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NFL Close Calls – Week 14

NFL Close Calls – Week 14

12/12/2017

Glancing at the scoreboard won’t tell you the whole story in most games. Here are some of the games that went down to the wire relative to the spread in the fourth quarter last week in the NFL with several result-changing scores in the final minutes of Week 14:

Atlanta Falcons (-2) 20, New Orleans 17 (51½): The Saints led 17-10 through three quarters in Thursday’s big NFC South matchup to start Week 14. The Falcons delivered a touchdown drive with 10 minutes to play to tie the game and forced a quick 3-and-out. Atlanta managed a 52-yard field goal to take the lead while slipping past the favorite spread on a line that bounced around quite a bit. With plenty of time remaining the Saints quickly marched into Atlanta territory. Atlanta opted to decline a holding penalty on a 3rd down conversion for the Saints just after the two-minute warning, leaving a 4th-and-1 play from the 24-yard-line. The Saints converted but then threw an interception in the end zone a few plays later as the Falcons held on despite having three interceptions with a big edge in penalties helpful along the way as Sean Payton would be happy to point out.

Detroit Lions (PK) 24, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 21 (48): The Lions led 21-7 through three quarters with an even line that was late to come out due to questions about Matthew Stafford’s hand. The Buccaneers would rally in the fourth with back-to-back scoring drives to tie the game with eight minutes to go. Both teams were forced to punt on their next possessions but Stafford led the Lions to a game-winning field goal with 20 seconds remaining to keep the Lions alive in the playoff chase.

Buffalo Bills (-3) 13, Indianapolis Colts 7 (37): The Bills managed to complete a touchdown drive just before halftime in snowy conditions in Buffalo. That was the only scoring in the game until a wild final sequence. The Colts converted two fourth downs en route to a 19-play touchdown drive that took nearly 10 minutes off the clock with Indianapolis tying the game with just over a minute to go. Joe Webb had replaced Nathan Peterman at quarterback for the Bills and he was intercepted as the Colts had the ball back in the final minute at the Buffalo 28-yard-line. Adam Vinatieri wound up missing his second field goal attempt of the game as overtime was needed. A tie seemed more than possible in difficult winter conditions and while Buffalo gained 35 yards on its opening possession they needed to punt. The Colts managed to improve their field position a bit but sent the ball back to the Bills with just over two minutes remaining. Buffalo connected for a 34-yard pass play to enter possible field goal range but a difficult kick wasn’t needed as LeSean McCoy broke a 21-yard run to the end zone on 3rd down to give Buffalo the win and the slight favorite cover.

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Kansas City Chiefs (-4) 26, Oakland Raiders 15 (41): The Raiders were down 26-0 entering the fourth quarter with barely 100 total yards of offense. Things got a bit interesting late however as Oakland delivered a touchdown and a successful onside kick. Going for it on 4th down a few plays later the Raiders hit the end zone again and struck for the two-point conversion to trail by 11. Kansas City managed to burn four minutes off the clock but had to punt, leaving the Raiders still more than two minutes remaining with a touchdown and a two-point-conversion able to flip the spread result. It looked like the result might come down to that conversion attempt as Oakland moved the ball 50 yards down the field with relative ease but Derek Carr was intercepted taking a shot at the end zone in the final minute to preserve the favorite cover while also keeping the total ‘under’.

Carolina Panthers (+2½) 31, Minnesota Vikings 24 (40½): The Panthers led 24-13 through three quarters with some big blunders for the Vikings. Minnesota would deliver 10 points in just over three minutes of game clock late in the fourth quarter to tie the game with the help of an interception. The Panthers only needed five plays to rush 75 yards down the field for the go-ahead score however, taking the lead back just after the two-minute-warning. Minnesota was sacked on first down in its final drive and was unable to gain yardage as the Panthers held on.

Green Bay Packers (-2½) 27, Cleveland Browns 21 (38½): The winless Browns appeared to be in complete control with a 21-7 edge through three quarters at home. Brett Hundley led a 13-play touchdown drive to get the Packers within a score early in the fourth quarter and the Green Bay defense held the Browns to consecutive punts. On the second punt the Packers were able to deliver a 65-yard return to start at the 25-yard-line and Green Bay converted a pair of 3rd downs to eventually tie the game. Going first in overtime DeShone Kizer was intercepted at the Cleveland 42-yard-line and while the Packers would have been content to line up a field goal they delivered a 25-yard touchdown pass on 3rd down to win by six, covering on a favorite spread that was at -3 or -3½ much of the week.

Philadelphia Eagles (-1) 43, Los Angeles Rams 35 (47): This NFC showdown proved worth its billing with a back-and-forth game. The Eagles led by 10 at halftime but the Rams scored twice in the first five minutes of the second half to lead by four. Philadelphia took a three-point edge in the fourth quarter but Los Angeles answered to lead 35-31 on a spread that bounced from Rams -2½ to Philadelphia -1 by kickoff. The Eagles lost Carson Wentz but still managed to move the ball with some success, settling for a field goal with about 10 minutes to go to trail the Rams by only one. Jared Goff fumbled on a 1st down sack to set-up another field goal for the Eagles, leading 37-35. Both teams would punt late and on a desperation play for the Rams as time expired Philadelphia added another touchdown for a misleading eight-point final result.

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Dallas Cowboys (-4) 30, New York Giants 10 (42½): The Giants led Dallas 10-3 until a big play from Dez Bryant just before halftime tied the game at 10-10. That is where the scoring stayed until halfway through the fourth quarter with a missed field goal and eight punts to start the second half. Dallas delivered another big pass play to eventually score with 7:38 remaining to lead 17-10 and the Cowboys added two more touchdowns while Eli Manning was intercepted twice late to pull away for a misleading 30-10 final result with those on the ‘under’ also sweating out the final few minutes.

Miami Dolphins (+10) 27, New England Patriots 20 (48): The underdog Dolphins came to play and led 27-10 through three quarters as the underdog cover was never in doubt. The Patriots scored an early fourth quarter touchdown to put the scoring at 44 leaving little room for the ‘under’ to hold on. Miami missed a few chances to pull away further and the teams combined for seven consecutive punts. New England would reach 1st-and-goal from the Miami 1-yard-line after a big play to Danny Amendola in which he hit down just before crossing the goal line. A pair of penalties pushed the Patriots backwards and New England eventually opted to kick the field goal to get within a single score before the on-side kick attempt, leaving the ‘under’ narrowly still ahead. Miami recovered the kick and the game ended with just 47 points.

Week 14 was a huge week for our NFL handicappers – Nelly’s was a perfect 3-0 Sunday, Bobby Dalton won his High Five Offer, Big E won his Top 5 Ticket plus his 10* and 15* plays, Point Train hit his 6-unit Best Bet, and Maximum went 4-1!