  SilverEridadi Mukwanga 1968 Mexico City BoxingMen’s bantamweight 2012 London1001 1968 Mexico City0112 1956 Melbourne0000 1976 Montrealdid not participate  SilverLeo Rwabwogo 1972 Munich BoxingMen’s flyweight Uganda’s history at the game SportGoldSilverBronzeTotal Uganda’s schedule in RioOpening ceremonyFriday, August 5 2016 (Saturday 2.00am Uganda time)Uganda’s flag bearerSwimmer – Joshua EkirikubinzaUganda’s Boxing scheduleKennedy Katende Men’s light vs Britain’s Joshua Buatazi  heavyweight August 7Ronald Serugo Men’s flyweight vs Narek Abgaryan of Armenia August 13Uganda’s Swimming scheduleSunday August 7Jamila Lunkuse 100m breaststrokeThursday August 11Joshua Ekirikubinza Men’s 50 m freestyleUganda’s Athletics scheduleFriday August 12 Day 7Women’s 10000m women finalSaturday August 13 Day 8Women’s 3000m Steeplechase round 110000m men finalSunday August 14 Day 9Women’s marathonMonday August 15 Day 10Men’s 3000m steeplechase round 1Women 3000m steeplecahse finalTuesday August 16 Day 11Women’s 5000m round 1Men’s 1500m round 1Wed August 17 Day Day 12Men’s 5000m round 1women’s 800m round 1Men’s steeplecahse finalThursday August 18 Day 13Men’s 1500m semifinalMen’s 800m semifinalFriday August 19 Day 14women’s 5000m finalSaturday August 20 Day 15Men’s 1500m finalWomen’s 800m finalMen’s 5000m finalSunday August 21 Day 16Men’s Marathon final List of medalists Medals by sport 2004 Athens0000  BronzeDavis Kamoga 1996 Atlanta AthleticsMen’s 400 metres ****What others are up to:China’s policemanChina has sent a policeman to the Rio Olympics to help protect its sporting delegation, media and travelling spectators, state-media said Thursday, after a Chinese hurdler said he had been robbed.The policeman named Shao Weimin, whose official title is temporary police communication officer, arrived in Rio two months ago to prepare for his role, the Beijing News reported.No Pele showBrazil football legend Pele said poor health will prevent him from lighting the Olympic cauldron at the Games’ opening ceremony on Friday as he had hoped to do.“Dear friends, only God is more important than my health!” the 75-year-old said in a statement published by Brazilian media.ProtestsThousands of Brazilians launched angry anti-Olympics protests hours before Friday’s Rio Games opening ceremony in fury at political scandals rattling the host country and the billions spent on the event.Waving signs reading “No to the Olympics!”, a crowd of about 3,000 blocked an avenue outside the luxury Copacabana Palace Hotel where many Olympic athletes are staying.Moroccan boxer heldBrazilian police arrested a Moroccan Olympic boxer on Friday for allegedly sexually assaulting two female cleaners in the athletes’ village in Rio de Janeiro.Officers arrested Hassan Saada, 22, from Casablanca, on suspicion of committing the assault on Wednesday, said a police statement released hours ahead of the Games’ opening ceremony. Uganda’s team of 21Uganda’s team to Rio comprises 17 track and field athletes, two swimmers and two boxers.  Swimmers are Jamila Lunkuse 100m breaststroke, Joshua Ekirikubinza Men’s 50 m freestyle and boxers Kennedy Katende light heavyweight, Ronald Serugo flyweight.Athletics has Juliet Chekwel 5000m/10000m; Stella Chesang 5000m; Peruth Chemutai 3000m steeplechase;  Halimah Nakaayi, Winnie Nanyondo 800m; Adero Nyakisi marathon; Jacob Araptany and Benjamin Kiplagat 3000 m steeplechase; Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei 5000m/ 10000 m; Phillip Kipyego and Jacob Kiplimo 5000m; Jackson Kiprop, Stephen Kiprotich,  Solomon Mutai Marathon;  Ronald Musagala 1500m; Moses Kurong and Timothy Toroitich 10000m  SilverJohn Mugabi 1980 Moscow BoxingMen’s welterweight 2008 Beijing0000 Athletics2013 1988 Seoul0000 Total2327 1984 Los Angeles0000  GoldStephen Kiprotich 2012 London AthleticsMen’s marathon 1980 Moscow0101  GoldJohn Akii-Bua 1972 Munich AthleticsMen’s 400 metre hurdles 1992 Barcelona0000 MedalNameGamesSportEvent 1972 Munich1102 1964 Tokyo0000 2000 Sydney0000 1996 Atlanta0011 US agents all eyesThey stand discreetly in the shadows, eyes keenly on the look-out, as women’s world number one tennis star Serena Williams perfects her blistering forehand at the Rio Olympics.Their presence is low key, but the United States has a team of Diplomatic Security (DS) personnel in Brazil serving in support roles with under-the-cosh local forces.Security has been a major talking point at the Games, which officially open on Friday, with athletes, officials, fans and media from numerous countries reporting they have been victims of crime.LIVEOpening ceremony#OpeningCeremony TweetsShare on: WhatsApplast_img read more

