L.A. business data is put in its place

first_imgIt tracks the unemployment rate, employment in six employment sectors, ocean container traffic, airport passenger traffic, single family and multifamily construction permits, median home price, revenue per available hotel room, the industrial vacancy rate and film production days. The LAEDC plans to use the feature as a global marketing tool that offers a snapshot of what’s going on in the county. This information is released throughout each month or on a quarterly basis but this is the first time it can be found in the same place. “Rather than being just numbers we will give you a written summary,” said Jack Kyser, the LAEDC’s vice president and chief economist. It will also offer an unfiltered look at the what’s going on industry-wise in the county. The agency that tracks business activity in Los Angeles County on Wednesday introduced a compilation of statistics that will measure the performance of the area’s economy on a regular basis. Called The Los Angeles County Business Scan, it will be updated monthly and consist of 15 indicators that track the world’s 17th-largest economy. It will also be used to chart recent economic trends. “We’re pleased to make this value-added service available to the global business community,” Bill Allen, president and chief executive officer of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp., said in a statement. “A lot of time people are not that familiar with Los Angeles County and a lot of media reports, especially in the East, are somewhat distorted,” Kyser said. Daniel Blake, director of the San Fernando Valley Economic Research Center at California State University, Northridge, said this will become a valuable tool, especially since the information is in the same place. “It will be useful for analyzing the future (economic) direction given a little bit of experience with this,” he said. greg.wilcox@dailynews.com (818) 713-3743 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Darwin Party’s Hot Air Machine Never Stops

