12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People… 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout GroovesharkNumber of Songs: 13.2 millionPrice (monthly): Free (unlimited) / $9 per month for premium Geographic Availability: Everywhere but Germany and DenmarkMobile Platforms: HTML5 Web app, plus Android and an unofficial Windows Phone appOffline Syncing: NoSound Quality (bit rate): VariesWeb App: YesKiller Features: More fluid catalog with rare (and sometimes unauthorized) materialUsers: 20 million monthly uniques (not the same as registered users) Related Posts SpotifyNumber of Songs: 20 millionPrice (monthly): Free for desktop (limited) / $5 – $10 for premiumGeographic Availability: 23 countries (mostly western Europe & U.S.)Mobile Platforms: iOS (iPhone & iPad), Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone 8, SymbianOffline Syncing: YesSound Quality (bit rate): 160 kbps on desktop & “low bandwidth” mobile; 320 kbps option on mobileWeb App: YesKiller Features: Ability to import local MP3s; 3rd party add-on apps are excellentUsers: 24 million RdioNumber of Songs: 20 millionPrice (monthly): Free for desktop (limited) / $5 – $10 for premiumGeographic Availability: 24 countries (mostly western Europe & The Americas)Mobile Platforms: iOS (iPhone & iPad), Android, Windows Phone, BlackberryOffline Syncing: YesSound Quality (bit rate): 192 kbpsWeb App: YesKiller Features: Vastly superior UI designUsers: Unknown DeezerNumber of Songs: 20 millionPrice (monthly): Free for desktop (limited) / $5 – $10 for premiumGeographic Availability: 182 countries (U.S. launch expected in 2013)Mobile Platforms: iOS (iPhone & iPad), Android, Windows Phone 7, BlackberryOffline Syncing: YesSound Quality (bit rate): Up to 320kbpsWeb App: YesKiller Features: Ability to import local MP3sUsers: 26 million RhapsodyNumber of Songs: 16 millionPrice (monthly): $10Geographic Availability: U.S. onlyMobile Platforms: iOS (iPhone & iPad), Android, Windows Phone, BlackberryOffline Syncing: YesSound Quality (bit rate): 128 kbps – 192 kbps on desktop; 64kbps on mobileWeb App: YesKiller Features: Sells high bitrate MP3s for downloadUsers: 1 million (paid) 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App Tags:#digital music#grooveshark#rdio#spotify#streaming music It’s going to be an interesting year in online music. The all-you-can-stream music subscription space is set to heat up, with rumored Spotify competitors from Google and Amazon potentially in the offing and an already-huge European service called Deezer planning to launch in the U.S. In the meantime, there are already a number of music subscription services to choose from, depending on where you live. None of them are perfect. Spotify and Rdio generally the lead the pack, each with its own impressively massive library of music. Spotify wins points over Rdio for letting you import your own MP3s, whereas Rdio’s interface design, especially on mobile, is vastly superior to that of any other offering.Then there are solid offerings from Grooveshark and MOG, both of which face an uncertain future, for completely different reasons. MOG was acquired by headphone maker Beats Audio, which plans to launch a new service called Daisy this year. Meanwhile, Grooveshark has faced a barrage of lawsuits from record labels, who accuse the startup of copyright infringement, but remains standing… for now.Which service is right for you? It depends on how much you value things like audio control, design aesthetics, music selection and user control. A year from now, the landscape may well look totally different and we’ll be updating this post accordingly. For now, here’s a comparison of the major all-you-can-stream music services. john paul titlow 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… MOGNumber of Songs: 16 millionPrice (monthly): Free for desktop / $5 -10 for premiumGeographic Availability: United States and AustraliaMobile Platforms: iOS and AndroidOffline Syncing: YesSound Quality (bit rate): 320 kbpsWeb App: YesKiller Features: Streams are high quality audio by defaultUsers: 500,000
What is Autism?Autism is a spectrum disorder, meaning it can range from very mild to very severe. The Autism spectrum is complex to the point that two individuals could both be on the high end of the spectrum but have completely different struggles, signs of Autism, and needs for treatment. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) doesn’t discriminate, it can occur in all ethnic, age and socioeconomic groups, although it is more prevalent in males. The National Autism Association has a great article covering the “Signs of Autism,” along with general and developmental screening information that can be found here. The month of April is national Autism Awareness month. Earlier this month, we put together a collection of resources and discussions to help raise awareness and provide further education to those interested. Below are the different topics we discussed online.To join the conversation please leave a comment below or connect with us on Social Media. We are active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and we have a LinkedIn group. For more information on any of the above topics, please check out our handouts created to provide additional or condensed information.What is Autism?Understanding AutismCaregiving & AutismFinancial PlanningMyth vs Fact Financial PlanningThe financial challenges of ASD can be just as overwhelming as the emotional challenges. As the caregiver to an individual with ASD, it is important to plan-ahead. The Autism Support Network put together a financial game plan that you can incorporate, along with a trusted financial advisor, to ensure that you child is taken care of financially. Myths & MisconceptionsDespite an increasing understanding of ASD, misinformation abounds. Here’s how you can help in dispelling common misconceptions.You can test your knowledge with our Myth vs Fact worksheet below! Understanding AutismIn order to gain a better understanding of the challenges faced by those with ASD, we need to dig a litter deeper to identify potential signs.Individuals with autism often experience social impairments and communication difficulties along with repetitive characteristic behavior.The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke explains some of the common signs of ASD and gives examples of how individuals with ASD might find social interactions difficult as well as examples of repetitive and characteristic behaviors. Access the ‘Autism Spectrum Disorder Fact Sheet’ here!Autism & CaregivingParents have unique experiences and challenges that they face as caregivers to individuals with ASD. Learn how you can gain a new perspective by stepping into the shoes of a caregiver to someone with autism.David Royko wrote a piece for Parents Magazine entitled “What It’s Really Like to Raise a Child with Autism.” There are many ‘eye-openers,’ within his post that might help those who are not the primary caregiver to an individual with autism, better understand some of the experiences parents face. This MFLN-Military Caregiving concentration blog post was published on April 21, 2017.
