Premier League clubs linked with Murphy

first_imgThe west London-related transfer gossip in Wednesday’s newspapers…Premier League clubs are interested in signing Josh Murphy from Norwich City, according to the Daily Mirror.The 23-year-old from Wembley, whose twin brother was Jacob was sold to Newcastle last summer for £12m, has impressed for the Canaries this season.The Mirror say Josh is attracting interest from Leicester, Bournemouth and Crystal Palace.The newspaper say Norwich could be forced to sell Murphy and highly-rated midfielder James Maddison this summer.Embed from Getty ImagesMurphy, from Wembley, has been linked with various clubs in recent monthsMeanwhile, Chelsea youngster Martell Taylor-Crossdale is wanted by Charlton and Fleetwood, according to the Daily Mail.The 18-year-old striker has scored 20 goals this season, having got 22 last term, and a number of EFL clubs have shown an interest.The Mail claim Chelsea are “facing a fight” to keep Taylor-Crossdale and that League One clubs Charlton and Fleetwood are leading a chase to sign him. Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebookby Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksRecommended for youAspireAbove.comRemember Pauley Perrette? Try Not To Smile When You See Her NowAspireAbove.comUndoLifestly.com25 Celebs You Didn’t Realize Are Gay – No. 8 Will Surprise WomenLifestly.comUndoUsed Cars | Search AdsUsed Cars in Tuen Mun Might Be Cheaper Than You ThinkUsed Cars | Search AdsUndoTopCars15 Ugliest Cars Ever MadeTopCarsUndoezzin.com20 Breathtaking Places to See Before You Dieezzin.comUndoFood World Magazine15 Fruits that Burn Fat Like CrazyFood World MagazineUndoDrhealth35 Foods That Should Never Be Placed in the RefrigeratorDrhealthUndoHappyTricks.comHer House Always Smells Amazing – Try her Unique Trick!HappyTricks.comUndolast_img read more