first_imgby David F. CoppedgeAudio Playerhttps://crev.info/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Coppedge-20170602-DarwinHotAir.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Do Darwinians ever tire of dishing out vacuous, airy stories about things? Never; with creationists grabbing headlines, they just turn up the heat.Empirical observations are like props on a stage to Darwinians. The play is the thing; the narrative must go on, with or without props. A variety of recent news articles shows Darwinians making up stories out of thin air, using pictures of bones or strata or modern animals that have nothing necessarily to do with the narrative. It gives the public an impression that the data are driving the story, when in actuality, the opposite is the case. And when data are missing entirely, artwork or imagination can fill in the gap – or assertions that are plain lies.How dinosaurs may have evolved into birds (Phys.org). The operative words are, “may have.” This article begins, “Studies of dinosaur fossils that show bird-like traits, such as feathers, light bones, air sacs and three-digit forelimbs, clarified the evolutionary kinship of birds and dinosaurs.” The example they show, however, is the bird Microraptor gui, which had feathered wings and legs and flew. It was a bird, not a dinosaur. A corrected version of the headline should say, “How birds may have evolved into birds.” But that wouldn’t fit the narrative. So on they go, using irrelevant genes as props to weave a tale about how hopping lizards evolved powered flight (see 5/22/17). Don’t worry about the names of the genes. Watch how they are used:Because the ASHCEs in genes such as Sim1 were highly conserved and therefore largely unchanged by evolution since the dinosaur era, this suggests CREs such as ASHCEs were vital in developing bird-specific traits and may have driven the transition of dinosaurs to birds.The genes distract attention from the question of how random changes in a code would generate major functional innovations.  The genes they cite didn’t even change. Something had to change to make a dinosaur flap new wings into the sky. What was it?“You don’t just partly fly, because flight requires not just having a pair of wings, but having your entire biology coordinated towards that function.” —Paul NelsonAccording to Darwinian theory, random mutations in dinosaur DNA led to powered flight. But that’s a huge amount of change! “You don’t just partly fly,” Paul Nelson quipped in the Illustra Media documentary, Flight: The Genius of Birds, “because flight requires not just having a pair of wings, but having your entire biology coordinated towards that function.” Saying that random changes “may have driven” a dinosaur to become a bird is like saying that random changes can turn a wagon into a guided drone — no intelligence required.Whales only recently evolved into giants when changing ice, oceans concentrated prey (Phys.org). In this article, the Smithsonian claims that ice ages made whales grow big. According to the Darwin-drenched fossil dating scheme, the giant whales only came into existence recently. Here’s the story, which presumes evolution without demonstrating it. Watch for the storytelling words like suggest, somehow, and imagine:The research team traced the discrepancy back to a shift in the way body size evolved that occurred about 4.5 million years ago. Not only did whales with bodies longer than 10 meters (approximately 33 feet) begin to evolve around this time, but smaller species of whales also began to disappear. Pyenson notes that larger whales appeared in several different lineages around the same time, suggesting that massive size was somehow advantageous during that timeframe.“We might imagine that whales just gradually got bigger over time, as if by chance, and perhaps that could explain how these whales became so massive,” said Slater, a former Peter Buck postdoctoral fellow at the museum. “But our analyses show that this idea doesn’t hold up—the only way that you can explain baleen whales becoming the giants they are today is if something changed in the recent past that created an incentive to be a giant and made it disadvantageous to be small.”While we might congratulate these evolutionists for backing away from chance, their replacement explanation makes no sense at all. How can animals understand an incentive? And why are there still small and medium-sized whales today? If this “incentive” were a law of nature, then every animal would evolve to giant size. Their prey, krill, could also evolve to become giants so that baleen whales couldn’t eat them. No matter what happens, the answer is the same: “it evolved.” The explanation is a distraction from the much larger issue: how did a four-footed land animal evolve into a creature that spends its entire life in the water? For the problems with that, you’ll have to watch Illustra Media’s documentary, Living Waters: Intelligent Design in the Oceans of the Earth.Darwin was right: Females prefer sex with good listeners (Phys.org). We reported May 31 that evolutionists have no explanation for the origin of sex. But given that sex does exist, now what? Eager to prove that her hero Darwin was right, Dr. Nerissa Hanink begins by singing his praises: “Almost 150 years after Charles Darwin first proposed a little-known prediction from his theory of sexual selection, researchers have found that male moths with larger antennae are better at detecting female signals.” Large antennae on moths are the props of her story. Hanink calls on experts who agree, one of them affirming that “Darwin’s theory of sexual selection is well supported by thousands of studies.” Supported, that is, except by the studies that do not, which we have covered often. For instance, peahens do not stare at the exotic feathers of male peacocks, as predicted by Darwin. But in the Darwin Party’s theater, no critics are allowed to interrupt the play.Well, what about those male antennae? Here’s her story line, told with a crescendo of enthusiasm, as she leans on the opinions of Australian biologist Mark Elgar:“But Darwin also proposed that sexual selection can favour males who are better at detecting and responding to signals from females, including chemical signals like pheromones. So males with sensory structures that can better detect female signals may have the edge in finding them in order to mate and pass on their genes.”But [Elgar] says this idea has been largely overlooked until now.Consider for a moment how surprising it is that Darwinians have had over 150 years to look at this, but they largely overlooked it until now. Why? It’s about time. Hanink looks at the research of a grad student, who conducted some tests, and did find that male moths with bigger antennae were able to detect smaller amounts of pheromone. Take time out to celebrate Darwin again: Take it away, Dr. Matthew Symonds:“Our data are consistent with Darwin’s 1871 prediction that sexual selection favours exaggerated sensory receptor structures like antennae,” says Dr Symonds.“As evolutionary biologists, it’s very rewarding to be able to support a long-standing idea, originally floated by Darwin, that hasn’t attracted much attention,” he says.Once again, ask if this is a law of nature. The title, remember, is that “males that are good listeners apparently make attractive mates.” If so, then men should have elephant ears, shouldn’t they? And big noses and huge eyes, to sense all the signals that women are sending out? And why are there any moths left with small antennae, after tens of millions of years of evolution? Is bigger always better? Evolution could have made existing antennae more sensitive without getting bigger, and the Darwin narrative would still work.Hanink extends the Darwin story further. She claims that females determine the size of male antennae. They choose to give off less pheromone, so that “high quality” males with bigger antennae will come to mate because they are more fit. But that is a non-sequitur. Carrying around large antennae is costly to the male. It could well be that it makes the male less fit. The moth with the smaller antennae could just follow the weight-encumbered male, and whiz by to get the female.These three examples show that, for Darwinians, empirical observations can become mere props to support a predetermined narrative. Without the props, the story works just as well, because whatever happened, “it evolved” — praise be to Charles Darwin. The evolutionary story distracts from the important questions, turning everyone’s eyes to all the sound and fury that signifies nothing, much like an air dancer that takes the driver’s eyes off the road.Video Playerhttps://crev.info/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/darwin-15-second.mp400:0000:0000:16Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Thanks to J. Beverly Greene for this animation made especially for CEH. All rights reserved.(Visited 588 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Bright young thing