Sea Bright Council To Offer Beach Tag Refunds

first_imgBy Liz SheehanSEA BRIGHT – An attempt by some Borough Council members to delay the introduction of metered paid parking for beachgoers until 2017 was defeated at the council’s May 3 meeting.Council President Jack Keeler asked for a vote to have the council consider amending a proposed ordinance to move ahead with installing the parking system for this beach season. Keeler’s amendment called for the paid parking system to be put in place next year.Council members Brian Kelly, Charles Rooney III and Marc Leckstein voted against considering Keeler’s amendment while Peggy Bills, John Lamia, Jr. and Keeler voted for it.Mayor Dina Long broke the tie with her vote not to consider Keeler’s amendment.“I don’t want to kick the can down the road,” Long said after her vote.Keeler has said he supports the parking plan but believes the town should spend more time studying it before putting it in place.But the council approval was unanimous of a resolution concerning the new parking program which authorized refunding the fees of those who bought beach badges and lockers “prior to the Council’s approval of the paid parking system” at its meeting on April 19.The refunds will be issued for five business days beginning Monday, May 16 through Friday, May 20, the resolution said.The cost of a season’s beach pass for an adult is $100, which covers Memorial Day to Labor Day. The dollar an hour parking fee being considered for the 99-day beach season could cause a considerable increase in the price of spending time at the beach.Borough Administrator Joseph Verruni said today it does not have contact information for the badge buyers, but the borough would seek to alert them to refunds through notices on the borough web site, Facebook page and those who signed up on the email list. “We’re going to give it our best shot,” he said.Long also had the tie-breaking vote on another matter, the ordinance setting the conditions for the parking plan. She first said no, and said she wanted to wait to decide on the issues until after a meeting with business owners and the vendor for the parking system on Wednesday, May 11, so she could hear the concerns and suggestions of the business owners. These would be part of a discussion on that meeting at the council workshop the next morning, before action on the parking plan details is taken, she said.But Long voted yes when the ordinance was amended to state that the parking fee would be set each year by the council. The vote again was 3-3, with Rooney, Kelly and Leckstein voting for the ordinance and Bills, Keeler and Lamia against it.“I don’t think we’re going to get it right this year,” Long said, acknowledging the concerns expressed by businesses and residents about the metered parking.“Bring these concerns to us before the rules are adopted,” she said.“I personally don’t like it,” Long said regarding metered parking after the meeting in April approving the purchase of a system to install paid parking in the town. She said she avoided going to towns that had such a system. But Long said the residents of the borough were going to be carrying a heavy tax burden to pay to restore the town’s buildings lost in Sandy. The parking fees would be a help with that burden, she said.At a previous council meeting, Councilman Brian Kelly said the estimated cost to replace the Borough Hall, fire house, police headquarters, library and beach facilities building was $14 million with the town receiving about $7.3 million from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds and insurance. He said that the costs of the new buildings to the borough would be reduced by the fees from the planned beach parking fees, and cell tower.He estimated that the borough would gain between $95,000 to $133,000 a year from the paid parking.last_img read more