Assessing Evolutionary Explanations

first_imgNo matter the biological discovery, evolutionists are ready with their explanations.  The explanations, however, are often riddled with puzzles, surprises, and seemingly arbitrary appeals to chance.  Do such explanations really provide more understanding than those of creationists, who explain that living things were designed for a purpose?Shrimp deal:  “Many deep-sea species have close relatives living in shallow, relatively warm water, but how shallow-water species were initially able to cope with the huge hydrostatic pressures of the deep ocean is poorly understood,” said a researcher at the University of Southampton.  According to PhysOrg, the team studied closely-related shrimp that live in shallow waters and near deep-sea vents – environments with astonishing differences in pressure and temperature.    The observations merely demonstrated that these shrimp can live in either environment.  Their evolutionary explanation had to invoke an unobserved ancestor: “These physiological capabilities were probably inherited from an ancestral species shared by both shallow-water and related vent species.”    The explanation, however, begs the question of how the putative ancestor gained the ability to survive both environments in the first place.  And if the living species have that ability, what has been explained?  Evolutionary theory appears to be a superfluous appendage to an observation that the shrimp are designed to survive in a wide variety of conditions.Hunt for and gather a story:  We have a mystery.  “One of the most complex human mysteries involves how and why we became an outlier species in terms of biological success” – particularly, why are human hunter-gatherer cultures so different from those of other primates?  PhysOrg again came to the rescue to explain the mystery and deliver understanding, this time from scientists at the University of Arizona “who study hunter-gatherer societies”.  The article promised their work is “informing the issue by suggesting that human ancestral social structure may be the root of cumulative culture and cooperation and, ultimately, human uniqueness.”    Clearly humans had ancestors, and some of them hunted and gathered – as some cultures do today.  At first glance this explanation (actually just a suggestion) seems like a tautology; early humans had a unique ancestral social structure that gave birth to a modern unique social structure.  The ASU team, intent on deriving human uniqueness from other primates, studied 32 modern foraging tribes, and found the obvious: they identified “human hunter-gatherer group structure as unique among primates.”    But how did they get that way?  That’s the evolutionary question.  “The increase in human network size over other primates may explain why humans evolved an emphasis on social learning that results in cultural transmission,” Professor Kim Hill offered.  “Likewise, the unique composition of human ancestral groups promotes cooperation among large groups of non-kin, something extremely rare in nature.”  Humans are unique because they evolved to be unique.  Is that what he just said?The hand is quicker than the stone:  “Stone Tools Influenced Hand Evolution in Human Ancestors, Anthropologists Say.”  That’s a headline on Science Daily that claims research at University of Kent “confirmed Charles Darwin’s speculation that the evolution of unique features in the human hand was influenced by increased tool use in our ancestors.”  But did the tools shape the hand, or did the hand shape the tools?    Here’s the data: “Research over the last century has certainly confirmed the existence of a suite of features in the bones and musculature of the human hand and wrist associated with specific gripping and manipulatory capabilities that are different from those of other extant great apes.”  Then, the explanation: “These features have fuelled suggestions that, at some point since humans split from the last common ancestor of living apes, the human hand evolved away from features adapted for locomotion toward alternative functions.”    A creationist reading this is going to reject the assumption that humans split from a common ancestor.  What can evolutionists argue as evidence for their view?  One of the them at U of Kent put forward the possibility that the human hand “may have been subject to natural selection as a result of using simple cutting tools.”  But why would a primate use tools without the equipment to do it?  And what about a stone causes a hand to evolve?  New Caledonian crows have probably been using tools longer than evolutionists think humans have, but their beaks do not appear to be changing much from those of other birds (see 05/26/2009 and links).    Somehow, their “may have” suggestion evolved into a triumph for Darwin:Dr [Stephen] Lycett, Senior Lecturer in Human Evolution at the University’s School of Anthropology and Conservation, explained: ‘140 years ago, writing from his home at Down House in Kent, Darwin proposed that the use of stone tools may have influenced the evolution of human hands.    ‘Our research suggests that he was correct.  From a very early stage in our evolution, the cultural behaviour of our ancestors was influencing biological evolution in specific ways.’Did the cultural behavior influence the evolution of the hand, or did the hand influence the cultural behavior?  Or did both evolve together?  In any of these cases, it is not clear that the observations about the uniqueness of the human hand have been explained at all.Progress in size:  Researchers at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center have convinced themselves that “Evolution Drives Many Plants and Animals to Be Bigger, Faster,” reported Science Daily.  The challenge, though, is whether they could convince a nonbeliever in evolution with their explanation.    “Organisms with bigger bodies or faster growth rates tend to live longer, mate more and produce more offspring, whether they are deer or damselflies, the authors report.”  So far, a correlation between size and fecundity is all they’ve served up.  Whether lizards, snakes, insects and plants, the organisms in their sample of 100 species (as found in the literature on natural selection) displayed a “very widespread pattern” appearing to support the claim that “larger body size and earlier seasonal timing – such as earlier breeding, blooming or hatching – confer significant survival advantages.”    