first_imgHer foray into films has been lucky for this 27-year-old. Pernia Qureshi, the woman behind Sonam Kapoor’s chic look in the movie Aisha oozes exuberance and is the quintessential stylist. A trained Kuchipudi dancer and a disciple of the renowned Raja Radha Reddy, Qureshi started her career in New York,Her foray into films has been lucky for this 27-year-old. Pernia Qureshi, the woman behind Sonam Kapoor’s chic look in the movie Aisha oozes exuberance and is the quintessential stylist. A trained Kuchipudi dancer and a disciple of the renowned Raja Radha Reddy, Qureshi started her career in New York as a fashion stylist and costume designer.Style check: “I dress according to my moods. My dress sense is eclectic but always feminine. I would never go for the grunge look. I love wearing dresses the most. They’re very flattering to any kind of a body. For example, when I’m having a fat day, I will never wear jeans,” laughs Qureshi.Accessory alert: The stylist believes in accessorising one at a time. So, if you spot her with a cocktail ring, she wouldn’t be wearing a necklace or earrings with it. “I love wearing vintage jewellery of brands like Chanel and Givenchy,” she says.Brand talk: “I can wear clothes even bought from Janpath. But I’m quite fussy about my footwear because with cheaper brands, my feet suffer. I love sporting Louis Vuitton and Prada,” says the young lady.Tip toe: Her style tip, “Don’t ever buy clothes smaller than your size thinking you’ll soon lose weight. Instead, I often buy clothes which are bigger and get them altered to my size.”-Rewati RauOn the spotDesigner Divya Gupta introduced her new line of club wear ‘Yell’, in her recently opened store at Khan Market. Former Miss India finalist, Donna Katherine Masih co-hosted the event along with Gupta.Pia Pauro recently unveiled her label ‘Pia Pauro’ showcasing her spring summer collection. The launch was over high tea at The Imperial Hotel, New Delhi. Ayesha Thapar, Simar Duggal, Puneet Juneja, Aparna Behl and many others were spotted at the do.The Delhi Jazz festival held at Nehru park earlier this month saw a number of International bands performing for the very first time in India. Italian band Be Why and Ceasre Picco from France debuted at the festival this year.Compiled by Ekta Marwahaadvertisementlast_img read more

Zimbabwe leg of 2003 Cricket World Cup in jeopardy

first_imgZimbabwe President Robert MugabeBetween February 9 and March 23, 2003, the eighth cricket World Cup will unfold in the African continent. Most of the 54 matches will be played in South Africa.Six are planned in Zimbabwe and two in Kenya. In 1993, South Africa had won the right to play,Zimbabwe President Robert MugabeBetween February 9 and March 23, 2003, the eighth cricket World Cup will unfold in the African continent. Most of the 54 matches will be played in South Africa.Six are planned in Zimbabwe and two in Kenya. In 1993, South Africa had won the right to play host. As Ali Bacher, executive director of the tournament, explains, “We decided to give some games to Zimbabwe and Kenya to spread cricket in Africa. That was our viewpoint.”While Bacher’s “viewpoint has not changed”, his region’s politics has. Zimbabwe is in turmoil; President Robert Mugabe’s regime, condemned as repressive, is an international pariah. There is serious danger of Australia, England and, probably, Holland refusing to play their preliminary matches in Harare and Bulawayo.The apprehensions were voiced at the recent Champions Trophy in Colombo. In November, an International Cricket Council (ICC) inspection delegation is visiting Zimbabwe-its recce will coincide with a tour by Pakistani cricketers-to take a look.The ICC delegation will comprise Chief Executive Malcolm Speed, administrators from every country- India, Pakistan and Namibia are the others-due to play in Zimbabwe and a players’ representative. Accompanying them will be an official from Global Cricket Corporation, the ICC’s partner for the 2003 and 2007 World Cups, and an insurance specialist.Since cricket is a polite, genteel pastime, coarse expressions such as “boycott” aren’t part of its lexicon. “Opting out due to security reasons” is another matter. In 1996, the World Cup was co-hosted by India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. After a Tamil Tiger attack in Colombo, Australia and the West Indies refused to travel there-and lost points.advertisementLand before wicket: Robert Mugabe’s anti-white farm laws have targeted even cricketer Heath StreakWill there be a replay seven years later? Lucia Muvingi, Zimbabwe’s high commissioner to India, says her Government “will ensure the safety of players”. “You have to distinguish,” the lady argues, “between a political problem and a security problem.”Mugabe’s Government has been in the doghouse primarily because of an unorthodox, state-approved land “reforms” programme that, to independent minds, seems little more than smash and grab. In essence white farmers-many of British descent- are being thrown off their substantial homesteads. Even the family of Heath Streak, Zimbabwe’s best known cricketer, has been targeted.Earlier this year, Mugabe also conducted an election amid allegations of rigging and violence. After this the Commonwealth suspended Zimbabwe. A London-based diplomat rates the chances of Nasser Hussain’s men not playing as “very high”. In Canberra, Prime Minister John Howard had asked the Australian Cricket Board to cancel a tour of Zimbabwe earlier in 2002.On his part, Bacher points to a “high powered security directorate comprising 85 close protection officers and budgeted at 16 million rands” to allay all fears. He warns that any team that doesn’t turn up to play as promised is likely to forfeit points. While the ICC is “not open” to playing the matches elsewhere, Mark Harrison, the council’s communications manager, says it is “realistic to the need to be flexible”.India, neutral on Zimbabwe and refusing to read any analogies with Pakistan-which it fought to isolate in the Commonwealth after the 1999 coup-is not really involved. Even so, if cricket gets divided yet again along a supposedly “racial” faultline, you know who’ll be thrusting his sweaty nose right in the middle.last_img read more

