Patriots Short-term Rating = Hold Fundamentals are strong and that carried the Pats through their 1st two games. KC was a game of survival and the Jets game provided strong emotion and focus. The next 3 games will be key in getting a read on this team. At home against an inferior team (Miami), on the road against an inferior team (SF) and on the road against a roughly equal team (SD). If the Pats can take care of business against the teams they should beat, even if the final results are not dominant or flashy, that should be enough to reach the playoffs and possibly win the division. If the Pats can stay with the elite AFC teams (Indy, Pitt, SD, Denver), especially on the road, and be in position to win in the 4th quarter...then their rating improves to a "Buy" and that puts them solidly in the mix for a run at the title. Long-term Rating = Buy Would raise this to a "Strong Buy" except for Brady's injury (should be fine with a full year to recover, but you never know) and Wilfork's contract status (should be a top priority to re-sign, but you never know). The 3 year time horizon for the Pats is very strong. Key parts are already in place, talented youth in the pipeline, no cap issues and extra draft assets in the bank. Bills Short-term Rating = Buy The Bills got incredibly lucky to get Seattle (no receivers) and Jacksonville (no lineman) out of the way early. The next 3 games (OAK, at STL, at ARZ) give them a chance to pad their record and gain some margin for error later. The Bills play all 3 phases well so they really only need to stay healthy, focused and consistent. Not a bad place to be at this point in the season. The Bills have the players and a workable schedule to get to the playoffs. They just haven't done it with this crew so this rating could drop quickly with a key injury or a disappointing loss. Long-term Rating = Hold You can't rate a "Buy" when you aren't sure which city (or country for that matter) will be your home in 3 years. Financial instability also keeps the Bills from preventing or plugging holes in the roster, so the ship has the potential to sink without much notice. The Bills are at a good stage in their development but need a permanent home and steady revenue stream to make the leap to an elite team. Jets Short-term Rating = Hold There is talent all over the roster, but it seems to be disjointed and haphazard...including the coaching and gameplan. If the Jets can circle the wagons, there is no question they can be a dangerous team against anyone. A shaky win in Miami and a disheartening loss against the Pats didn't answer any questions. The next game at SD will be a good test. The Jets don't need to win, but they better show up strong and get some positive juju flowing. The next games are at home against beatable teams (Arizona, Cincy) and the faithful will not be in a patient frame of mind. Bottom line is that the Jets still have lots of upside but also lots of questions about the results so far. The Jets are on the clock, more than a 1-1 team should be, to reach their potential or risk playing out the rest of this season in the NY media with a lame duck coach and an emotional wreck at QB. Long-term Rating = Sell The Jets are moving into a new stadium and need short-term success, but have they sacrificed too much in the long-term? Cap issues are looming on the horizon. Future picks gained for Kendall/Vilma are offset by a probable loss of a 3rd for Favre...and no comp picks are on the way to help out. Favre isn't the long-term solution and Jenkins (key to the 3-4) likely isn't either. Too many potential problems and not enough assets to solve them. Dolphins Short-term Rating = Sell You don't want to be holding interest in this team in the short-term. Way too many key holes to be an effective team this year. The Arizona game was embarrassing and the Jets game just showed their ceiling is keeping a game close...not actually winning it. The Fins really need to take one of the next 3 (at NE, SD, at HOU) but that isn't going to be easy or likely. Miami is slowly putting the right pieces in place, but this year is a giant write-off. Their focus should be squarely on player development and that will make the results look uglier than they really are. Watch for development of the youngsters, especially on the lines, to see when the Fins are ready to turn the corner. Long-term Rating = Buy The Fins look like they have a direction and plan and the people in place to implement it. No cap issues and a lot of their success will depend on if Henne develops into a top-notch leader of the offense. I'm betting that he will and it will be sooner rather than later. One good off-season (draft and FA) may be all it takes for Miami to go from doormat to competitive.