The registrations for the 48th International Film Festival of India (IFFI 2017), organised by the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in association with government-owned Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG) are now open on the official festival website.The organisers said on Wednesday that the registrations are open on website www.iffigoa.org. The festival also announced that the delegate registrations for film institute students will be at no cost.An annual event in the global festival calendar, the 48th edition of the IFFI will be “Celebrating the Future of Cinema.” The film festival will be held here from November 20 to 28.The 48th IFFI is being led by a Steering Committee comprising of noted Indian entertainment industry professionals, including personalities such as Jahnu Barua, Nagesh Kukunoor, Shoojit Sircar, Shaji N Karun, Anand Gandhi, Piyush Pandey, Prasoon Joshi, Siddharth Roy Kapur, Vani Tripathi Tikoo, Meren Imchen, Ashwini Iyer Tiwari, Bharat Bala and Director, NFDC.In order to enhance the involvement of the Indian film industry, a 40-member Film Preview Committee has been set up comprising industry professionals from across the country. The members include filmmakers such as Vivek Agnihotri, Nitesh Tiwari, Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, Bhaskar Hazarika, actors Gautami Tadimalla, Hrishitaa Bhatt, Pallavi Joshi, noted critics and writers Khalid Mohammed, Saibal Chatterjee and Bhawana Somaaya, among numerous others.The 48th IFFI will showcase the best of recent International cinema, along with special sections such as Retrospectives, BRICS Award-Winning films, Homages and an Indian Panorama Section featuring the best of Indian Cinema produced in the past year, with the aim of providing a platform for young creative minds to interact, view and learn.There will be a host of Masterclasses by eminent film practitioners and Panel Discussions featuring a diverse range of distinguished personalities discussing topics of interest for film enthusiasts.A series of new initiatives and packages will also be unveiled in the coming days, said an official release.
A full Bench of the Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) on Monday took suo motu cognizance of distress labour migration from the State and directed the Labour Secretary to file a comprehensive report on the issue by October 28.The full Bench of the OHRC, comprising chairperson Justice Bimala Prasad Das and members Justice Raghubar Dash and Asim Amitabh Dash, issued the directive as the State Labour and Employees’ State Insurance (LESI) department failed to submit a satisfactory action taken report in the past five years.In 2014, while adjudicating the case of Sushant Kumbar, the 12-year-old child labourer from Bolangir district who had sustained serious injury after being mercilessly beaten up by his employer in a brick kiln in Karnataka, then OHRC chairperson Justice B. K. Mishra and member B. K. Patnaik asked the State government to inform it about the measures taken to prevent distress labour migration and rehabilitate freed bonded labourers and their children.“The distress labour migration has assumed critical proportion in the State. Government welfare programmes have failed to prevent them from going to other States for work,” said Biswapriya Kanungo, human rights activist and petitioner in the Kumbar case.About 3 to 4 lakh people, including women and minor children, go to Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala to work in brick kilns for paltry remuneration. It has been widely reported that they are subjected torture to extract maximum work from them.Thousands of poverty stricken people from Balangir, Nuapada, Kalahandi, Bargarh and Subarnapur districts take wage advance from labour middlemen in August and September. Around November and December, they go to brick kilns and other construction sites.To stop the distress migration, the government had announced rations under National Food Security Act from September. It was also proposed to increase employment under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Scheme from 100 to 200 days. Moreover, it was under consideration to bring wage payment under MGNREGA at par with minimum wage of the State.According to a survey conducted by Tata Trusts, a voluntary organisation, last year about 38,000 people from 30 gram panchayats of Bolangir and Nuapada migrated to neighbouring States as they could not be provided jobs.
Radamel Falcao is set to join Manchester United on loan after the Premier League club agreed to a loan deal with Monaco, a person with knowledge of the deal said Monday.The Colombia striker’s season-long loan deal will cost United about $9 million and is subject to a medical examination and personal terms being agreed to, the person told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal has not yet been completed.Premier League clubs have until 2200 GMT Monday to sign players before the transfer window closes.United’s need for reinforcements has been highlighted by the failure to win any of its opening four matches under manager Louis van Gaal, who had been hired to halt the decline under David Moyes last season. United’s latest setback was a 0-0 draw at Burnley on Saturday, following a humiliating League Cup loss to third-tier club MK Dons.Falcao, who signed with Monaco a year ago, would be joining a United side out of the Champions League after last season’s seventh-place finish.