Gavina blows his top after yet another Kia loss: ‘I’m tired of this’

first_imgUPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension MOST READ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Read Next Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’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 Games LATEST STORIES SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH “There’d be no more Mr. Nice Guy. If I have to hold practice with eight or nine guys so be it, everyone else who doesn’t want to be there can stay the hell home because that’s the message that will be sent. I’m tired of this [expletive].”center_img WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding Kia import Johnson goes back to drawing board after subpar debut “The [expletive] will be called out the next practice, there’s going to be some changes.”The final score, though, was a mere fraction of Gavina’s frustrations as the Picanto trailed 70-31 by halftime and even looked at an 86-37 mountain in the third period.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 shutoutBlackwater was also relentless on the three-point arc hitting 19 against the sorry defense of the Picanto, who managed to sink just eight threes.“These guys are putting other people’s livelihoods on the line, including mine and I do not like being embarrassed,” said Gavina. “It was just ridiculous how much these guys are taking for granted the amount of trust I’m putting in.” Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netANTIPOLO—Kia head coach Chris Gavina did not hold back when expressing his grievances over how his players conducted themselves in their 118-97 loss to Blackwater in the PBA Governor’s Cup.“I told the management that I think I’ve been as nice as I could possibly could to handle what’s going on,” said Gavina Friday at Ynares Center here in Antipolo. “I’m tired of seeing the body language these players have coming into practices and games, you can see guys have checked out and I’m tired of it.”ADVERTISEMENT Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games View commentslast_img read more

10 days agoMan Utd academy chief Parry explains loan club selection

first_imgTagsTransfersLoan MarketAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Man Utd academy chief Parry explains loan club selectionby Paul Vegas10 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United academy player performance manager Les Parry admits they’re careful with the clubs they select for their loan players.Parry has discussed the process that United staff members go through before deciding upon a destination.He said: “We draw up a player’s needs before we start the process.”I’m not kidding that we tick every box, because we can’t, but there have been a few clubs for one or two players, that we didn’t think were suitable.”On the face of it, it might look a good move, but we didn’t think it was, for one reason or another, so we looked elsewhere.” last_img read more

Rio Tinto closely watching industry impact of US sanctions on Russian rival

first_imgMONTREAL – The head of Rio Tinto’s aluminum division said Tuesday he is closely watching the industry impact of U.S. sanctions on its Russian rival, Rusal, one of the world’s largest aluminum suppliers.The United States Treasury Department on Friday announced sanctions against seven leading Russian businessmen, 17 officials and a dozen Russian companies, including the aluminum giant. Rusal shares have dropped by more than half since the sanctions were announced, and the company has warned it may technically default.“It’s a bit early yet to speculate on exactly how this is going to work out and what impact it’s going to have on the whole industry,” Rio Tinto aluminum chief executive Alf Barrios said in an interview.“What is clear is that Rusal is a significant supplier of aluminum to the world and clearly we’ll have to evaluate this in detail and understand exactly how we’re going to manage our business.”Industry observers believe London-based mining giant Rio Tinto is among the main beneficiaries from actions taken Friday as part of the U.S. administration’s attempt to punish Russia for actions including activities in Syria, Ukraine and Crimea.Global aluminum prices have risen as the sanctions have fuelled concerns over supply.The sanctions against Russia come as the U.S. is also escalating a trade war with China, partially by imposing aluminum tariffs on the Asian superpower and a host of other countries, from which Canada is temporarily exempt.Barrios said he expects “common sense” will prevail when it comes to Canada’s current exemption from American tariffs on the metal.Donald Trump announced tariffs on steel and aluminum imports last month using the so-called “Section 232” of U.S. trade laws that allows the U.S. president to restrict imports and impose unlimited tariffs if a Commerce Department investigation finds a national security threat.He gave temporary exemptions to Canada, Mexico, Australia, Argentina, South Korea, Brazil, and the member countries of the EU and suggested that a final decision on tariffs against its North American neighbours could be dependent on successful NAFTA talks. The steel and aluminum tariff exemption for Canada that is set to expire April 30.The deadline happens to coincide with a timeline suggested as the deadline for finalizing a new NAFTA this year. Negotiators are reportedly close to hammering out a deal.He said a U.S. decision to include Canada in the tariff would not be appropriate because Canada is considered part of the North American defence manufacturing base and supply chains are closely intertwined.“We continue to be confident that at the end common sense will prevail but what’s important for us is to work closely with the governments and the customers to ensure that we continue to maintain the highly efficient, highly-integrated supply chain between the two countries.”Barrios said it’s too early to determine the global impact of 10 per cent aluminum tariffs applied against many countries, but added that the best thing for American aluminum consumers is to have access to high quality, low carbon aluminum produced in Canada using clean hydro power.He believes the Canadian government’s steps to crack down on companies that try to ship cheap foreign steel and aluminum through the domestic market was well-received by the U.S. administration, industry and customers.Earlier Tuesday, Rio Tinto became the first company in the world to receive Aluminium Stewardship Initiative certification for its environmental, social and governance practices at its smelters in Quebec and Australian bauxite mine.Although he doesn’t expect Rio Tinto’s aluminum will immediately secure a pricing premium, Barrios said it will give a competitive advantage to its Quebec assets from customers who he said will increasingly demand the certification.Follow @RossMarowits on Twitter.last_img read more

