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Fact or Fiction: Tyree vs. Manningham catches; Super Bowl LV predictions


Eli Manning to Mario Manningham was a better play than the "Helmet Catch" (interpret "better" any way you want).

John Schmeelk: Fact- The definition of "better" is what drives this question, and I take it as determining which play was better executed. In that case, it has to be the Mario Manningham play. The "Helmet Catch" was more exciting, improbable and played a bigger role in leading to a victory, but there was a lot of good fortune involved. The offensive line leaked, forcing Manning to break tackles to free himself from a potential sack. He was close to being called "in the grasp" - which would have ended the play. Manning chucked the ball high in the middle of the field, which is not considered a smart decision. His throw to Manningham, on the other hand, was perfect. Manningham ran a precise route, giving Manning room along the sideline to fit the ball in away from the converging safety. It was perfectly executed, which is not something that can be said about the "Helmet Catch."

Lance Medow: Fact- Let's get this out of the way right from the start. They're both ridiculous plays but if you peel back the layers, Eli Manning's pass to Mario Manningham in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl 46 is near perfection. Eli put the ball in the only place it could have been thrown - over Manningham's outside shoulder. It was either going to be a completion or incomplete. Manning's ball placement didn't allow either of the Patriots defenders to record an interception because he used the sideline as a barrier. That's just one half of the play. Manningham not only made a great grab, but he managed to keep both feet inbounds with very little space to operate. With respect to the David Tyree helmet catch, both he and Eli made two impressive extra-effort plays - with Manning escaping twice and Tyree winning a jump ball - but there was a lot of luck involved. The former was a result of precision and strategy.

There won't be as much scoring as people think in Super Bowl LV.

John Schmeelk: Fiction- Get the calculator ready, because the points are going to be raining in Tampa Bay. Even though the Chiefs only scored 27 points in their first game against the Bucs, they gained 543 yards! They struggled to score in the red zone, which is why the score was held down. The Bucs had 417 yards, but 286 of those came in the second half. I don't see either defense having many answers for the opposing offense. The Bucs secondary could have a real problem in coverage. I give Steve Spagnuolo a better chance of scheming against Tom Brady than Todd Bowles against Patrick Mahomes. If I had to guess, both teams will exceed 30 points.

Lance Medow: Fiction- The two teams combined for 51 points in their Week 12 regular season meeting as the Chiefs beat the Bucs, 27-24, in Tampa. The Bucs are averaging just over 30 points per game this postseason while Kansas City is at 30. Both teams ranked in the top six in scoring in the regular season with the Bucs (30.8) finishing third while the Chiefs were sixth (29.6) and both finished in the Top 10 in scoring defense as Tampa Bay was eighth (22.2) and Kansas City tied for 10th (22.6). Given the consistency of these two teams, I'm expecting the scoring to be in line with what we've seen up to this point.

Whichever team has more sacks will win on Sunday.

John Schmeelk: Fiction- I would be shocked if the Chiefs had more sacks than the Bucs in this game, and I think they will win the game. This is the pathway for the Bucs, however, to pull off an upset. The Chiefs' starting offensive tackles are injured, which will give Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaq Barrett a chance to wreck the game. Patrick Mahomes is elusive and effective under pressure, however, and I think he overcomes it and wins the game. It might actually be more important for those two edge defenders to keep Mahomes in the pocket and contain him rather than get to him.

Lance Medow: Fiction- While I think the Chiefs will win if they have more sacks than the Bucs, I don't think it's a guarantee for Tampa Bay. Patrick Mahomes is the type of quarterback than can easily make up for negative plays, so that's why I wouldn't assume the Bucs will win simply by collecting more sacks. In the last Super Bowl, the Niners had more sacks than the Chiefs (4-1) yet Kansas City won, 31-20.

Patrick Mahomes will join the small club of quarterbacks to defeat Tom Brady in a Super Bowl.

John Schmeelk: Fact- I gave away the farm on the last statement. As much respect as I have for Tom Brady, I cannot pick against Patrick Mahomes. He is too good and has too many weapons around him. If he is put into a situation where he needs a touchdown to win a game, I have no doubt he will do what he needs to get that score. I feel the same about Tom Brady, but there have been too many times this year where he has made a mistake in the downfield passing scheme of the Bucs which led to an interception. It happened three times against the Packers in the NFC Championship game, but Green Bay had turnovers of their own. That won't happen to Patrick Mahomes. Chiefs win, 34-30.

Lance Medow: Fact- Quarterbacks don't beat quarterbacks in the NFL. Rather "teams with starting quarterbacks" defeat other "teams with starting quarterbacks." But I think the Chiefs will win the game. No deficit seems to be too overwhelming for Kansas City and it has several game changers surrounding Patrick Mahomes. On top of that, the Bucs' defense has been extremely opportunistic and, thanks to those takeaways, Tampa Bay's offense has had short fields more often than not. The Bucs have scored 41 points off seven takeaways this postseason (five interceptions and two fumble recoveries), but one of those takeaways ended the Saints game - that means they've scored a touchdown off every takeaway in which they had a legitimate chance to score. What happens if the takeaways aren't there?

View photos of former Giants and current Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.


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