Some Sioux City residents will be ringing in the New Year with fireworks today and tonight.City code allows fireworks to be used on your own property or a property where written permission is given from 1pm this afternoon until 12:30 a.m. tonight….ending 30 minutes after the New Year begins.Setting off fireworks in a public park, city owned property, or on a public roadway, street, or alley is strictly prohibited.The discharge or possession of fireworks on city property will be subject to a $500 simple misdemeanor, $250 on private property.No person under the age 18 shall purchase, possess or discharge fireworks without parental supervision.Sky lanterns are NOT allowed in Sioux City.If you have any questions regarding the use of fireworks, please call Sioux City Fire Rescue at 279-6377.
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry will once again lead his Three for Three Challenge for the 2014-15 season by donating three life-saving bednets to the United Nations Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign for every three-pointer he makes this season.The Warriors have also announced that the team will match Curry’s donation throughout the 2014-15 season up to $5,000.During his first two seasons running the challenge (2012-13 & 2013-14), Curry donated 1,599 bednets to help thousands of families avoid malaria infection. During the 2012-13 season, Curry established a new NBA single-season three-point record with 272 three-pointers made and donated 816 bednets, and last season (2013-14), Curry recorded 261 three-pointers, providing 783 bednets to families.“I am honored to support the Nothing But Nets campaign for the third season in a row to continue to help raise awareness and provide bednets to protect families from malaria,” said Curry. “This has been an issue close to my heart since my days at Davidson, and I am grateful that the Warriors organization is helping me once again this season to give to such an important cause.”Since his time as a college star at Davidson when his college roommate, Bryant Barr, educated him and encouraged him to get involved in the cause, Curry has been a committed champion of the United Nations Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign, which works with the UN and other partners to distribute insecticide-treated mosquito nets to protect families across sub-Saharan Africa from malaria. Every 60 seconds, a child dies from malaria. Malaria kills more than 600,000 people worldwide every year, most of them children under five. Bednets provide a simple, cost-effective solution. It only costs $10 to purchase and deliver a bednet, and provide education on its proper use. Since 2006, Nothing But Nets has delivered millions of life-saving bednets to protect families in need thanks to the generous contributions from its partners, champions, and supporters.“Last year, Stephen traveled with us to Tanzania and saw first-hand how malaria can devastate families,” said Chris Helfrich, Director of the Nothing But Nets campaign. “We are so grateful that he and the Golden State Warriors have inspired thousands of fans to get involved in the fight to defeat malaria.”Fans can get involved to help Curry and the Golden State Warriors in the fight against malaria. Go to www.NothingButNets.net to send a net and help save a life.
DETROIT – Fiat Chrysler is recalling more than 300,000 older Ram pickup trucks worldwide because the fuel tanks can sag.The recall mainly affects trucks in cold-weather U.S. states and Canada where salt is used to clear snow from roads.It includes Ram 1500 pickups from the 2009 through 2012 model years. In the U.S. the trucks are in 20 states and Washington, D.C.The company says an investigation found a bracket can corrode and let the tanks sag. The remaining structure will stop the tanks from falling. Fiat Chrysler says it’s not aware of any crashes, fires, leaks or injuries due to the problem.Dealers will reinforce the bracket. Owners will be told when to schedule service. Anyone who notices a hanging strap or lower tank should contact their dealer.
The municipal election will take place on October 20, 2018, with the first advanced voting opportunity happening on October 10. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Eleven candidates are running for the position of trustee with School District 60.The school district is broken up into five different zones with each zone being represented by one trustee except for zone five which is represented by three. Five candidates are looking to fill the three seats in zone five and they include incumbents Erin Evans, Bill Snow and Darrell Pasichnyk along with Helen Gilbert, Jeff Richert.In zone one, Madeleine Lehmann will run against Melanie Edwards and David Christie will look to get more votes than David Scott-Moncrieff in zone two. In zone three and four candidates, Nicole Gilliss and incumbent Ida Campbell will be voted in by acclamation.
Then on November 24, the Huskies held a special game night in support of Men’s mental health as part of the Movember Campaign in partnership with Mighty Peace Brewing and Beard’s Brewing. Each brewery donated $2 for every growler purchased that day. The Huskies managed to raise $1,672.25 from that event.In total, the Huskies donated $3,153.20 to the Fort St. John Hospital Foundation.Fort St. John Huskies posing with cheque made out to the FSJ Hospital Foundation from the Movember Campaign. Photo by Scott BrooksMegan Brooks, of the Hospital Foundation, says all the money will go towards the Hospital’s Cancer Treatment and Diagnostic Fund.“They gave the money to the Fort St. John Hospital Foundation for the Cancer Treatment and Diagnostic Fund. It’s really cool when third-party events happen, we just hear about them and collect the cheque.”To learn more about Fort St. John Hospital Foundation, you can visit fsjhospitalfoundation.ca FORT ST. John, B.C. – The Fort St. John Huskies recently donated over $3,000 to the Fort St. John Hospital Foundation.Throughout October and November, the Huskies held two fundraising events.On October 24, the Huskies held a special game night in support of Women’s Cancer Awareness. That night included the wearing of pink jerseys, games and a 50/50 raffle with proceeds going towards cancer research. From that night, the Pups were able to raise $1,480.95.