Questions arise immediately from this explanation, though: why doesn’t every animal and plant evolve to get bigger and faster over time?  And why were so many extinct species much larger than their modern counterparts?  If a prey animal gets bigger, but its predator simultaneously grows bigger and faster, has the prey animal won any survival advantage? (see “Slippage on the treadmill,” 03/17/2003).  Another question: why don’t animals converge on a Goldilocks model – a medium size?  The authors themselves were puzzled by that.  “If organisms are supposedly well-adapted to their particular circumstances, then why is it so seldom the case that the individuals that survive and reproduce the best are the ones that are not too small, nor too big, but just right?”    Their initial explanation, therefore, required several auxiliary explanations.  “The authors explored three possible explanations,” they said: (1) size is costly, (2) environments fluctuate (think Darwin’s finches), and (3) “A third possibility is that natural selection drives one trait in one direction, while simultaneously driving another, genetically correlated trait in the opposite direction.”  Perhaps this could be dubbed the “House divided against itself cannot evolve” theory.    The problem with composite explanations, though, is figuring which one is the right one.  If your doctor tells you your weight gain is caused by (1) lack of self-control, (2) genes, or (3) cancer, you would demand to know which one matters most.  Composite explanations, further, violate Ockham’s Razor (see Ockham, Jan 2010 Scientist of the Month).  Unless evolutionists come forward with a primary cause for the effect that can also explain the exceptions, it seems doubtful they’ve explained anything.Your inner tumor:  Surely one of the most bizarre explanations offered by evolutionists recently is in the title of a story on New Scientist: “Tumours could be the ancestors of animals.”  According to writer Colin Barras, this is “the idea that cancer is our most distant animal ancestor, a ‘living fossil’ from over 600 million years ago.”  According Barras, Charles Lineweaver and Paul Davies have put forward the notion that “cancer is not simply linked to the evolution of animals – it was the earliest animals.”    As justification, the evolutionists showcased a tumor’s ability to evade the immune system and to generate blood vessels (angiogenesis).  Understandably, though, “Reactions to Lineweaver and Davies’s idea vary from cautious enthusiasm to outright scepticism,” one calling it an “imaginative metaphor,” another, “a step too far.”  “There is no evidence to believe that the ability to develop blood vessels is an ancient feature of animals,” a critic said.    In response, Lineweaver used evolution to justify evolution: “Fully developed angiogenesis had to have evolved from proto-angiogenesis,” he said.  “I think it’s clear that some form of proto-angiogenesis was very important for the earliest animals.”    How or why “proto-angiogenesis” (whatever that is) would have evolved in some unobserved ancestor incapable of understanding why it would be “very important” some day is left as an exercise in imaginative metaphor.In the heady days of logical positivism (around the 1930s), Carl Hempel attempted to eliminate anecdotal explanations in science and replace them with deductive logic.  To him, it was essential for an explanation to refer to natural laws and initial conditions such that the result had to happen.  Subsequent philosophers have undermined that vision.  Hempel’s “covering law model” leaves out too many favored explanations, and simultaneously legitimizes some quack explanations.  His model left biologists with “physics envy,” because clear laws of nature are hard to come by in biology.  There are too many variables and complexities to be able to predict or retrodict events in natural history with deductive logic appealing to laws of nature.    Nevertheless, it would appear desirable that scientific explanations aspire to more than ad hoc stories, complex explanations requiring multiple auxiliary hypotheses, composite explanations, mere suggestions, or tautologies (such as “things are as they are because they were as they were” – an explanation that works in reverse just as well).  If the evolutionary explanation reduces to “stuff happens,” or things evolve because they evolve, then alternatives like intelligent design would seem to have grounds for competing in the marketplace of explanation.The Darwin Storytelling Empire is a corrupt racket.  It’s long overdue to expose their pretensions to providing superior scientific explanations.  That’s why you read Creation-Evolution Headlines.  All the other clueless news media just parrot the myths emanating from the clueless Darwinists, with no critical analysis whatsoever, thinking they have done their job.  Their product is as empty as a balloon held aloft by hot fogma.  (For definition of fogma, see the 05/14/2007 commentary).    What about science in general?  In the late 20th century after logical positivism collapsed, philosophers of science were left wondering if scientific explanation was even possible.  Some, like van Fraassen, concluded that explanation was not even the business of science.  Describing useful patterns in experience in more and more detail was sufficient, he said; leave explanation to others, because it gets into metaphysics.  But where does that leave the presumed epistemic superiority of science over the humanities, philosophy, or even theology?  Why should science get an elevated status in the academy and popular culture if it cannot explain why the world is the way it is?    The key insight that undermines the Darwin explanatory program is that explanation requires presuppositions in the conceptual realm: the need for knowledge, truth, ethics, honesty, logic, universality and consistency.  None of those things can be derived from evolutionary naturalism.  When you hear an evolutionist assuming any of these things, you know he or she is cheating.  Theology provides the only grounds for reasoning toward true truth about a real reality.  When enough people employ the two-pronged attack on Darwinism (exposing their vacuous explanations and their pilfering of theological presuppositions), there may be hope of toppling the corrupt Darwin Storytelling regime (12/22/2003 commentary).(Visited 12 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Ohio Legislature changes transfer on death designations following certain life events