BC Coroners Service releases updated data on illicit drug overdoses for March

first_imgVICTORIA, B.C. – The B.C. Coroners Service has released reports looking at illicit drug overdose deaths and fentanyl-detected deaths for March 2019.According to the report, in March there were 104 suspected drug overdose deaths from across the Province.Within the Northeast, so far this year, there have been five reported drug overdose deaths. When it comes to fentanyl-detected deaths, across the Province there were 82 deaths in March.Within Northeastern B.C., during the month of March, there were five reported fentanyl-detected deaths.According to the Coroners Service, the report excludes deaths if the fentanyl was known to be prescribed or the death was suspected to be due to intentional self-harm.The BCCS says the data was compiled to better understand overall illicit drug overdose trends in B.C. and to inform other agencies’ public safety strategies in a timely manner.Since the 2019 data reported is for only up until March 31, data should be interpreted with caution and is subject to change as investigations conclude.For more information on these reports, you can visit the Government of B.C.’s website.last_img read more

A lot at stake for BJP in first phase LS polls

first_imgNew Delhi: As voters cast their ballot in the first phase of Lok Sabha polls for 91 seats across 18 states and two union territories, it is the Bharatiya Janata Party that has a lot at stake. It had won 32 of these seats in 2014. The Congress fared poorly in the last parliamentary elections and could win only seven of these 91 seats. Five of its seats came from the North-East where the BJP has considerably consolidated its position in the last five years. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details The battle is tough for the BJP in Uttar Pradesh, where it had won all the eight seats that have to the polls today. This time, the party faces challenge from the coalition of Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal. Analysts say it will be difficult for the BJP to repeat its 2014 performance. In Uttarakhand, where BJP had won all the five seats in 2014, the party faces strong candidates from Congress, including former Chief Minister Harish Rawat and Manish Khanduri, son of former Union Minister Major General B.C. Khanduri. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday The “nationalism” narrative of the BJP seems to be a strong factor in the hills which has a large population of ex-servicemen and those serving in the uniformed forces. The BJP faces a stronger challenge in Assam with its stand on the Citizenship Amendment Bill which has been opposed by its allies. The Asom Gana Parishad, its ally in Assam, is opposed to the Bill which finds a mention in the BJP manifesto. In Bihar, BJP had won three of the four seats going to the polls and is now contesting one. The BJP and its ally Shiv Sena had in 2014 won all the seven seats going to polls in the first phase in Maharashtra, but the BJP later lost one seat. The first phase election will decide the fate of six Union Ministers — Nitin Gadkari (Nagpur), Hansraj Ahir (Chandrapur), General V.K. Singh (Ghaziabad), Mahesh Sharma (Gautam Buddha Nagar), Satyapal Singh (Baghpat) and Kiren Rijiju (Arunachal West). As it tries to retain its seats, BJP will also be seeking to gain in two seats each in West Bengal, Manipur and Tripura. The Congress is hopeful of scaling up its numbers from seven particular from Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Assam and Uttarakhand. The BJP and Congress are not seen as major players in Andhra Pradesh, which is undergoing both Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. BJP spokesperson Bizay Sonkar Shastri said the party will improve its performance compared to the last Lok Sabha polls. “Nationalism is a factor. The people continue to have faith in Modiji. Various government programmes have taken off, making an impact among communities seen to be loyal to other parties,” Shastri told IANS. He said there was “a visible wave” last time but this time it “is an inner current”. Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha said the party will do “much better than last time.” Prominent leaders whose fate will be decided in the first phase are Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s daughter K. Kavitha (Nizamabad), Former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi’s son Gaurav Gogoi (Kalibor), Union Minister Ramvilas Paswan’s son Chirag Paswan (Jamui) and AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi (Hyderabad). In Tura, former Union Minister Agatha Sangma is fighting former Chief Minister Mukul Sangma of Congress.last_img read more

