Let’s just admit that Power Rankings are always flawed and utterly useless. In America, there is only one way to rank things, and that’s via the installments of The Fast Saga AKA The Fast and The Furious Universe AKA the greatest franchise the world has ever known outside of the 49ers.
This is the definitive ranking of the NFC & AFC South teams. Why the South? Because these are the teams truly living their lives a quarter mile at a time. “What does that mean?” you say; “That doesn’t make any sense,” you say. That just means you are neither Fast nor Furious and you should limp your ’08 Prius back to SI’s Power Rankings, pedestrian.
Let’s do this.
Texans – 2 Fast 2 Furious
The second entry in the franchise was terrible. Just like the Texans. The star of the show, Vin Diesel read the script for the sequel, hated it, and didn’t want to return. The man who did The Pacifier declined because the script wasn’t up to his standards. Internalize that factoid.
Likewise, the star of the Texans was already refusing to come back after witnessing the script his coaches had laid out for him last season, and this was long before Deshaun Watson‘s fall from grace. At this point, with no teams wanting to touch him with a ten-foot massage pole, he may be back, but we all know his heart won’t be in it.
Sure the movie had bright spots like Ludacris, and the Texans has Brandin Cooks, but they’re missing the heart at the center of it all. Which is JJ Watt. And just like how a small movie about sexy cars and illegal street racing is now weirdly about taking down some drug lord, the Texans have lost the plot to their success. 2 Fast 2 Furious is awful and so are the Texans and without Vin/Watson doing his thing, Tyrod Taylor doesn’t have the charisma to carry the show. Much like Tyrese Gibson didn’t either.
That scene where rats almost eat through a man’s stomach is basically how the Texans fans feel going into this season.
Colts – F9
F9 gave Dom a new traumatic origin story (with an evil brother and death and destruction), and similarly the Colts are giving Carson Wentz a new origin story to leave his traumatic 2020 season in the rear view mirror. Wentz says he feels reenergized to be here, and so did Vin Diesel… though it took a John Cena to give the movie a jolt of energy. Will Kwity Paye be the Cena to Wentz’s Diesel? Hope so! Because he was the only top-notch draft the Colts pulled.
F9 also had a decent budget which meant we got to see a lot of flashy wheels throughout the movie. The Colts have great wheels too in Hines, Mack, and of course Jonathan Taylor who is basically F9‘s rocket car. That’s right, there’s a goddamn rocket car in this movie and seeing it fly into the stratosphere is the best thing about it, and that’s Taylor in a nutshell.
The movie was all about defensive driving (with magnet cars!) and the defense will also be driving the Colts. Especially if they can protect Wentz a bit, we should see some explosions from TY Hilton, who may have lost a step but can still ball out. Michael Pittman probably will be a bust, though I expect Zach Pascal will surprise people, especially if they can’t draft another weapon (Golden Tate? Maybe?).
Basically, the Colts can reach for the stars (read: post season) much like F9 literally did… but it will be weird as hell and ridiculous looking if they actual make it there.
Jaguars – The Fast and The Furious
Here is where it all begins. The first movie of the epic franchise laid the groundwork for all these unknown stars to take over the world. Can a hunky young man with amazing hair be the face of the franchise? Can a successful but never-hit-the-big-time leader win it all? That was the question for Paul Walker and Vin Diesel, but is now the question for Trevor Lawrence and Urban Meyer. These two pairs are literally identical!
Like movie audiences who heard a lot of hype, but questioned if it would actually be good, we’re all waiting to see if the Jaguars can get it done. And if the critical reception of the first installment is any indication, we will either be pleasantly surprised at how cohesive it is… or think it’s super fucking dumb. Either way, it should be a crazy watch.
The first movie was all about injecting NOS into the system to go fast. Likewise, the Jags are injecting all this young blood via a good draft. Travis Etienne looks really promising if he can get out into the open field. Much like Dom in his super sexy 1970 Dodge Charger R/T. Jalen Camp is interesting as a big target. Much like the truck Dom crashes into at the end of the movie. And Gardner Minshew is… around!
Oh and Ja Rule is Tim Tebow. Because we see them both and say “he’s in this? Why? How?”
Titans – Fast & Furious 6
Everyone and their mom knows that Fast Five was a masterpiece. Maybe the best of the franchise. And Fast & Furious 6 was good… but just not as good. The previous one showed off what the franchise could do banging on all cylinders, with power, creativity, and embracing what the franchise was turning out to be. 6 was… you know, fine. More of the same, really. But we all knew the formula by 6. We knew what was going to happen by 6. And that’s why 6 is the Titans.
The movie had plenty of muscle with the Rock and Diesel, and mashed together they might be almost as powerful as Derrick Henry. But we saw them together in the previous installment, and now it’s sort of old hat. Likewise, we know the Titans are going to run Henry and run him a lot. Unfortunately with Jonnu Smith and Corey Davis gone, Tannehill will be stifled more, leading to less room for the run game. AJ Brown is very good, but there aren’t nearly enough weapons for Tannehill to really open up the field for Henry to do his thing.
In essence, the gimmick is wearing thin at this point. The enemies know that if you go after Dom’s family, you can basically get him to do anything you want. And the Titans’ opponents know that if you can get to Henry in the backfield, you’ve got a good chance to crush this team. Is there a miracle left for the Titans, much like Letty (Dom’s love interest) apparently coming back from the dead? Maybe Dez Fitzpatrick?
Let’s face it. AJ Brown is going to have to sacrifice his body to save this team. Just like Gisele did to save Han.