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Many Ohioans choose to avoid the probate process by using a transfer on death designation. Since 2000, Ohio has permitted property owners to use transfer on death designations to transfer property upon the owner’s death. Since 2009, Ohio law has required property owners to make transfer on death designations by using an affidavit instead of a survivorship deed. Under a new Ohio law, transfer on death affidavits may automatically terminate after certain life events.The new changes took effect on December 13, 2016 when the Governor signed Senate Bill 232 into law. Under Senate Bill 232, a transfer on death designation made either by a deed or by an affidavit to an owner’s spouse terminates if the property owner obtains a divorce, dissolution, or annulment.  The new law applies to new and pre-existing transfer on death designations.Because the law applies to pre-existing transfer on death designations, it may be a good time for property owners to revisit their estate plans. Property owners should be aware of the effect of divorce, dissolution, or annulment on their transfer on death designations.The Ohio Legislative Service Commission’s analysis of Senate Bill 232 is available at: information on transfer on death designations is available from the Ohio State Bar Association at: more from Hall click here.last_img read more

Embedded Document MetaData

first_imgThere was a blog here a few months back about PDF/A, a version of Adobe’s PDF file format that is intended to be used for long-term document archival.  AIIM recently updated their FAQ about PDF/A, and it provides good information.One interesting capability included as part of PDF/A (ISO 19005-1) is that it includes Adobe XMP Metadata.  Adobe announced XMP in September, 2001 and currently Adobe uses the technology in all component products of their Adobe Create Suite.  The concept of XMP is similar to how Microsoft Office products automatically capture and allow the assignment of metadata to files being authored.  The basis for XMP is in the W3C’s Resource Description Framework (RDF). Metadata embedded directly into files allow files to be ‘self-describing’, and embedded metadata can help you easily file, locate, identify and distinguish between similarly named files.Automatic embedding of metadata into files by capture devices like scanners and digital cameras is fairly standard.  Usually information like date/time, height, width and file format are saved.  Cameras typically embed data according to the Exchangable Image File Format (EXIF), a format modeled after the tag structure of TIFF files.  (The TIFF format was created by Aldus which was later acquired by Adobe Systems).  EXIF tag data includes camera setting information like F-Stop, focal length and shutter speed.  Some newer cameras are embedding GPS location information too.Beyond the automatically captured EXIF metadata, Adobe XMP also allows users to embed additional information like source, headline and instructions.The upside of being able to embed metadata in files is that it allows information like keywords, version information, captions, format information, creation and modification dates, and other file information to be tagged.  For example, graphic files used on a web site might contain embedded copyright information and originating URL. And when used in conjunction with a workflow, the state of the document can be kept as part of the metadata that automatically flows alongs with the file, across networks and via email.  This is interesting because a single file could be treated as a self-contained packet of workflow information where embedded metadata describes the state of the document within the workflow.  Participation in a workflow could be then reduced to the capability of simply being able to read and update embedded file metadata.There are a lot of positives for using embedded metadata as a tool to assit workflow.  But while embedded file metadata can enable more flexible workflow, letting files and documents flow into and out of the control of a central workflow system can make it more difficult to track the location and state of a task and also to validate metadata changes.  The repository used with the workflow system would need to continually synchronize its metadata with the embedded file metadata.  But the biggest problem is still the lack of adoption of XMP or other technologies for embedding file metadata by software application vendors, unless you’ve standardized on dealing only with PDF or other Adobe file formats.Using embedded file metadata also brings along with it additional security issues.  Files containing embedded metadata when exported and destined for public consumption may need to be stripped of personal or confidential information stored as metadata.last_img read more

Plastic Waste Management Project Gets $33 Million

first_imgAnother $33 million has been allocated to continue roll-out of the Plastic Waste Minimisation Project in the new fiscal year.The sum is set aside in the 2019/20 Estimates of Expenditure, tabled in the House of Representatives on February 14.The project aims to enhance Jamaica’s capacity to undertake integrated waste management and strengthen the policy and legislative framework to reduce and manage plastic marine litter in an environmentally sound manner.These engagements will involve a regulatory impact assessment and development of a national strategy and action plan, development of a communication campaign, and increased awareness through community intervention.Activities slated for 2019/20 include completion of the regulatory impact assessment, national strategy and action plan, consumption and production strategy and action plan, as well as implementation of community interventions along the project site’s waterway.The project, which commenced in July 2018, is being implemented by the National Environment and Planning Agency with funding from the United Nations Environmental Programme.last_img read more

