Whether it was during a conditioning test or while playing basketball, either way the Achilles tear of Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs will have a huge affect on the AFC race. Obviously the biggest impact will be on the Ravens who went 12-4 last season and were a batted pass away from reaching the Super Bowl. Not only is this injury to one of their stars, but I'd say it's to their most valuable player. The Ravens win on defense and Suggs is the only elite pass rusher they have on their roster. The Ravens did rank 3rd last season in sacks, but Suggs (14 sacks), was their only player to have more than 6 sacks. Without opposing offenses having to focus on and double-team Suggs, I think the Ravens sack totals will drop dramatically, putting pressure on their aging, often injured secondary. If the Ravens defense drops off, I don't think their offense, despite having "the best quarterback in the league," is capable of carrying the team.
So what does that mean for the other AFC contenders? I think there were 4 clear contenders as of yesterday, those being New England, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Houston. Without Suggs, I believe that list is now just 3 teams. Of course, there will probably be a surprise team like there is every year pop up, but I believe the Texans chances of making the Super Bowl just got a lot better.