10 months agoAngel Gomes thrilled to see action in Man Utd win

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Angel Gomes thrilled to see action in Man Utd winby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveAngel Gomes was delighted with his cameo for Manchester United in their 3-1 win over Huddersfield Town.Gomes, who was handed his Premier League debut by Jose Mourinho in 2017, came on as a second half substitute to replace Juan Mata with United 3-0 up.And the 18-year-old was asked by MUTV what advice his manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gave to him before he came on.”He told me enjoy myself get on the pitch,” Gomes explained. “He said to come inside and get on the ball and get as many touches as you can and enjoy the atmosphere and I tried to do that coming on and it was a great experience.”The academy graduate is hopeful of more opportunities under United’s interim manager as he has promised to give more youth team players a chance.”Of course it’s just the start. It was good me and Jimmy travelled last game too, so to travel again and to get some minutes was an added bonus,” Gomes said. “I think United is about bringing youth through and I think with the new manager and how things are going it’s there for the taking really.”He’s a legend at the club and the fans will get behind him because of the things he won at the club and how great of a player he was. For me to learn from a manager like Solskjaer is great for me and the other younger lads because growing up we were watching him. It’s a great feeling.” last_img read more

College GameDay Announces That It Will Head To Philadelphia For Temple vs. Notre Dame

first_imgCollege GameDay graphic for Temple vs. Notre Dame.Instagram/American_confComing into the season, Temple looked to be one of the easiest games on Notre Dame’s schedule. Two months later, Temple is 7-0 and a favorite in a very solid AAC conference, and Saturday’s game in Philadelphia is one of the best on the schedule. Now, College GameDay is officially heading to the City of Brotherly Love, making this potentially one of the biggest weekends in Temple football history.We’re coming to Philly! See you Saturday, @Temple_FB and @NDFootball. pic.twitter.com/g0EVhjJMAn— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) October 26, 2015Temple is very excited..@CollegeGameDay @Temple_FB @NDFootball pic.twitter.com/Ty29yP0eXV— Temple Owls (@TempleOwls) October 26, 2015While we love seeing GameDay at places with a ton of history and classic college football Saturday atmospheres, it is always cool when the show heads somewhere new and unique. Temple certainly fits that bill. The Owls and Fighting Irish kick off at 8 p.m. on Saturday night. Notre Dame opens as a 10.5 point favorite in the game.last_img read more

