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Obscure offensive player could decide Super Bowl champion

The hype surrounding Super Bowl XLIV has focused extensively on the offenses of the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints, as both sport prolific attacks capable of lighting up scoreboards.

Given the offenses' penchant for dropping 40 points on hapless defenses, many are speculating that a track meet will break out at Sun Life Stadium.

Although a high-scoring affair undoubtedly would be keyed by sensational performances from Drew Brees and Peyton Manning, the success of these respective offenses ultimately will fall on the shoulders of an unheralded playmaker.

Whether it is a backup receiver making a critical play on a third-down situation or a lightly regarded offensive lineman shutting out a Pro Bowl rusher, the magnificent play of an obscure player will ultimately determine the winner in this game.

Let's take a look at some of the offensive X-factors in Super Bowl XLIV:

Saints: Jermon Bushrod, left tackle

The third-year pro stepped in for an injured Pro Bowl player (Jammal Brown) at left tackle and capably manned Brees' blind side. However, Bushrod suffered through some tough times when matched up against elite rushers on the edge. DeMarcus Ware ran past the overmatched Bushrod on the way to tallying two sacks and two forced fumbles in the Cowboys' Week 15 victory in New Orleans.

Though Bushrod seemingly held his own in his battle with the Vikings' Jared Allen, he will need to come up with a similar effort against Dwight Freeney and/or Robert Mathis in order for the Saints to come up with a victory against the Colts.

Colts: Joseph Addai, running back

The Colts' 32nd-ranked run offense doesn't strike fear in most of their opponents, but the unexpected production of Addai could give the team an added dimension. The fourth-year pro rushed for 80 yards (on 16 carries) in the AFC Championship Game, and his ability to grind out positive yardage on the ground alleviated the pressure on Manning in the pocket.

Facing a Saints defense that has been vulnerable against the run, Addai could emerge as an unlikely focal point of the Colts' game plan. As a runner or receiver, his ability to move the chains on runs and screens might be the ideal counter to the Saints' aggressive blitz tactics.

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