CN Rail trying to gag Algonquin private eye in ongoing APTN investigation

first_imgBy Kenneth JacksonAPTN National NewsAn Algonquin private investigator has been summoned to court in Toronto in an effort to stop him from giving anymore documents to APTN National News in its on-going investigation into the Canadian National Railway.Derrick Snowdy, who is a band member with Kitigan Zibi, says it’s simply an effort by CN Rail to gag him.But CN, in court documents, said he’s in possession of “confidential and commercially sensitive information” and the company wants them back.“They want all their info back and they want a gag order to stop me from discussing what I know,” said Snowdy.Snowdy will be cross-examined by CN’s lawyers Thursday.The documents have been used, in part, as the basis of several APTN stories that allege the misuse of taxpayer dollars in the expansion of a Toronto commuter rail line.The first story published Sept. 24 sparked an internal audit by the Ontario government after APTN reported a former supervisor at CN had gone to the Ontario Provincial Police with hundreds of documents, including internal billing invoices and emails, where he alleged improprieties on the part of CN during the expansion of GO between 2004 and 2008.The audit is still on-going according to a spokesperson at Metrolinx, who, in 2009, took control of GO and is Crown corporation in Toronto.CN Rail has categorically denied any wrongdoing.The documents in question come from a Crown disclosure in CN’s attempt to have former employee Scott Holmes convicted of fraud. The charges were stayed in 2010 with a promise to never have them reinstated. It was the second attempt by CN to have Holmes convicted of fraud. The first attempt resulted in a stay as well.Holmes’ former criminal lawyer Michael Lacy said the stay was a result of the conduct by CN’s private police force.Lacy persuaded the Crown at the time to hold a preliminary hearing focusing on the role CN police played in collecting evidence against Holmes, as they were the police force to handle the investigation.“It’s clear to who ever reads the transcript the Crown’s case would have been completely decimated at trial,” said Lacy in a Sept. 27 APTN story. “(CN Police) acted in a biased way. They had no regard for their role as police officers and they were really just acting as tools for the CN management for the complete purpose of assisting the CN corporation with their civil claim. In terms of my career one of the most egregious examples of abuse of power by police, if not the most egregious because it wasn’t one or two renegade police officers it was abuse of power at an institutional level with no real oversight by anyone. The internal structure of CN police is they report to CN.”At the hearing it came out that the corporate side of CN was directing CN police on how to conduct their investigation. CN police officers testified it was a “joint venture” between CN head office and CN police, who are supposed to run independent investigations like any other police force in Canada.Holmes was fired in 2008 on allegations he defrauded CN. CN sued Holmes in the hopes of recovering the alleged stolen money. They also seized his assets and former businesses. Holmes counter-sued.They’ve been caught in a bitter legal battle ever since.The civil case has never gone to trial and after stories of alleged fraud surfaced in September CN called for an immediate injunction to find Holmes guilty of giving up the Crown disclosure documents that were subject to an implied undertaking to refrain from divulging to third parties such as Snowdy or the media.Snowdy said he has over 100,000 pages of documents relating to CN, which includes phone records for one of CN’s private lawyers Monique Jilesen.He also says he has mobile and home phone records of members of CN police and the former civil judge on the CN civil suit against Holmes Colin J. Campbell, who retired after the allegations of fraud surfaced in September.Snowdy said he’ll show up Thursday but won’t provide any documents CN is requesting.CN has also asked Holmes to ask the OPP to return the documents in questions but he has refused.The OPP met with Holmes five times. At the first meeting Holmes gave a video statement and provided stacks of documents.The four other meetings were to go over the documents as a detective from the OPP’s corruption unit had many questions.The detective also emailed Holmes a number of times with follow up questions.The OPP has refused to confirm or deny if they are [email protected]last_img read more

Movement to get Aboriginal vote out in Winnipeg now looking federal

first_imgAPTN National NewsA grassroots movement aimed at getting Aboriginal people to the polls feels they made an impact on Winnipeg’s election this week.With a federal election on the horizon organizers of “Rock the Indigenous Vote” say they have no plans of going away.One high profile candidate in Winnipeg is hinting his political career is far from over too.APTN’s Dennis Ward has more.last_img

Indian Hospitals lawsuit triggers memories of horrific abuse at Manitoba TB sanatorium

first_imgHolly Moore APTN InvestigatesEditor’s Note: Material in the story below may be disturbing to some readers.As some Indigenous survivors of so-called Indian hospitals gear up for class action lawsuits, others like Paul Aliktiluk are being flooded with memories of abuse.“I don’t care about the money,” he said. “I just want people to know what happened to us.”Aliktiluk’s voice trembled with emotion as he told his story to APTN Investigates for the first time outside of his immediate family.“What I remember is that there were a bunch of us over there. I remember their faces,” he said. “I was just little, four or five years old.”He recalled being given strong medication at the Ninette, Man. sanatorium where he was sent for tuberculosis treatment. He said his body wasn’t able to handle it.“I could not hold it in my stomach,” he said.Nurses would scold him for vomiting on the floor or the bed. They made him scoop it up and put it in a bowl of custard.“They would mix it and they made me eat it.”Caption: Ninette Tuberculosis Sanatorium(source: Manitoba Archives, L.B Foote fonds) That was far from the worst abuse experienced by the now 58-year-old.“There were times I was taken to the washroom and they would put me in a little collar and they used to chain me in the washroom and turn off the lights,” he recalled, “Some nurses used to fondle my boyhood and stick their fingers in my rear. It hurt very much.”Aliktiluk was among 80 Inuit sent to the Ninette, Man. sanatorium during the 1963 Eskimo Point tuberculosis outbreak. The area is now known as Arviat, Nunavut.Caption: Map drawn by Dr. Percy E. Moore illustrating the 1963 tuberculosis outbreak at Eskimo Point (source: Manitoba Archives)He said he doesn’t know how long he was at Ninette but by the time he returned home, he could no longer communicate with his Inuktitut-speaking parents.“I remember going home. I only spoke English and when I got home I couldn’t understand my parents,” he said.He explained he tried to tell his parents what happened in his teens.“I didn’t bring it up again while they were alive because they didn’t believe me,” he said. “I just quit talking about it.”The memories of the abuse at Ninette haunted him through the years, leading to suicidal thoughts and angry outbursts. He eventually became a peace officer in Arviat, acting as a liaison between the RCMP and the community. After he married in his early 20s, he finally told his wife what had happened.“She just hugged me for a long time.” he said. “That lifted me up, I felt a little better.”Survivors coming forwardDozens of survivors and their families came forward with stories of physical, sexual and emotional abuse after a series of stories about Indian hospitals and sanatoriums on APTN National News and APTN Investigates.A $1.1-billion class action lawsuit was filed earlier this year with others in development.Aliktiluk said he is encouraged by the attention and hopes it will lead to healing for survivors like him.“You can’t keep it bottled up inside, It has to come out,” he said. “I want people to know the truth of what happened to us.”last_img read more