Ghaziabad man shot at in broad day light

first_imgGhaziabad: A 19-year-old, son of a plastic scrap trader, was allegedly shot in broad daylight by unidentified bike borne assailants in Vijay Nagar area of Ghaziabad on Friday. Victim’s kin alleged a group of people in their neighbouring area have committed the crime in order to take revenge.According to police, the incident occurred around 2:30 pm at a flyover near Vijay Nagar by pass. The victim identified as Salman, a native of Haj house colony in Hindon Vihar area of Ghaziabad, was returning from Chaar Moorti roundabout in Greater Noida when the incident took place. Shabban, victim’s father told Millennium Post that few passerby took Salman to nearby MMG hospital by an OLA cab. “I was informed by one of the eyewitnesses who also took Salman to the hospital. They told me that they had made several calls to police helpline number but the help was not received so they took him to hospital by an OLA cab. The assailants might have tried to kill him but the bullet has hit his thigh. Also his belongings are missing which include three gold rings, a watch and cash,” said Shabban. He further alleged some people living in neighbouring area to have committed the crime in order to take revenge. “Around fifteen days ago, we had scuffle with a group of people living in neighbouring area in which my another son had received critical head injuries. We reported the matter to police and both the parties were presented before the magistrate where a settlement was made. However, on Thursday evening, cops held Salman while he was going to market and also seized his motorcycle and mobile phone. Salman was released later in night and we got the motorcycle released on Friday afternoon and just a couple of hours later, we received information about Salman’s getting shot at the flyover,” added Shabban. He also alleged police to have been involved with the other party and said that the incident could have been averted if police have acted on out first complaint of fight. Meanwhile police officials said that they are waiting for the victim to gain consciousness to record his statement to lodge an FIR. “Victim’s condition is stable now while we are yet to record statement. An FIR will be registered into the case while investigations will be done covering all the possible angles” said Shyamveer Singh, Station House officer of Vijay Nagar police station.last_img read more

