Suggs' injury & AFC impact

Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs tore his Achilles tendon and will likely miss the 2012 season, ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reports.

The news is passed along here, in a Patriots-specific forum, because of its potential trickle-down effect in the AFC.

The Ravens are one of the Patriots' top competitors in the conference, so this is naturally a big blow. Had the Ravens not selected Courtney Upshaw with their top draft choice (second round, 35th overall), it might have been even more crippling. The team's other outside linebacker, Jarret Johnson, left in free agency.

The Ravens are resilient, and they have options at the position (Paul Kruger, Sergio Kindle, Upshaw), but Suggs is arguably their best defensive player.

When it comes to the AFC, and the teams vying with the Patriots in that elite tier, one of the primary competitors just got a bit weaker.

The Patriots visit the Ravens in the third week of the 2012 season.