The Eagles Have A CallInSickToWorkLevel Super Bowl Hangover

MIN56MIN64MIN 37, NYJ 17+4.5– IND9.24.7OAK1.00.75.41402 GB23.08.7LAR98.21.310.01558 PICKWIN PROB.PICKWIN PROB.ResultREADERS’ NET PTS Philly’s Super Bowl hangover is among the worst everWorst seven-game starts to a season (by Elo and win-loss record) for defending Super Bowl champions, 1967-2018 Home teams are in bold.The scoring system is nonlinear, so readers’ average points don’t necessarily match the number of points that would be given to the average reader prediction. BAL57NO53NO 24, BAL 23+8.4– 2013Ravens1591-372005Patriots4-3.571 Game quality is the harmonic mean of the Elo ratings for the two teams in a given matchup.*Average change is weighted by the likelihood of a win or loss. (Ties are excluded.)Source: 198549ers1620-73198549ers3-4.429 2005Patriots1641-712002Patriots3-4.429 1970Chiefs1624-612018Eagles3-4.429 Biggest Elo DeclinesWorst Starts CAR57.512.8BAL61.912.225.01581 Elo declines are relative to preseason Elo ratings for the season of the title defense.Sources:, JAX72JAX66HOU 20, JAX 7+6.6– MIA56MIA52DET 32, MIA 21+2.4– DEN10.75.2KC98.41.56.71551 PHI69PHI64CAR 21, PHI 17+5.3– Five of the teams on the lists above managed to recover enough to make the playoffs: the 1976 Steelers, 1985 49ers, 2001 Ravens, 2005 Patriots and 2010 Saints. (Pittsburgh even came within a game of returning to the Super Bowl.) But most of the defending champs who came out struggling could never quite recapture the magic of their championship runs — or, at least, they dug themselves too deep of a hole to climb out of. A 3-4 record might not sound too terrible, but since 1995 only 19 percent of teams that start 3-4 end up making the playoffs. (Yes, the Eagles are almost certainly more talented than a typical team that starts 3-4, but the odds aren’t great even after isolating teams that won at least 12 games the previous season.)So, this hasn’t exactly been the start coach Doug Pederson was looking for. But what’s to blame? And how can Philadelphia buck the odds and get back to its winning ways?It might be tempting to point the finger at a passing offense that went from fifth in adjusted net yards per attempt before Carson Wentz went down with a knee injury late last season to just 17th this year. And it’s true that backup Nick Foles was a shell of his Super Bowl self when starting the first two games of 2018, and that Wentz has had less time to throw deep and create big plays than he did while putting up MVP-caliber numbers a season ago. Certainly the Eagles’ offense has sputtered to a mere 22.0 points per game (22nd in the league) this year, after averaging 31.1 with Wentz in the 2017 regular season.2And 31.3 in the playoffs with Foles at the helm, for that matter.But by and large, Wentz has continued to be effective in orchestrating the Eagles’ passing attack, ranking eighth in the league in adjusted net yards per attempt — only two slots lower than last year — despite working his way back from a serious injury. Wentz’s average pass has traveled 2.3 fewer yards through the air according to ESPN’s Stats & Information Group, contributing to a decline in touchdowns per attempt (admittedly a problem for a red-zone offense that has dropped from first to 17th in efficiency). And yet Wentz is still moving the chains at the same rate,3His first downs per attempt are higher this year (37.9 percent) than last (36.4 percent). completing a sky-high 70.8 percent of his throws and tossing only one interception in 195 attempts.If Wentz’s performance has dropped off, it has only been a slight dip at most, perhaps one amplified by an abrupt change in clutch splits. In the final five minutes of one-score games in 2017, Wentz’s passer rating was 114.8 — 12.9 points higher than his rating for the season. This year, his passer rating in the same situations is 92.7 — down 15.4 points from his overall rating. But those plays make up only about 23 percent of Wentz’s passes, an unfair sample upon which to judge his entire body of work, even if it does have an outsize effect on the Eagles’ chances of winning from week to week.More significantly, the team around Wentz has been trending in the wrong direction. The QB is having to rely on tight end Zach Ertz more than ever, with wideouts Nelson Agholor and Alshon Jeffery struggling to get open downfield. (Mike Wallace was supposed to replace Torrey Smith as a complementary receiving threat, but he landed on injured reserve after just two weeks.) Meanwhile, Philly’s running game has declined from fourth in yards per carry (and third in yards per game) to 21st in each category, with Eagles ball-carriers slipping from third in yards after first contact per run to 19th.