Delhi HC restrains 30 torrent sites from hosting copyrighted content

first_imgNew Delhi: The Delhi High Court has permanently restrained 30 torrent sites from hosting, streaming, reproducing, distributing or making available to the public by any means the movies, music, shows or any content which violates the copyright of film production companies like Twentieth Century Fox and UTV Software.Justice Manmohan, in the order, directed internet service providers (ISPs), like Airtel, Reliance Jio and MTNL, to block access to these websites. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Directions were also issued by the court to the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) to ensure that the ISPs registered with them block access to such “rogue websites”. While issuing the directions based on a plea by the film production companies, the court said website blocking was a “cumbersome exercise” and majority of the viewers who access and download the infringing content are youngsters who are unaware that the content is pirated. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KIt directed the DoT and the MEITY to “explore the possibility of framing a policy under which a warning is issued to the viewers of the infringing content, if technologically feasible in the form of e-mails, or pop-ups or such other modes, cautioning the viewers to cease viewing/downloading the infringing material. “In the event the warning is not heeded to and the viewers/subscribers continue to view, access or download the infringing/pirated content, then a fine could be levied on the viewers/subscribers,” the court said. It added that such a measure would go a long way in curbing piracy and the dark-net as well as in “promoting the legal content and accelerating the pace of Digital India”. The court, in its 99-page verdict, also noted that such websites were “hydra-headed”, who on being blocked, “actually multiply and resurface as alphanumeric or mirror websites”. Therefore, to meet the ends of justice and address the menace of piracy by such hydra-headed websites, the court permitted the plaintiff production companies to implead as a party in the matter the mirror/redirect/alphanumeric websites. However, the plaintiffs would have to file affidavits confirming that the newly impleaded sites are a mirror/redirect/alphanumeric website along with “sufficient supporting evidence”.last_img read more

Women protest outside SC over clean chit to CJI

first_imgNew Delhi: Several women including lawyers, activists and members of NGOs on Tuesday protested outside the Supreme Court after an in-house panel of the court cleared Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi of sexual harassment charges.The women were detained by the police and taken to the Mandir Marg Police station. Soon after, prohibitory orders banning the assembly of four or more people were imposed outside the Supreme Court in the heart of Delhi. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss account details under automatic exchange frameworkThe women held placards as they protested against the clean chit given to the Chief Justice by the in-house committee of his colleagues. “Do Constitutional rights to protest not apply to the Supreme Court?” tweeted noted lawyer Prashant Bhushan. CPI-M leader Brinda Karat said: “The procedure seems to be totally unjust. Why can’t the victim be given the report? It’s wrong. When they are dismissing the matter, more questions are being raised about the procedures adopted by the Supreme Court. It’s an injustice.” Also Read – Trio win Nobel Medicine Prize for work on cells, oxygenThe protest comes after a three-judge top court panel headed by Justice S.A. Bobde found no substance on Monday in the sexual harassment allegations levelled by a former apex court employee against Chief Justice Gogoi. On Tuesday, the woman asked the in-house probe committee for a copy of the report giving a clean chit to the CJI. “I have a right to know how, why and on what basis have your Lordships found my complaint to have ‘no substance’,” she said, adding she was “deeply shocked” on the outcome of the committee’s findings. “Despite my detailed affidavit, ample corroborative evidence and clear, consistent statement reiterating my experience of sexual harassment and consequent victimization, the Committee has found no substance in my complaint and affidavit,” she said.last_img read more