The Week 17 Games That Actually Matter

Tampa Bay 8-7<1 Oakland 12-316 Detroit 9-671% Green Bay 9-670 Technically four teams are alive in the NFC playoff hunt. But putting Tampa Bay aside for a moment — their path to the playoffs requires a tie and is thus hugely unlikely — the Week 17 picture is actually pretty simple. N.Y. Giants (41 percent to win) at Washington (59 percent) kicks off at 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday. Washington is in with a win, as long as Green Bay (49 percent) at Detroit (51 percent) doesn’t end in a tie in the evening game. Both the Packers and Lions advance on a win, a tie or a Washington loss.So what’s Tampa Bay’s deal? The Buccaneers can make the playoffs in a tiebreaker against Washington and Green Bay, which means they need to beat Carolina, have Green Bay lose to Detroit, and have Washington tie the Giants. This isn’t quite enough, though; in order to actually win the tiebreaker they also need San Francisco to beat Seattle, Dallas to beat Philadelphia, Tennessee to beat Houston, and Indianapolis to beat Jacksonville to gain a narrow strength of victory edge over Green Bay.2Washington would get eliminated first from the tiebreak on conference record. So why, savvy fans might ask, is Tampa Bay eliminated with a Washington loss? It’s actually the Giants’ record that matters here: Green Bay beat the Giants earlier in the season, so if the Giants beat Washington instead of tying them then Green Bay’s strength of victory will be too high for Tampa Bay to catch. You can check out their path using the game selection feature in our NFL predictions. Good luck, Bucs fans!An NFC first-round bye Atlanta 10-578% Oakland is a game up here, but Kansas City has the tiebreak and the easier week 17 matchup. Relevant games are Oakland (47 percent) at Denver (53 percent) and Kansas City (75 percent) at San Diego (25 percent). The Raiders clinch with a win or a tie, Kansas City needs a win and an Oakland loss.We currently give Oakland a 60 percent chance of getting the bye, but there’s a twist. Raiders QB Derek Carr is now out for the season with a broken leg, a fact that our Elo ratings — which are based only on game results — doesn’t “know.” This may seem like a big blind spot, and in many ways it is, but it’s easy to overestimate the impact that even the top QBs can make on game probabilities.4Remember when we were wondering how the Patriots would survive their first-four Brady-less games? By Elo we have the Raiders as one-point underdogs in Denver, which is very close to the Vegas line.AFC home field advantage TEAMCHANCE Week 16 was a decisive one for the NFL, with six teams clinching playoff spots and eight getting eliminated. Many of the results that would have added chaos to the playoff race — Minnesota over Green Bay, Buffalo over Miami, Baltimore over Pittsburgh, Denver over Kansas City — fell through. This makes Week 17, unfortunately, a bit of a drag.For the last several weeks, we’ve used our NFL predictions model to generate a “playoff swing” for every game, based on how different outcomes would affect the playoff chances of every team in the league. These calculations are useful when the playoff scenarios are complicated, as they invariably are with several weeks to go in the season. But Week 17’s outcomes are a lot simpler; you don’t need to run 100,000 simulations to learn that Washington will get eliminated with a loss on Sunday.So for this final week we’ll abandon our usual format.1If you’re curious, N.Y. Giants-Washington is the biggest game of the week, with a playoff swing of 200 points spread between Washington, Detroit and Green Bay. It’s bigger than Packers-Lions because that game, unless it ends in a tie, does not affect Washington’s chances. Instead of measuring which games matter the most we’ll look which games matter at all, based on the major postseason outcomes that are still undecided.Two NFC playoff spots Dallas has already locked up a bye and home field advantage, leaving a three-team race for bye No. 2. New Orleans (24 percent) at Atlanta (76 percent), Seattle (82 percent) at San Francisco (18 percent) and the aforementioned Green Bay at Detroit are the games that matter here. Ignoring unlikely (and tedious) tie scenarios, Atlanta clinches a first-round bye if they win, or if both Seattle and Detroit lose. Seattle needs a win and an Atlanta loss, and Detroit needs a win and both of its rivals to lose.3Play around with some ties yourself on our NFL predictions page! Green Bay-Detroit is probably more likely to end in a tie than your typical game, because both teams are guaranteed to advance on a tie, which could hypothetically lead to some extremely silly and low-risk overtime strategy. TEAMCHANCE Detroit 9-62 An AFC first-round bye Washington 8-6-158 Oakland 12-360% New England 13-284% TEAMCHANCE Seattle 9-5-120 TEAMCHANCE Kansas City 11-440 AFC home field advantage is New England’s to lose. New England (65 percent) at Miami (35 percent) and Oakland at Denver are the games to watch; the Patriots clinch the top seed with a win or tie, or an Oakland loss or tie. If they lose and Oakland wins, the Raiders take the top spot on tiebreak with a 5-0 record against common opponents (Baltimore, Buffalo, Denver, Houston).Check out our latest NFL predictions. read more

