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Colts look to rewrite Super Bowl formula with league-worst run game

With arguably the two best quarterbacks in the league going head-to-head and two teams that lean heavily on the pass, all signs point to Super Bowl XLIV turning into a shootout.

But for all the attention being paid to the prolific passing attacks of Indianapolis and New Orleans, it may be the team that can produce more on the ground that comes out victorious in Super Bowl XLIV.

Behind the numbers

   Every day this week, will break down a different statistical trend to monitor in 
  Super Bowl XLIV. 

» Monday:Brees vs. Manning
» Tuesday:Pressuring the quarterback
» Wednesday: Rushing breakdown

» Thursday: Positive turnover differential

» Friday: Average starting field position

» Saturday:Super Bowl experience

» Sunday: Breaking down the kickers

After all, the team with more rushing yards is 36-7 in the Super Bowl. The offensive coordinator that has dialed up more running plays than the opponent is 37-4 in the big game.

While the Saints have demonstrated the capacity for offensive balance, it has yet to be determined if the Colts have any desire to do anything but pass. Indianapolis finished the regular season with the 32nd-ranked rushing attack, and is only the second team in NFL history to make the Super Bowl with the league's worst ground game. Arizona was the first last season. The Cardinals made it all the way to Super Bowl XLIII, but rushed just 12 times for 33 yards in a 27-23 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Will the Colts eschew their pass-first philosophy in an attempt to keep Drew Brees and the Saints' top-ranked offense off the field? Not likely. Of the 53 touchdowns scored by the Colts in the regular season, only 16 came on the ground. Just 69 of Indianapolis' 339 first downs came on the ground.

But that's not to say it wouldn't behoove the Colts to attempt to establish the run against a Saints defense that has proved to be vulnerable in that department. The Saints defense ranked 21st against the run in the regular season, allowing 122.2 rushing yards per game.

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