Trump delays decision on auto tariffs for up to six months

first_imgWashington: President Donald Trump on Friday announced a six-month delay in imposing steep tariffs on auto imports, seeking to pressure Europe and Japan into bargaining table concessions on trade. The decision marked a temporary reprieve from what would have been a sizable escalation in Trump’s multi-front trade wars. Trump’s threat targets a major chunk of global economic activity with profound disruptions. Hundreds of billions of dollars in autos are manufactured, shipped and sold internationally every year. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince Salman ‘snubbed’ Pak PM Imran, recalled his private jet from US: Report In a proclamation, the president directed US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to update him within 180 days on the outcome of negotiations with the EU, Japan and “any other country” Lighthizer deems appropriate. By leaving the threat of tariffs hanging, Trump’s move raises the temperature in European capitals already angered by the imposition of punishing US duties on steel and aluminum last year. Trump’s decision also preserved a truce declared last year with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in which both sides agreed to cease trade hostilities while efforts continued to resolve the trade dispute. Also Read – Iraq military admits ‘excessive force’ used in deadly protests Despite the decision, Trump continued his attacks on EU trade policy. “The European Union treats us, I’d say, worse than China — they’re just smaller,” Trump said at an event. “They don’t want our farmers, they don’t want our cars… They send Mercedes-Benz here like they’re cookies,” Trump said, adding that “they take advantage of us on trade.” “We all love Europe but it’s not fair.” In response to the US metal tariffs, the EU last year imposed stinging duties on American exports like motorcycles, orange juice, whiskey and blue jeans, and threatened to retaliate further should the auto tariffs be imposed. European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom confirmed an existing offer that “the EU is prepared to negotiate a limited trade agreement including cars.” The six-month delay had been expected this week as industry sources confirmed media reports that Trump would hold off — delighting markets which had feared sharp economic consequences of such a move. In his proclamation, Trump described the US auto sector as facing decline due to unfair foreign competition. A report by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross concluded that America’s shrinking share of the auto market jeopardized its research, development and manufacturing — all “vital to national security,” according to Trump. In a conclusion likely to invite challenges from manufacturers and industry analysts, Trump said America’s defense industrial base relied on the domestic auto sector for technological advances essential to US “military superiority.” Citing Ross’s conclusions, Trump pointed to a doubling of US imports over the last 34 years but accused Europe and Japan of raising “significant barriers” to accepting American exports in return. In that same period, the domestic market share of American-owned manufacturers fell to just 22 percent from 67 percent, he said. “In light of all of these factors, domestic conditions of competition must be improved by reducing imports,” Trump said. Reacting to the announcement, Dieter Kempf, head of the German industrial federation, said “cars do not threaten the national security of the United States.” Japanese automaker Toyota, which has factories and research centers in the United States also strongly rejected the notion. “Today’s proclamation sends a message to Toyota that our investments are not welcomed, and the contributions from each of our employees across America are not valued,” a statement read. “If import quotas are imposed, the biggest losers will be consumers who will pay more and have fewer vehicle choices.” Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist at Cox Automotive, said that by jacking up tariffs on 200 billion worth of Chinese merchandise last week Trump had shown Brussels his tariff threats were not idle. “I think it’s a signal to everybody that he means business,” Chesbrough told AFP. “I think in general it’s a good news story in that it buys the industry a little more time to try to get the president to change his mind about the tariffs.” The United States imported almost 200 billion worth of autos in 2017, according to the proclamation. But, while foreign-branded cars are popular in the United States, many automakers have championed their US-based manufacturing operations in places like Alabama, Kentucky and South Carolina.last_img read more