Ohio States defense might be hitting its stride as season ending

The conversation about Ohio State’s defense is changing inside and outside the huddle. The Buckeyes, which limited a hapless, anemic Illinois offense to 170 yards in a 52-22 shellacking on Saturday, moved to 10-0 and one step closer to the program’s first undefeated season since 2002. And while the Illini’s own incompetence and 118th national ranking in total offense might have helped OSU’s Silver Bullets, sophomore linebacker Ryan Shazier said the talk in the huddle among members of the once much-maligned defense is different than what it was before. “It just got a lot easier to talk to each other, everybody’s gonna have each other accountable for everything,” said Shazier, who was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after a 14-tackle outing Saturday. “Now when we go in the huddle, we don’t talk about ‘Don’t let the big play happen, don’t let this, don’t let that’ – we just go in there talking about ‘We need a turnover, three-and-out, get the offense the ball.’” This just might be reflective of a defense coming of age, particularly after surrendering 49 points on the road against a now 4-5 Indiana squad. Though the Buckeyes left Bloomington, Ind., with a shaky 52-49 win, first-year coach Urban Meyer approached the contest’s postgame press conference arguably as disgusted as he’d been all season. Meyer even hinted at taking a more active role in a defense that had given up 87 points in back-to-back weeks. But now? After allowing 22 and 23 points in wins against Purdue and at Penn State, respectively, Meyer said improvement on the defense’s part has been evident. “Ever since the Indiana debacle in the second half, I’ve seen pretty much four-to-six seconds,” Meyer said regarding the level of effort he’s come to expect out of the Buckeyes. “And I see a lot of hard coaching going on. And that’s what I expect out of our staff.” It’s a line Meyer’s used since he came to Columbus in Nov. 2011-4-6 seconds, he said, of relentless effort, relentless pursuit on every play of every game. By the former Florida coach’s calculations, it’s enough to win football games. OSU cornerback redshirt sophomore Bradley Roby said the defense is getting back to that pillar of Meyer’s coaching philosophy. “Since the Indiana game we had a lot of serious meetings and we had to get it done on defense, and that’s what we’ve been doing lately,” he said. Like Meyer, Roby said the game against the Hoosiers was a “wake up call.” “We were like, ‘Man, we’re way better than this.’ Ever since then we been practicing harder and playing harder and it’s been showing,” Roby said. Arguably, such progression had never been so apparent before Saturday in a game which saw OSU secure more first downs (32) than the Illini had points. In reality, OSU’s defense gave up just 14 points, considering eight of Illinois’ points came off a 77-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown late in the game’s fourth quarter. Illini junior quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase mustered just 96 yards and an interception against an OSU front-seven that harassed him from start to finish. “From what I saw he was just running around all day,” Roby said. While Scheelhaase was sacked twice, the Buckeyes’ defensive line appeared to be getting enough of a push to allow its linebackers, Shazier included, to slam the door shut on runs to the outside and entrench themselves against short, dump-off passes over the middle. “It’s pretty fun when the coaches let the team loose and let us go after the ball,” Shazier said. “I’ve been playing like this mentality for all my life, see ball, get ball.” That aggressiveness, however, might only be made possible because of a more aware defense. OSU assistant head coach and co-defensive coordinator Everett Withers said players are comprehending, perhaps now more than ever, what’s happening on any given play. “The biggest deal is I think our kids in the back seven are starting to understand when we get this formation, these are the two or three things that will happen,” Withers said. “Everybody’s recognizing exactly what they need to see in that formation.” And if Illinois is any indication, it might be working. “We knew exactly what was coming before they even ran it sometimes,” Shazier said. With a bye this weekend, OSU travels to Wisconsin on Nov. 17 for its second-to-last game of the 2012 season. read more