Northern Lights College President, Bryn Kulmatycki, says providing state-of-the-art equipment ensures that students have the proper tools in order to succeed in trades.“Northern Lights College’s trades and apprenticeship programs help students build the skills to become the highly trained workers industry needs. State-of-the-art equipment ensures we’re giving our students the tools to succeed and take advantage of an incredible amount of opportunity in the North.”The $3 million in equipment builds on the $5.4 million that was provided to 15 post-secondary institutions for trades and technology equipment in 2017. PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – The Province has provided $3 million in funding to students in Northern B.C. for the purchase of new trades equipment.According to the Government, new trades equipment will help set up students with the skills they need for rewarding careers.19 schools across B.C., including Northern Lights College, have each received $160,000 to buy up-to-date equipment for trades and technology programs.
The NHL’s “loser point” is the stupidest rule in sports. For the non-puckheads among you, here’s how it works: The NHL awards one point in the standings to a team that loses a game in overtime or a shootout. But teams get two points for winning a game, whether in regulation or beyond. You don’t need a degree in #fancystats to recognize the problem: There are a total of three points to distribute when a game goes to overtime but just two otherwise. So it really pays off to play for OT. As FiveThirtyEight contributors Noah Davis and Michael Lopez documented Wednesday, this encourages dull, passive hockey. Goal scoring falls dramatically in the third period of tied games, right when a game should be coming to its climax.This is more than a minor annoyance; the loser point has already changed the identity of at least one NHL champion. In 2012, the Los Angeles Kings finished with 40 wins and 42 losses; they made the playoffs ahead of the 42-40 Dallas Stars because they accumulated 15 loser points to the Stars’ five. Then the Kings went on to win the Stanley Cup.Fortunately, having a rule as dumb as the loser point means that almost anything would be an improvement. For instance, the NHL could award three points for a win in regulation. An overtime or shootout winner would still get two points. That would at least make each game worth the same amount in the standings.Or you could eliminate the shootout and go back to having ties. The NHL claims that 70 percent to 80 percent of its fans like the shootout but has never made any detailed data on this available to the public. As regular readers of FiveThirtyEight will know, there are lots of ways to manipulate survey questions to produce a desired outcome. Maybe the same consultants telling Donald Trump that he’d make a great presidential candidate are advising Gary Bettman on the loser point.But I have something more radical in mind. Here’s the idea: You keep playing hockey until someone wins. You know, like in the NBA and Major League Baseball and pretty much every other sport but soccer — and like the NHL itself during the playoffs.The usual objection is that this could lead to some extraordinarily long games for two measly points in the standings. What if the Flyers and Penguins play a five-overtime game and the Penguins need to catch a flight to Calgary? Why add even more ice time to a grueling, 82-game regular season?But these cases are rarer than you might think. If you played every NHL regular-season game under playoff rules — 5-on-5 overtime, indefinitely, until someone scores — it would increase ice time by only about 3 percent. In the chart below, I’ve tracked what percentage of overtime playoff games (since 1995) were resolved within a given number of minutes. In the majority of games — 56 percent — someone scored within the first 10 minutes. Only 7 percent of games, meanwhile, required two or more overtimes.Overall, the average overtime game required 13.6 minutes before someone scored. Since 23 percent of playoff games went to OT, that makes the average length of a playoff game about 63 minutes, as compared to around 61 minutes during the regular season.That’s not much of an increase, and if the NHL were concerned about it, it could counteract it by reducing the regular season to 80 games from 82. Then you’d have no shootouts, no ties, no loser point and no overall increase in ice time.Still, maybe we’re concerned about those cases when one team has played a multiple-overtime game and faces off against another on fresh skates. Equivalent cases come up all the time in other sports — baseball, basketball, tennis — and they deal with it. But you could argue that it’s a bigger problem in hockey given the punishing nature of the sport.The solution is to take players off the ice, which will increase scoring. This isn’t a new idea at all — during the regular season, the NHL plays 4-on-4 hockey in overtime, and there have been proposals to go to 3-on-3.But here’s my insight: Goals are scored so quickly during 3-on-3 play that you could play every game to sudden death and pretty much never inconvenience anyone. The players, the referees, the 13-year-old in Winnipeg who refuses to do his algebra homework until the Jets game is finished — they’d all be OK.You may have noticed, in the graphic above, that I drew a smooth curve (labeled “model”) alongside the historical data. The curve is formed by assuming that there’s a 7.4 percent chance of scoring a goal per minute of overtime play, which is the historical rate in the playoffs since 1995. As you can see, the curve “fits” the historical data extremely well. That means the length of overtime games is easy to model.1It also implies that the rate of scoring is fairly constant throughout overtime. If you know the overall rate of scoring, you can accurately guess how many games will require at least two overtimes, for instance.In 4-on-4 play, there’s a 9.1 percent chance of a goal being scored each minute (according to research by Stephen Pettigrew), about 20 percent higher than under 5-on-5 conditions. It’s 3-on-3 action that sees a really radical shift, however, with a 16.8 percent chance of a goal each minute.So what if overtime was played 3-on-3? About 60 percent of games would be resolved within the first five minutes, and 84 percent within the first 10 minutes. Only about 3 percent of overtime games would require double overtime, and fewer than 1 in 1000 would go to triple-OT. The average overtime game would require just six minutes to complete, barely longer than under the current rules.2And you’d reduce the number of overtime games since the loser point would be eliminated — teams would no longer have an incentive to play for OT. And with just three skaters on the ice at a time, teams could give their bench plenty of rest between shifts.The NHL could also adopt some compromise or another. It could play five minutes of 4-on-4 overtime immediately at the end of regulation, as it does now, then clean the ice3During the regular season, the NHL doesn’t bring the Zamboni out and clean the ice after regulation, something you’d probably need to do if you’re going to play more than a few minutes worth of extra hockey. As a fan, I don’t get why the NHL seems to be in a rush to finish overtime games during the regular season — I love the tension that builds up during the pre-overtime intermission in the playoffs. and play an indefinite amount of 3-on-3 overtime if needed. It could declare a tie if no one had scored after a full 20-minute period of 3-on-3 overtime. (Ties would be a rarity, almost like they are now in the NFL.) It could keep removing players from the ice until it was just goalie versus goalie.4The NHL would need to relax the rule that prohibits goalies from advancing past the red line. Would you not stop whatever you were doing to watch Henrik Lundqvist versus Tuukka Rask, one-on-one?Or insert your own proposal: Overtime decided by rock-paper-scissors? Nearly anything would be better than the loser point.
