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Super Bowl: Time to rename it the Super Throw?

Super Bowl XLIV will be one of the closest, highest-scoring Super Bowls ever, given the Saints' and Colts' air games.

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To add to the confusion, they also blitz more than any other team except the New York Jets.

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In the Colts, however, the Saints will meet the team perhaps best suited to unraveling their trickery.

On offense, the Colts' collection of talent is essentially a gift to Manning with the instructions: Use as needed.

Manning's understanding of football has become a part of the game's lore. His dissection of the game through hours of watching film comes dangerously close to turning football into a school project. He is the anti-Brett Favre – the son of football royalty (Saints legend Archie Manning) who approaches each game as though it were an AP math test, solving defenses' calculus with an almost humdrum efficiency.

"He's often predictable in a good sort of way," says Joe Horrigan of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. "His professionalism makes him a little less the Joe Six-pack sort of quarterback."

The Colts defense is often maligned as the weak link in Manning's quest for more Super Bowl rings. That should not be the case this year, says ESPN analyst and former NFL player Merrill Hoge.

"One thing that's lost in all this because of the [Saints and Colts great] offenses is how good this Colt defense is," he says. "This is the best defense Manning has ever had."

Like the Colts offense, the Colts defense stands in stark contrast to that of the scheming Saints. Its mantra is not confusion but speed. Possibly the fastest defensive team in the NFL, the Colts come like locusts, swarming opponents in a haze of blue.

And in linebacker Gary Brackett, the Colts have a Manning for their defense – someone to counter the Saints' offensive shell game. "Brackett is the most underrated player in football," says Mr. Hoge.

It will be football played between the ears as much as between the hash marks, and all at a speed sure to make the head – and perhaps the scoreboard – spin.


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