“I have no lack of confidence whatsoever in our run game,” Pederson insisted Monday. But after a contest in which Wendell Smallwood and Corey Clement combined for just 38 yards on 17 carries (a 2.2-yard average), perhaps his belief should be wavering. With Jay Ajayi on injured reserve, Philly is down to Smallwood (who ranks ninth in yards after contact per rush but hasn’t always been able to find a clear path to the second level4He ranks 28th of 47 qualified running backs in yards before first contact.) and Clement (who ranks 35th in yards after first contact per run). The result has been a less dynamic running game — Philadelphia’s longest rush is just 21 yards, tied for the least-impressive long run of any team — and an inability to slam the door when leading, such as in Sunday’s loss.Speaking of that defeat, it exposed another, even larger area of concern for the defending champs: defense. Last season, Philly ranked fourth in defensive expected points added (EPA) per game; this year, its ranking has slipped to 15th, with declines coming in near-equal measure against the pass and the run. Injuries have piled up, including ailments to 2017 starters Timmy Jernigan and Rodney McLeod. And while Fletcher Cox and the front seven have still managed to apply plenty of pressure,5According to Football Outsiders, Philly ranks eighth in pressures per dropback, and Cox ranks second in the league (behind the Los Angeles Rams’ Aaron Donald) with 25.5 pressures. the secondary has done a poor job in coverage — according to Football Outsiders’ charting data, Jalen Mills is allowing a staggering 11.7 yards per pass attempt (and is the fourth-most-targeted cornerback in the NFL) — plus the team ranks 21st in yards per rush allowed.Coordinator Jim Schwartz hasn’t altered his defense’s identity much: The Eagles don’t blitz often, relying on the line to generate pressure and counting on sound coverage and pursuit to limit opposing gains. But so far, that plan hasn’t worked as well as it did during the Eagles’ championship push.Philadelphia’s saving grace, though, might be its division. According to Elo, only the AFC East and AFC South are easier prey for their top-rated team than the NFC East, in terms of the quality of the next-best team in the division. (Philly remains the highest-rated team in the NFC East, by a whopping 91-point Elo margin over Washington.) Although our playoff odds give a slight edge in the division to the Redskins (41 percent to 39 percent, with Dallas checking in at 19 percent), things could be much worse for the Eagles if their competition were tougher.The banged-up Eagles have just one obstacle between them and a much-needed bye week: a showdown with the equally tailspinning Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday in London. Despite the teams’ disappointing starts, this is one of the best games of Week 8, both in terms of matchup quality (i.e., the harmonic mean of the teams’ Elo ratings in each game) and how likely it is to swing either team’s odds of making the playoffs: 1981Raiders1555-91198249ers2-5.286 CHI27.99.3NYJ9.25.314.61457 2010Saints1581-541976Steelers3-4.429 LAR71LAR81LAR 39, SF 10+2.9– BUF52IND59IND 37, BUF 5+8.0– MIN67.7%±13.3NO78.0%±10.123.31609 Elo’s dumbest (and smartest) picks of Week 7Average difference between points won by readers and by Elo in Week 7 matchups in FiveThirtyEight’s NFL prediction game LAC62LAC69LAC 20, TEN 19+3.1– HOU51.313.9MIA29.013.627.51460 WSH53.013.9NYG0.70.814.61433 SEA37.916.0DET34.713.729.61543 Team ACurrentAvg. Chg*Team