2015 NFL Preview The Texans Jaguars And Titans Will Try To Rein

In preparation for the 2015 NFL season, FiveThirtyEight is running a series of eight division previews, each highlighting the numbers that may influence a team’s performance (including projections and rankings based on ESPN’s preseason Football Power Index). Today we turn to the AFC South — perhaps the most imbalanced division in football. Andrew Luck’s Colts are potentially the league’s best team; the Texans, Jaguars and Titans are just hoping to keep things competitive. Bruce Gradkowski20.14-934.42-5 FIRST 13 STARTSREST OF STARTING CAREER Indianapolis Colts2014 Record: 11-5 | 2015 Projected Wins: 10.5 | Playoff Odds: 84.0%Offensive Rank: 2nd | Defensive Rank: 20th | Special Teams Rank: 17thSteadily, the Indianapolis Colts are climbing toward the Super Bowl. In Andrew Luck’s first two seasons under center, the team went from out of the playoffs to the wild card game in 2012 and then to the divisional round in 2013. And in 2014, a third straight 11-win season yielded a trip to the AFC Championship game. Now, the Colts enter 2015 with the AFC’s best chance (25.6 percent) of making Super Bowl 50, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI).But as much as that probability attests to Indy’s progress as a team, it’s also an indictment of the rest of the AFC South. Luck is the division’s only top-tier quarterback, the Colts are its only top-15 preseason FPI team, and Indianapolis is projected to play one of the easiest schedules in the AFC. So while the Colts have the NFL’s best odds to win their division (73.4 percent) and make the playoffs (84 percent), merely getting to the postseason out of a weak division is no longer enough.And in order for the team to reach the next stage in its ascent, Luck needs help. Last season, he was asked to do more than any other quarterback in the NFL, as the Indianapolis offense passed on 67 percent of its snaps. Saddled with that workload, Luck ranked first in touchdown passes but also 32nd (out of 33 qualified quarterbacks) in turnovers, with many of those miscues resulting from Luck trying to do too much.To take the pressure off of Luck, the Colts need to improve their running game. Last season, Indianapolis ranked seventh1According to TruMedia’s proprietary data, which I accessed as an employee of ESPN. in passing expected points added (EPA) per game but 29th in rushing EPA per game — the biggest such rankings disparity of any team in the NFL. The addition of running back Frank Gore is an upgrade over Trent Richardson,2Really, just about any running back would have been an upgrade over Richardson. but the offensive line, patchy at best (with 11 starting combinations) a year ago, needs to open more holes after ranking 22nd in yards before contact per rush.3A stat that quantifies both O-line run-blocking effectiveness and RB vision by measuring how far, on average, the ball carriers behind them make it before making first contact with a defender.As long as the Colts have a quarterback and the rest of the AFC South does not, they’ll have a successful season. In fact, with 10 games against what FPI considers the two weakest divisions in football (the NFC South and the rest of the AFC South), don’t be surprised if Indy earns the AFC’s No. 1 overall playoff seed.4A feat that FPI gives them an NFL-best 29 percent chance of achieving. But if the Colts want to keep rising ever closer to the league’s summit, they can’t rely on Luck alone. Kellen Clemens24.24-943.14-4 FiveThirtyEight is previewing the 2015 NFL season ahead of the first game of the year. Check out our coverage of every division » QUARTERBACKTOTAL QBRW-LTOTAL QBRW-L Tennessee Titans2014 Record: 2-14 | 2015 Proj. W: 5.7 | Playoff Odds: 5.3%Off. Rank: 29th | Def. Rank: 32nd | S.T. Rank: 5thGood luck finding a 2015 Tennessee Titans preview that doesn’t focus on the No. 2 overall pick in this past spring’s draft, quarterback Marcus Mariota. After a disappointing 2-14 season in which the Titans started three different QBs,18Jake Locker, Charlie Whitehurst and Zach Mettenberger — all of whom posted a below-average Total QBR. the Titans and their fans are counting on Mariota to step in and revive the offense.At least one projection system (full disclosure: it’s the one developed by my colleagues in ESPN’s Stats & Information Group) expects Mariota to be the top quarterback in his class by 2018, but there are bound to be growing pains as he adapts to the NFL. And even if we pretend Mariota has no trouble transitioning from the spread offense he operated with Heisman-winning efficiency at Oregon to Ken Whisenhunt’s more vertical, pro-style scheme, who is he going to throw to? And how will Tennessee’s rushers help take pressure off Mariota and the passing game?Fantasy rankings have their flaws (for instance, a team might have two good players at the same position), but they can serve as a decent proxy for evaluating individual offensive talent. And they build a pretty convincing case that the Titans possess the least-talented group of non-quarterback skill-position players in the NFL.For starters, Tennessee’s top-rated fantasy player — running back Bishop Sankey — ranks 95th in ESPN’s Fantasy Rankings,19All rankings are as of Sept. 3. 27 spots lower than any other team’s highest-ranked player. The rankings also assign a dollar value to each player (with replacement-level players20In fantasy football terms. receiving no value), and Tennessee’s entire roster of fantasy-eligible players21Including defenses, kickers and offensive skill-position players. is worth a whopping nine bucks. That’s the lowest of any team in the league — and $46 less than the value of Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell, the most expensive player in ESPN’s rankings.After ranking 30th in offensive EPA per play22Again, including an adjustment that reduces the effects of blowouts. (and 29th defensively) last season, the Titans would truly need a “Super Mariota” performance to elevate this group into playoff contention. So though Mariota is getting all the headlines, the true determinant of Tennessee’s success may be whether any other player can step up to take some pressure off of its rookie QB. John