Falcons – The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
Tokyo Drift is a weird one, isn’t it? Not many of the familiar faces we’ve come to know and love (or hate), the plot seems very different from before, and the look and feel of it just feels like a big change. But now the franchise was focused around the best Asian character in the entire universe: Younghoe Koo! I mean Han!
Look, let’s just admit Younghoe Koo is the breakout star of the franchise at this point. He was the league’s leading scorer after Week 13 and made drifting the ball through the uprights look easy. He was out for a bit, then came roaring back into our lives. He’s just the best. He’s Han, ok? He’s just the coolest character ever and I’m glad I picked him up in the 7th round last year, despite everyone hating on me for that.
But there are a lot of new faces in the cast/team and we’re wary of what they can do. Dan Quinn is finally gone and now the Falcons have Arthur Smith and Dave Ragone and Dean Pees. Mike Davis is here coming off a pretty solid season standing in for McCaffrey, but we’ll see if he can actually be an RB1. I mean, Tokyo Drift had Bow Wow instead of Tyrese and that was a major downgrade. Todd Gurley was no Tyrese either, sadly.
And of course, Vin Diesel makes an appearance just to say he was there. And the Falcons still have Matt Ryan, who like Vin, will be overpaid to show up.
Panthers – Fast & Furious
No one really likes this one and the leader, Dom, is all kinds of silly here. That’s basically what the Panthers are with Sam Darnold at the helm. The story is rehashed (much like Darnold) and this movie is just a bridge to what the franchise will eventually become, laying the groundwork for bigger and better and crazier things. Hopefully that’s what the Panthers will do as well, using this year as a rebuilding year after losing stars like Mike Davis, Curtis Samuel, and Teddy Bridgewater.
The most interesting part, though kind of lame, is Dom’s quest for revenge for the death of his wife (who isn’t really dead, but he doesn’t know that for a couple more movies). Likewise, I can see Darnold on his revenge tour to show that his career wasn’t killed by the Jets. Dom succeeds at the end of the movie, of course. Will Darnold? Really depends on newbies Terrance Marshall and Tommy Tremble. Both have great names, but with only a so-so O-line, we’ll see what they can do for Darnold.
Fast & Furious had one bright spot though, which was the fuel truck robbery at the beginning of the movie. That scene was so high-octane and intense and fun to watch. Much like the lone bright spot for the Panthers: Christian McCaffrey. And like the movie, McCaffrey will start strong and peter out. Coming off that injury(s) with that long chunk of time off of the field, with no other weapons to carry the load other than Robby Anderson (DJ Moore isn’t a huge threat in scoring), McCaffrey is going to be running out of gas much like that tanker in the opening.
This movie is where Dom sort of became like a superhuman though, so maybe Darnold can level up too?
Saints – Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
What? Does this even resemble what we’re used to? Who the hell are these leads? Where’s the face that’s been with us for years and years and years? What the shit is this??
It’s a spin-off! For Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston! Apparently. They think they can carry this weighty franchise on their backs without the big Dom in the house? No Dom, no Drew, no dice. Or maybe some dice, as Hill showed some spark in the few outings he had last year, and Winston… can dance? I guess? We’ll see what these two can do, but they’re certainly no Jason Statham and Dwayne Johnson. No one’s going to watch either of these spin-offs except the super fans.
Hobbs & Shaw had the villain proclaim himself to be black Superman. But we all know that’s Alvin Kamara. And if the two leads can’t make any fireworks happen, Kamara will do it himself (with some decent help from Latavius Murray). Unfortunately the other supporting cast may be useless due to the inexperience of the leads. Yet another installment that wastes the talent of Helen Mirren, and probably yet another season wasting the talent of Michael Thomas.
A lot of noise is going to happen, just like in this weird barely-palatable movie. Tre’Quan might break out a bit. Draftee Kawaan Baker might add some middle-of-the-field quick pass options. Ty Montgomery might do… something. Anything. But all that noise will be signifying little as the Saints retool their identity in a post-Brees era. And if Hobbs & Shaw is any indication, it won’t be nearly as good as before.
Remember when this movie had them basically lassoing a helicopter with a chain of cars? WTF.
Buccaneers – The Fate of the Furious
Well they did it. They finally did it. Hero turns villain, folks. We all knew it was coming, and they gave it to us. That’s right, our golden boy Tom Brady is now the villain of this story. And so is Vin Diesel, but whatever. Oh Tom was always the villain? You must not have gone to college in Boston like I did then.
This installment flips the script and has Dom take down his own family. Likewise, Brady has left skid marks all over every single football entity… except for The Patriots! His family! Which will happen! On October 3rd! Oh the fans are going to love/hate this one. But don’t piss Brady off. Because usually when he’s Furious, his Fate is to win another Lombardi.
The Fate of the Furious comes on the heels of Furious 7, which was potentially the last movie in the franchise. Tragically, Paul Walker passed during 7 and it was a question whether the next one was even going to happen. And 7 was a strong movie with great action and the most emotional send off to a hero… so how do you even follow that?
Well they did. And similarly, there’s Brady coming back for more after a picture-perfect ending to last season. The entire cast and crew are back too, much like in The Fate of the Furious, and we should probably expect to see a similar level of success. Much like The Fate of the Furious. Are there any new faces? Who cares! Everyone’s back and it’s going to be more of the same. Tin Briesel will keep making these winners until everyone else on the planet dies of old age! He’s literally unstoppable!
And that’s the definitive rankings, via FF movies, for the Souths. I might do the Norths next, but I’ll have to finish watching all the Friday the 13ths.