BCurrentAvg. Chg*Total ChangeGame Quality 1987Giants1534-1591987Giants1-6.143 Even for an NFL champion, life comes at you fast. Eight months ago, the Philadelphia Eagles were on top of the football world, having captured the franchise’s first Super Bowl title with a thrilling win over the New England Patriots. But after blowing a 17-point, fourth-quarter lead to the visiting Carolina Panthers on Sunday, the Eagles have started 2018 with a mediocre 3-4 record, sinking them to just a 45 percent chance of making it back to the playoffs (according to FiveThirtyEight’s Elo prediction model). Few defending champs have experienced a bigger drop-off to start the following year, and the early-season malaise has Philly’s faithful wondering whether this is just a standard Super Bowl hangover — or something worse.Going back to 1967 (the season after Super Bowl I), 52 teams have attempted to defend an NFL championship. Of those, just four — the 1987 New York Giants (1-6), 2006 Pittsburgh Steelers (2-5), 1999 Denver Broncos (2-5)1A team that was beginning life after John Elway. and 1982 San Francisco 49ers (2-5) — started the season with a record worse than the Eagles’ 3-4 mark over their first seven games. And in terms of Elo, only 11 Super Bowl winners lost more points of rating through seven games than the Eagles have, relative to preseason: CIN44.311.8TB20.19.120.91486 The best matchups of Week 8Week 8 games by the highest average Elo rating (using the harmonic mean) plus the total potential swing for the two teams’ playoff chances, according to FiveThirtyEight’s NFL predictions 198249ers1531-861981Raiders3-4.429 1999Broncos1593-961999Broncos2-5.286 2006Steelers1581-1012006Steelers2-5.286 OUR PREDICTION (ELO)READERS’ PREDICTION For Philadelphia, a win over Jacksonville could help stabilize its championship defense, boosting its playoff chances up to 53 percent. But a loss would knock those odds down to 30 percent, making a bad situation much worse.Defending champs rarely find their season hanging in the balance in Week 8. But if Philly doesn’t correct some of its problems against the Jaguars, the Eagles could quickly find themselves staring at one of the biggest post-Super Bowl letdowns in NFL history.FiveThirtyEight vs. the readersIn addition to our updating NFL prediction interactive (which uses FiveThirtyEight’s Elo ratings to forecast the rest of the season), you can pick against the algorithm in our prediction game. The prize? Bragging rights and a place on our giant leaderboard.Here are the games in which Elo made its best — and worst — predictions against the field of prognosticators last week: ARI61%DEN52%DEN 45, ARI 10+12.1– PIT61.76.1CLE0.70.66.71445 NE60NE64NE 38, CHI 31+0.7– PHI45.510.4JAX21.89.019.41537 Playoff %Playoff % WSH53WSH53WSH 20, DAL 17-1.6– 2002Patriots1549-602013Ravens3-4.429 Week 7 contained a special milestone for FiveThirtyEight prediction contestants: It was the first week of the season in which the average reader actually beat Elo’s picks! The readers picked up an average of 33.7 points against the model last week, with their only major slip-up being too little confidence in the Buccaneers against the Browns. (Elo looked particularly dumb when it picked Arizona to beat Denver, only to watch in horror as the visiting Broncos thrashed the Cards 45-10.) On the season, though, Elo still leads by an average of 199.6 points — so more weeks like this will be needed to chase down the computer.Particular congratulations are in order to Jesse Goddard, who led all (identified) users in Week 7 with 220.0 points, and to Scott Duhaime, who pulled into the season-long lead with 533.3 points. Thanks to everyone who has been playing — and if you haven’t, be sure to get in on the action! You can make picks now and still try your luck against Elo, even if you haven’t played yet.Check out our latest NFL predictions. 2001Ravens1601-511970Chiefs3-3-1.500 ATL80ATL77ATL 23, NYG 20-3.2– NE91.36.0BUF4.24.110.11526 2018Eagles1599-481968Packers3-3-1.500 SF0.70.7ARI0.20.10.81387 KC76KC74KC 45, CIN 10-2.8– TB77TB61TB 26, CLE 23-12.7– YearTeamElo RatingChangeYearTeamRecordWPct read more