This past week was pilot week for the TV networks. Having sat through many of them, it became obvious which shows will make it and which shows won’t. For instance, NBC’s new show, Chase, was insufferable. Essentially, the show revolves around a female US Marshall and her partners as they track/chase down fugitives. Unfortunately, the main character was the least dynamic person I’ve ever seen. Let’s just say, I honest to God was rooting for her character to be killed off midway through. Additionally, the dialogue was comical when it was supposed to be serious. Not a good sign for a cop drama. For the most part, Chase is a show we’ve seen a million times before that offers absolutely nothing new for the viewer.
On the other hand, FOX’s new show, Lone Star, and NBC’s other new show, The Event, left me wanting more. Why? Because they established a legitimately interesting and engaging main character who can carry the show and surrounded this person with nice side characters that can hold their own weight. Likewise, the premise of these shows may not be abundantly clear or fascinating after one episode, but the show’s structure and game plan are nonetheless solid enough that I am convinced the show will be worth watching in the future.
So what have we learned from NFL teams through week 2? New guys like the Bears, Chiefs, and Dolphins have shown signs of life like The Event. They have assembled the characters, and now the story writing is finally coming along. Other teams (Raiders, Bills, Browns, Rams) have not really made a splash, much like Chase. They are trying to make it work with broken systems and terrible performances from their leading characters. They are destined to fail.
But what about the teams that have been here before? What makes a TV show hum along for more than one episode is how well it consistently balances between the formula and the surprising. House, for example, was notorious for adhering to the same predictable blueprint for each episode. Luckily, they learned to spice things up with some creative script variations in order to catch the audience off guard, as seen in the season 7 premiere last week. The Colts are finally realizing this; they need to strike a balance between pass and run, and took utilized their strengths in a week 2 demolition of the Giants. The Texans have also been successful because they have convinced us to come back for more (after week 1), and now we are getting an idea that they aren’t a one-dimensional team (after week 2).
A TV show gets in trouble not only when it refuses to mix it up, but also surprisingly, when it tries to be something it’s not. When it strays from the original formula too much, it loses its identity (The Office struggled with this slightly over the past few seasons). See: Dallas Cowboys. Who are they anymore? We thought they were a running team with all that talent and the gargantuan offensive line, but they can’t pound the ball at all. The direction of the Boys offense (or TV show) is leading them down a path that ultimately will be their downfall because it plays AGAINST their strengths. They abandoned the formula that would bring them the most success.
Now the Cowboys are tumbling into Chase territory: no lead star that can take over at any time (Romo); no supporting cast that can carry their own weight (no running game, too many penalties/ useless mistakes); the writing/leadership is absolutely laughable (Wade Phillips, Jason Garrett) and does little to assuage our doubts.
Of course, we’ve only seen two weeks of NFL programming. It certainly isn’t time to panic. The Cowboys or Raiders or Bills or Browns are not at all out of the playoff race. HOWEVER: what makes this all relevant is that there is a fantasy football side of it. So when looking at the struggles of these teams, we can learn to avoid those players in certain circumstances. Just like we can avoid wasting our time on a crappy show like Chase. Now, on to the Ferrells and Fallons for week 3…
QB: Brett Favre (MIN). I should have known…I should have ****ing known. David Garrard proved why he is the Twizzler, that’s for sure. Actually, I was wrong; Garrard is a blowpop with arsenic at the center. You get lured in over time, then he kills you with a dumpfest performance like he did in week 2. I am so frustrated that I am picking Brett Favre this week. Thanks a lot, David Garrard. I don’t know what I’m saying. (But really, I do think Favre is going to do well)
(Last week: Garrard vs. SD…15-23, 173, 1 td. 4 int, benched)
RB: Michael Turner (ATL). After an all-out free-for-all to pick up Jason Snelling off waivers, fantasy owners are going to be disappointed when they see Turner back on the field. Not only will The Burner be back in the lineup, he will also be decimating the Saints defense for 60 minutes. Did you see what Frank Gore did to them last week? I thought Turner would have a stellar year, but so far he’s had to go up against an insane defense (against Pittsburgh in week 1) and faced injuries (against Arizona week 2). Like It’s Always Sunny this season, he’s coming along slowly. Hopefully both of them, though, will bust out in their next outing.
(Last week: Bradshaw vs. IND…17 rush, 89 yds)
WR: Pierre Garcon (IND). Pierre is always a threat, but recently, he’s had a case of the butterfingers ever since the Super Bowl loss. If I could reference the classic film, The Replacements: Garcon is channeling his inner Clifford Franklin (Orlando Jones). What he needs to do, if he would just watch the tape, is put crazy glue on his hands in order to catch balls thrown his way. An easy fix.
Kidding aside, Garcon is a fairly predictable choice, so I’ll instead entertain you with a side observation: every time I see Rodney Harrison and Tony Dungy chatting it up with Dan Patrick before the Sunday night game, I get infuriated. Dungy is a Colts hero. Harrison is a punk. He’s one of my least favorite athletes of all-time for his dirtiness/ HGH use/ affiliation with the Patriots/ dirtiness again. Understandably, I’m rooting for 120 lb Tony to piledrive that d-bag as Patrick does the play-by-play. Alas, my cheers are never received, as Tony just stares into the camera like a zombie.
(Last week: Finley vs. BUF…4 rec, 103 yds)
QB: Philip Rivers (SD). If you check out week 2 of my football discussion on DucksOnTheWire.com, you’ll notice how much I despise Rivers: the way he chews out his teammates, how he taunts the other team, his arrogant, “Not My fault” face when things go wrong. Honestly, if Rivers had any more testosterone, he would literally be a walking testicle. From henceforth, I shall refer to Rivers as Giant Testicle. Anyway, Giant Testicle put up nice numbers against the Jags, and this week he has the Seahawks, who allowed my buddy Kyle Orton to throw all over them. So why pick Giant Testicle to fail? Because Carroll will rally that team enough to twist Giant Testicle in knots all day, much like the Chiefs did in week 1. I see the Chargers winning that game, but Giant Testicle will drop the ball. (I refuse to apologize for the last paragraph)
(Last week: Young vs. PIT…7-10, 66 yds, 2 int, fumble lost, benched)
RB: Brandon Jackson (GB). Jackson underwhelmed us in his first start since taking over as the starter (11 rush, 29 yds, 1 TD) against an underrated Bills defense. The Bears, though, shut down the Cowboys’ “stellar” running attack in week 2. It only seems natural Jackson will underwhelm us again. Plus, doesn’t this seem like one of the games where Aaron Rodgers finally goes berserk for 400 yds and 4 TDs? This could be a shootout. It will be like letting Cartman (Rodgers) take over an episode of South Park while Butters (Jackson) gets little screen time.
(Last week: Jones-Drew vs. SD…12 rush, 31 yds, 1 rec, 17 yds, fumble lost)
WR: Steve Smith (CAR). Cincinnati frustrated Joe Flacco and the Ravens passing game so badly that Flacco looked as bad as Carson Palmer. And that’s saying something. Now replace Flacco with Clausen. Yeah…The Irish fan in me is rooting for Clausen, but I have to be rational.
Side note: can we all agree Palmer isn’t good? Seriously. The discussion is over. I’ve watched both of his games, and I’m 95% certain we have an Angels in the Outfield situation occurring as we speak, because five or six of Carson’s putrid throws have miraculously been dropped by the defender. He should have near ten interceptions already. I suppose in this case, though, ghost Bengal tigers are mauling the players as opposed to angels. Either way, Carson’s luck should run out soon.
(Last week: Bowe vs. CLE…4 rec, 45 yds)