Cleveland Browns2014 Record: 7-9 | 2015 Proj. W: 6.2 | Playoff Odds: 9.7%Off. Rank: 31st | Def. Rank: 11th | S.T. Rank: 14thAs usual, the Browns’ quarterback situation is dismal. Backup Johnny Manziel gets most of the headlines despite (or, perhaps, because of) a spectacularly trying rookie campaign, but new starter Josh McCown isn’t much better. The 36-year-old journeyman showed unexpected flashes of brilliance in eight games as a Bear in 2013, but he returned to form — ranking second-worst in the NFL in QBR — with the Buccaneers last season. Judging from the rest of his career, it would be unrealistic to expect much more from McCown in 2015.We all know that the NFL is a passing league, so Cleveland’s QB predicament puts them at a disadvantage. But if there’s any good news for the Browns, it’s that you don’t necessarily need a great passing attack to build a winning team. And with McCown and Manziel unlikely to lead the Browns out of the quarterback wilderness, it falls upon the team’s defense to provide an edge instead.The Browns return nine starters from what was an effective, and unusual, defense in 2014. Typically, defenses that limit opponents’ passing also have an edge against the running game, and Cleveland was excellent versus the pass — it was third-best in EPA allowed on passing plays, trailing only the Texans and Bills. But the Browns had trouble slowing down opposing runners. Against rushing plays, they ranked 31st in EPA allowed, ahead of only the Saints.Again, the NFL is a passing league, so Cleveland had a top-10 defense despite its weakness against the run. But given the Browns’ lack of offensive playmakers,12Their most important offensive player might be a center. In the five starts Alex Mack made in 2014 before suffering a season-ending injury, the Browns averaged 26 points and a 75 QBR; over the remainder of the season, they averaged 16 points and a 25 QBR. their defense can’t afford to have any vulnerabilities if they hope to win games. That’s why Cleveland drafted nose tackle Danny Shelton 12th overall and added defensive lineman Randy Starks in free agency, with an eye on getting tougher against the run and building an elite all-around defense.It’s an unconventional formula for team-building, but a roster engineered to keep the score low and close can make for upsets. Just last year, the Buffalo Bills used a similar blueprint to win nine games despite having the league’s fifth-worst offense. So if the Browns defense is better than their offense is bad, and they get a few lucky bounces of the ball on special teams, Cleveland might have a winner for just the third time since the franchise was reborn in 1999. Baltimore Ravens2014 Record: 10-6 | 2015 Projected Wins: 9.0 | Playoff Odds: 54.7%Offensive Rank: 15th | Defensive Rank: 5th | Special Teams Rank: 2ndA slight favorite in the AFC North according to ESPN’s preseason Football Power Index (FPI) ratings, Baltimore is more likely than not to make its seventh playoff appearance since 2008. In part, that’s because general manager Ozzie Newsome is playing his own brand of Moneyball. One of his favorite strategies: using free agency to build depth and plug roster holes, rather than trying to sign big-name players at a premium. It’s an approach that keeps the Ravens out of boom-and-bust rebuilding cycles, and keeps generating tickets to the Plinko game that is the NFL playoffs.For instance, Baltimore needed to address its weakness at secondary this offseason. Although the Ravens were tough against the run1They allowed the NFL’s third-fewest rushing expected points. and consistently put pressure on opposing QBs, they also allowed the league’s 10th-most expected points added (EPA) through the air because injuries forced them to field a handful of scrap-heap defensive backs. So Newsome added cornerback Kyle Arrington and safety Kendrick Lewis in free agency to bolster the secondary — moves he could afford to make because of cap room freed up by trading defensive tackle Haloti Ngata for draft picks. The deft deal-making2Along with the return of cornerback Jimmy Smith from injury. is a big reason experts think Baltimore will reclaim elite-defense status this season.Another signature Newsome move was to let free-agent wide receiver Torrey Smith walk, rather than paying the $22 million sticker price he was eventually guaranteed by San Francisco. While other teams shell out for expensive free-agent receivers such as Smith, Vincent Jackson and Mike Wallace, Newsome has had success with cheaper options. Take Steve Smith, whom the Ravens were able to sign on the cheap3Paying only an average of $3.5 million per season. a year ago because of his advancing age (he was 35 last season). All Smith did in his Baltimore debut was produce one of the top receiving seasons in Ravens history — and help quarterback Joe Flacco post the best Total Quarterback Rating (QBR) of his career.Even running back Justin Forsett, whose breakout season lifted Baltimore’s yards per carry from last in the league in 2013 to a tie for sixth last season, was paid only $730,000 a year ago — a pittance by RB standards. Forsett got a raise for 2015 but should benefit from another secret weapon smart teams often use: continuity. All five starters on the Ravens’ offensive line are also returning, and incoming offensive coordinator Marc Trestman is expected to keep predecessor Gary Kubiak’s running scheme.Newsome appears to recognize a few fundamental truths about the NFL: namely, that bank-breaking offseason pickups are rarely worth the trouble and that teams are better off using their money to build depth and bolster multiple positions. It’s a formula that has served the Ravens well over the years and should continue to pay off in 2015. Read more: 2015 NFL Previews FiveThirtyEight is previewing the 2015 NFL season ahead of the first game of the year. Check out our coverage of every division » Cincinnati Bengals2014 Record: 10-5-1 | 2015 Proj. W: 8.4 | Playoff Odds: 42.1%Off. Rank: 14th | Def. Rank: 12th | S.T. Rank: 8thFPI predicts that the