As the 2010 NFL playoffs roll around, one team often gets hot at the right time during the postseason and, in many cases, has taken the success to a Super Bowl run.
Last season, the Baltimore Ravens faced those odds after facing quite a bit of adversity.
First off, nobody went out on a limb to say rookie quarterback Joe Flacco could make enough clutch plays on offense to put the team over the top.
To top it off, the Ravens defense was thought to have lost its luster, with many of the veterans aging fast, and could not keep up speed with the rest of the league.
But what nobody can take away from a team is its confidence, the same confidence that drove the Ravens into the playoffs and to find success in the AFC.
With a dominating defense, along with enough offensive magic, the Ravens pulled out wins over the Dolphins and the top-seeded Titans before falling short to rival Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship game.
Baltimore has been in this wild card position enough to not show any fear or doubt in the team. Entering the postseason as a wild card team, Baltimore rode the momentum when they captured their first Super Bowl title.
Why can't the Ravens contend for a spot in Miami this year? Whether the fanbases around the country want to admit it, the Ravens inspire fear, not joy, in their opponent. You can't say enough about veterans Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, who have been there and done that.
The offense has continued to grow with Flacco at quarterback, especially with the emergence of Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice, who had 2,000-plus yards from scrimmage.
Though this season's record is a step back from last year’s regular season, six of the losses have come to playoff teams, five of them by 10 points or less. Baltimore has proved they can compete with the best the league has to offer, but turnovers and penalties have cost them.
Yet no team should doubt the Ravens' strength when they play to their potential (fewer than eight penalties a game) and can run the ball effectively like they have the past month with the three-back tandem.
Most importantly, you still need to consider the defense, which was off to a rocky start but finished in the top five in total defense once more.
As the 2010 postseason begins in Foxborough, the Baltimore Ravens realize it is a new season, a fresh start in order. The team knows the damage they can make in the playoffs and have no doubts in their mind they can take another run to the Lombardi trophy.
Matt Miselis is a Baltimore Ravens Featured Columnist for BleacherReport.com. Feel free to shoot him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org .