Skelton28.98-511.00-4 There’s also no doubt that Bortles needs help. Last season, Jacksonville’s top pass catcher (Allen Hurns) ranked 67th in receiving yards, its top rusher (former quarterback Denard Robinson) ranked 30th in rushing yards and its offensive line ranked 29th in pass protection.16ESPN’s pass protection metric measures the percentage of pass plays in which the offensive line controls the line of scrimmage.Maybe the aforementioned Jaguars defense can come to Bortles’s aid. It ranked 17th in the NFL in EPA per play17This includes a weighting adjustment that downplays the effects of blowouts. and held opponents to the league’s 14th-lowest Total QBR last season. But even if the defense ascends into the NFL’s top 10, the offense will still likely be too much to overcome. That’s why FPI predicts that Jacksonville’s cycle of high draft picks will go unbroken, assigning the Jags a nearly 50 percent chance of picking in the top five for a fifth consecutive season. Jacksonville Jaguars2014 Record: 3-13 | 2015 Proj. W: 5.5 | Playoff Odds: 4.2%Off. Rank: 32nd | Def. Rank: 18th | S.T. Rank: 9thIt’s been four painful seasons since the Jacksonville Jaguars finished with a .500 record (they went 8-8 in 2010).10In fact, they haven’t had a .500 record at any point in a season since Week 2 of the 2011 season. During that span, the team has the worst record in the NFL (14-50) and hasn’t won more than five games in any season.Unfortunately for the Jaguars, that record cannot be attributed to bad luck — they also produced an NFL-low 15 pythagorean wins11A better measure of how many wins a team “deserves” after stripping away the luck of winning close games. — or a lack of draft picks. Despite Jacksonville picking in the top five of a record four consecutive NFL drafts, and having had at least one top-10 pick for eight years running, the talent gap between the Jaguars and the rest of the league continues to grow. And it isn’t likely to decrease in 2015: first-round pick Dante Fowler Jr. has already gone down with an ACL tear, while prized free-agent tight end Julius Thomas may be out until Week 4.Jacksonville’s defense isn’t awful (more on this later), which might offer hope. But as any football fan knows, today’s NFL is all about the quarterback, and in order for the Jaguars to take steps toward respectability, they need Blake Bortles to improve on the NFL-worst 25.2 Total QBR he put up in 2014.Based on an admittedly small sample, quarterbacks who start their careers as badly as Bortles has rarely get better. Going back to 2006,12The first year in which Total QBR can be calculated. there have been eight passers13Among the names on the list is Jacksonville’s previous first-round quarterback, Blaine Gabbert. (other than Bortles) who produced a Total QBR of 30.0 or worse through their first 13 starts.14Using data from only games in which the quarterback was his team’s starter. After such rough debuts, the octet combined for a winning percentage of 38.1 and an average Total QBR of 29.7 in their subsequent starts; only Mark Sanchez started more than 16 additional games.15In fairness, these guys’ careers aren’t uniformly over, so they may start again someday. But only Geno Smith and Bortles were projected to be starters going into training camp, and Smith’s status as starter was short-lived. Houston Texans2014 Record: 9-7 | 2015 Proj. W: 8.5 | Playoff Odds: 43.2%Off. Rank: 23rd | Def. Rank: 4th | S.T. Rank: 21stThe Houston Texans are so defined by their best player that the latest edition of “Hard Knocks” should have been renamed “The J.J. Watt Show.” Last season Watt, the NFL’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year, became the first player since 19825The season the NFL began to officially tally sacks. to post multiple 20-sack seasons in a career, and his impact goes beyond just pressuring the quarterback.Watt led the league in batted passes,6Based on ESPN’s video tracking. fumbles recovered and tackles for loss. Add in five total touchdowns (the most by a defensive lineman in a season since 1944), and it’s not surprising that Watt led the entire league in Approximate Value (AV), Pro-Football-Reference.com’s cross-positional player value metric. He’s also produced more AV through his first four seasons combined than any other defender since the common draft era began in 1967.In other words, Watt might be the best player in football today. And with the Texans adding Vince Wilfork and a healthy Jadeveon Clowney to line up alongside him, Houston’s defense could be even more dominant than it was last season, when it ranked second in defensive EPA.But will any of that matter if Houston’s quarterbacks can’t pass the ball?While developing FPI for the NFL, ESPN’s Stats & Information Group needed a way to estimate each team’s quarterback quality for the upcoming season in order to account for QB injuries when making predictions. The solution: for each starting quarterback (and his backup), FPI generates a per-game EPA projection based on his past performance.7Adjusted for age. In Houston’s case, starting quarterback Brian Hoyer ranks 27th out of 32 expected starters in projected EPA.8Only Josh McCown, Derek Carr, Blake Bortles and rookies Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota are lower. Compared with an average starter, Hoyer is expected to cost the Texans about 2.9 points per game. To put that in perspective, if he were an average QB instead, the Texans would rise from 16th overall in preseason FPI to seventh (and fourth in the AFC).There is good news for Houston, though: FPI projects its schedule to be the AFC’s easiest, with interconference games against the historically awful NFC South. Last season, the AFC North drew that division and ended up placing three teams in the playoffs.9It went 12-3-1 versus the NFC South and 26-22 against other divisions. With that schedule and Watt spearheading the fourth-best projected defense in football (according to FPI), Houston might get back to the playoffs in spite of its poor quarterbacking. Mark Sanchez27.46-736.831-26 Read more: 2015 NFL Previews Blaine Gabbert21.03-1024.02-12 JaMarcus Russell23.33-1017.64-8 Blake Bortles24.73-10—— Brandon Weeden29.75-818.90-8 Geno Smith27.76-751.95-11 read more