Bengals will be solid again in 2015, and one of the primary reasons is continuity. Twenty-one of their 22 starters are back from a year ago, which ties for the second-most returning starters any NFL team has carried into a season since 2006. Plus, prodigal defensive end Michael Johnson returns after a season in Tampa Bay, and linebacker Vontaze Burfict might (eventually) come back from the knee injury that cost him most of 2014.While researching FPI,4I was on the production analytics team that developed FPI this summer. we found that consistency like this, especially when the team is already decent — as the Bengals were last year — is a small but reliable predictor of success. And in the absence of a first-class quarterback, Cincinnati needs all of these small things to go its way if the team wants to stay competitive.Bengals starting quarterback Andy Dalton has a lifetime QBR of 51, which pretty much makes him the definition of average. (QBR is scaled where the league-wide mean is 50.) Fans and observers have spent years wondering if Dalton can become a top passer, but four seasons of consistently middling numbers probably suggest that we’ve seen his best. He’s dependable, and even good enough to make a winner out of a team if it surrounds him with talent. But rarely do quarterbacks blossom into something new after four full seasons in the NFL.So instead of counting on Dalton to be great, Cincinnati has built a balanced roster that doesn’t need a star turn at QB. Wideout A.J. Green, for instance, picks up the slack by serving as Dalton’s target more than 30 percent of the time, one of the highest shares for any receiver in the league. Although Dalton played well enough to win two of the three games Green missed last season, it would be unwise to think the Bengals offense would prosper for long without Green’s ability to stretch defenses downfield.And defensively, FPI projects the Bengals to bounce back after a down year in 2014. Cincy’s defense had allowed the NFL’s second-fewest overall EPA and fifth-lowest rate of yards per attempt two years ago, but they fell to 16th and 20th, respectively, after the departure of defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer a year ago. Losing a coordinator can be surprisingly traumatic for a defense (more on this later), so they should be better in Paul Guenther’s second season at the helm.Continuity, on both the roster and coaching staff, is one of several small factors Cincinnati will have to rely on this season. Because unless, by some miracle, Dalton turns into a top passer, the Bengals need all the advantages they can get. 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 focus on the AFC North, where Baltimore, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh have all taken the division title twice over the past six seasons. Will the defending-champ Steelers hand it off again this year? And can the Browns finally break into that group? Pittsburgh Steelers2014 Record: 11-5 | 2015 Proj. W: 8.3 | Playoff Odds: 41.4%Off. Rank: 9th | Def. Rank: 24th | S.T. Rank: 4thThe Steelers had a very un-Steeler-like team in 2014. The offense was white-hot: Antonio Brown led all NFL receivers in fantasy scoring5Using ESPN’s standard scoring system. by a wide margin, Le’Veon Bell finished second among running backs, and Ben Roethlisberger ranked fifth among quarterbacks.6Even Heath Miller ranked 11th among tight ends despite seeing the fourth-lowest target frequency of any qualifier at his position. The defense, on the other hand, was full of holes, as age7They were one of the oldest defenses in the league. and free agency8They lost a number of veterans, including Larry Foote, LaMarr Woodley and Ryan Clark. caused a unit once nicknamed the “Steel Curtain” to allow the league’s third-worst rate of yards per play.Pittsburgh still used that bizarro-world formula to squeak past its rivals for the division crown. But it doesn’t bode well as a blueprint for sustainable winning, because there are reasons to think the defense won’t rebound even as the offense falls back to earth.By virtue of regression to the mean, we usually expect defenses to bounce back from uncharacteristically bad seasons, but Pittsburgh’s situation is complicated by the departure of legendary defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. When developing FPI, we found that defensive coordinators have a similar (albeit smaller) impact on defense as quarterbacks do on offense — namely, that when a team has a returning coordinator, its defensive performance tends to be better and more consistent between seasons. Conversely, when a new coordinator comes in, the defense usually declines a bit9Regardless of its previous quality. and generally is harder to project.10In statistical speak, the variance is higher in projections involving new defensive coordinators. So it’s difficult to say whether the 2015 Steelers will be any better defensively than the 2014 team.And Pittsburgh might not be able to afford another down defensive year. Although the Steeler offense was surprisingly strong in 2014, it’s probably not realistic to expect a repeat performance — most obviously because Bell will be suspended for the season’s first two games, but also because the team is unlikely to be as healthy as it was last season. Not only was Pittsburgh’s offensive “injury score”11A weighted total of players designated as “out,” “doubtful” or “questionable” by the NFL’s official weekly injury reports. the lowest of any team a year ago, but the team also lost less than half as much playing time to injury as the average NFL offense from the past nine years. It’s highly unlikely that they’ll be so fortunate again.This doesn’t necessarily mean Pittsburgh needs a complete rebirth of the Steel Curtain defense. (The FPI projections still point to the Steelers being a top-10 team, after all.) But with Baltimore and Cincinnati each boasting a slightly higher probability of winning the division, the defense probably has to improve if the Steelers want to repeat as AFC North champs.
“Legacy” is an oft-used word in association with Ohio State football. It is used to describe the honor and responsibility passed down from OSU teams to their present counterparts.For incoming recruit and quarterback prospect Taylor Graham, the word “legacy” carries a deeper meaning.Graham will be bringing more than just his personal belongings, a Kordell Stewart poster and a laptop to campus with him this fall. He has the exploits of his father, former OSU quarterback Kent Graham, as baggage.The elder Graham, the OSU signal-caller under John Cooper in the 1991 season, went on to a journeyman’s career in the NFL. He played for eight different teams, beginning with the New York Giants and then retiring from the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2002.His son, a 6-foot-4-inch, 211-pound prospect from dad’s alma mater, Wheaton North in Illinois, hopes to have a career that equals or surpasses that of his famous father.Kevin Noon, managing editor of BuckeyeGrove.com, thinks he may have the skills to do just that.“He has the tools to be successful at this level, having an Ohio State and NFL alum as a father to go along with his frame,” Noon said.While he is not the only quarterback recruited for OSU’s 2010 class, the other, Marion Franklin product Verlon Reed, is expected to switch to another position because of his versatile athleticism. That puts Graham in a position to eventually challenge for the same starting position his father once anchored.Graham may not possess the speed or agility of current Buckeye quarterback Terrelle Pryor, or even Reed for that matter, but he is more in the mold of a classic, drop-back passer like former OSU greats Bobby Hoying or, yes, Kent Graham.“He is mobile enough to move around in the pocket if need be, but will never be mistaken as a dual-threat quarterback,” Noon said. “He has a big arm and a great football mind but will still need to work on his touch and decision-making.”In addition to his accuracy and mechanics, he walks onto campus with durability concerns. He broke an ankle just five games into his junior season. Then, with a scholarship offer from OSU already in hand, Graham suffered a PCL tear in his knee and was once again limited to five games his senior year.During those 10 games he was able to compete in, however, he threw for 1,380 yards and eight touchdowns, against just one interception.Noon doesn’t appear overly concerned.“He hasn’t been able to escape the injury bug over the past two seasons, but neither of the past injuries could be classified as ‘chronic,’” Noon said.Graham, who was born at the OSU Medical Center in the literal and figurative shadow of The ‘Shoe, will have quite a tradition to live up to. If he can prove that he can overcome the ‘injury-prone’ label and the added pressure that comes with being a true legacy, someday he’ll get his chance.
Dutch superstar Arjen Robben is celebrating ten years with the German Bundesliga club and is hungry for titlesArjen Robben is one of the legendary players in Bayern Munich.The Dutch footballer is celebrating ten years with the German Bundesliga club and talked to the club’s official website to talk about his legacy.“I don’t think I expected to be here for so long – but then again, yes. I’m always a realist, and I know the world of football moves fast,” he said.“It could have been very different.”Merson believes Arsenal should sign Sancho Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho might be the perfect player to play for the Gunners, according to former England international Paul Merson.“It’s not as easy as many people say it is,” Robben said about the club’s chances to win the Bundesliga.“We have to go full throttle to clinch the title. It’ll be another fight this season, but we’re ready. I’m glad it’s starting up again.”??⚽ pic.twitter.com/HRGYYSkpjh— Arjen Robben (@ArjenRobben) October 14, 2016
The 19-year-old has debuted for Roma against Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League and recently he was called to the national teamNicolo Zaniolo debuted with Italian Lega Serie A club Roma in a UEFA Champions League match against Real Madrid this season.His good performances have also made him shine and was called to the Italy national team too.And the 19-year-old is very excited about this.Karsdorp reveals he had too much stress at Roma Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 The Dutch defender has been with the Gialorrossi since 2017, but he has not enjoyed his time in the Italian Lega Serie A.“I expected a lot less to happen than what actually did. I would like to continue on this path. My debut at the Bernabeu against Real Madrid for the Champions League was crazy, I could not describe it,” he told Gianluca Di Marzio.“My legs were trembling, thank goodness De Rossi was there to give me a hand. Once on the pitch, however, I only thought about playing football.”“I did not expect the call-up to the Italian National Team. I was in front of the TV when I found out. I called my father and we went to Coverciano,” he commented.“I hope that in the future I will succeed, I played with champions like Chiellini and Bonucci and I tried to learn as much as I could although I had little time available. Mancini told me that he believes in me very much and that now he will show me how much I’m worth.”
Gennaro Gattuso has dropped a hint on Suso’s fitness concerns and game plan ahead of the Europa League decider against Olympiacos.Milan can go through with a draw or even a defeat, depending on goal difference but Gattuso is cautious of his approach for the tie“This is a fundamental game for the club and all of us. We’ll be in a fiery atmosphere, but that disappears once you take to the field. We’ve got to focus on the game on a technical and tactical manner, not just psychological,” said the Coach in his Press conference published on Football Italia.Serie A Betting: Match-day 3 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Considering there is a number of perfect starts so early in the Serie A season, as well as a few surprisingly not-so perfect ones….“I have to use my experience and pass that on to the players for how they should face the game. Every player is different and has his own characteristics, so not everyone needs the grit I put into matches.“Olympiacos is one of the best sides in Europe when it comes to possession and we mustn’t underestimate the match. We can’t just play in the old-fashioned Italian style of defend and counter. I want to see some character and for us to take control.“It’s important to point out that Olympiacos play good football, they’re not just heart and nothing else. If we look at their players, they’ve got more international experience than us. We cannot underestimate them.”
With all English teams set to feature in the draw for the Champions League last 16, there is a huge possibility they could face some tricky ties considering their group stage positions.Man City finished as group winners despite an opening day defeat at home to Lyon, while Liverpool, Spurs, and United could only settle for the second spot.While the three second-place finishers will be delighted to move onto the next stage, they might not be as happy when they learn their fate in the last 16 draws on December 17.UEFA rules state that teams who played in the same group cannot be drawn against each other, and neither can teams from the same country.With that in mind, these are the potential opponents for the Premier League teams in the upcoming draw.Liverpool legend Nicol slams Harry Maguire’s Man United form Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Steve Nicol believes Harry Maguire has made some “horrendous mistakes” recently, and has failed to find his best form since joining Manchester United.Man City’s potential last 16 opponents: Roma, Ajax, Schalke, Atletico MadridMan United’s potential last 16 opponents: PSG, Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Porto.Spurs’ potential last 16 opponents: PSG, Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Porto, Juventus.Liverpool’s potential last 16 opponents: Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Porto, Juventus, Barcelona.
The absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and his strong character was a big blow for Jose Mourinho at Manchester United, says football pundit Paul MersonAfter nearly two seasons, Ibrahimovic left Old Trafford in March for MLS side LA Galaxy amid struggles to regain full fitness from a knee ligament injury.Since the Swedish striker’s exit, Mourinho’s relationship with the likes of Paul Pogba hit a boiling point with United struggling in the process.The Portuguese coach was sacked on Tuesday after Sunday’s 3-1 defeat to Liverpool, which left United 19 points behind their rivals in sixth in the Premier League.And Merson believes Ibrahimovic’s departure left a huge void at United.“Zlatan Ibrahimovic was a big miss for Manchester United,” Merson told Sky Sports.“He was one of those players that Mourinho had in the dressing room where you didn’t need to keep on listening to the manager’s voice, and he would’ve picked players out.”The former Arsenal midfielder added that Ibrahimovic could have helped Mourinho in a similar manner to what Roy Keane did for Sir Alex Ferguson in the United dressing room.Pochettino admits Wanyama remains in his Spurs plans Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 Kenyan international, Victor Wanyama, was the protagonist of a summer transfer saga, but in the end, he is set to stay at Tottenham Hotspur.“Zlatan would not have had what has happened in the last five or six weeks,” added Merson.“He would not have had some of the results, being 2-0 down at Southampton and being absolutely run ragged by Liverpool.“People will say they were trying, but let’s be honest, they got battered. It was embarrassing.“I think Zlatan would’ve gone in there and he would’ve started to dig players out and years ago you would’ve seen the same with Roy Keane and Sir Alex Ferguson.“Ferguson would’ve sat back and Keane would’ve come in and started to pick people out.“Peter Schmeichel would’ve been going mad along with the other experienced players. They would’ve then all calmed down and Sir Alex Ferguson would’ve had his say.”United legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been confirmed as Mourinho’s replacement on an interim basis for the remainder of this season.
Former Leicester City defender Robert Huth has announced his retirement from football after reports linking him with a move to Derby County.While responding to claims that he’s set to join Frank Lampard’s Derby County on an 18-month deal, Huth also revealed that has retired from playing football.Three-time Premier League winner 🏆@robert_huth has announced his retirement from football.More: https://t.co/4jMeUvdmLO pic.twitter.com/Q3l66opxGO— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) January 11, 2019Liverpool legend Nicol slams Harry Maguire’s Man United form Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Steve Nicol believes Harry Maguire has made some “horrendous mistakes” recently, and has failed to find his best form since joining Manchester United.According to Sky Sports, the 34-year-old replied to the Twitter report saying: “This literally couldn’t be less true,” Huth said. “I’ve retired! (I just haven’t done an interview and cried about it).”Huth had quite a successful career playing only in England, as he represented Chelsea, Middlesbrough, Stoke, and Leicester.The defender came up through the Youth system at Chelsea and won two Premier League titles at Stamford Bridge during Jose Mourinho’s first spell in charge.He made 42 appearances for Chelsea and scored no goals, and left in 2016 to join Middlesbrough.The German center back would later Stoke City after three years at the Riverside Stadium and was part of Leicester’s squad that won the Premier League title against all odds in 2016.