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NFL Close Calls – Week 11

NFL Close Calls – Week 11

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 and total in the fourth quarter in Week 11 of the NFL regular season.

Seattle Seahawks (-3) 27, Green Bay Packers 24 (49): The ‘over’ certainly looked promising early with a 21-17 Green Bay advantage at halftime. The second half started with five consecutive punts however before a Seattle field goal made it a one-point game early in the fourth quarter. The Packers responded to reach the red zone but also settled for a field goal for a 24-20 edge with eight minutes to go. Russell Wilson led the Seahawks 75 yards in just seven plays to secure the ‘over’ and put Seattle right on the number with a three-point edge approaching the five minute mark. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers faced a 4th-and-2 at their own 33-yard-line with only one timeout remaining and just over four minutes to go. The Packers opted to punt and Seattle picked up a pair of first downs and kneeled out the remaining clock for a big NFC win to start Week 11.

Detroit Lions (+4) 20, Carolina Panthers 19 (48): Carolina went 90 yards with relative ease on its opening possession for a 7-0 advantage against the slumping Lions. The Panthers didn’t score again until the fourth quarter however as Detroit took a 13-7 lead into the final frame. Carolina tied the game with just over nine minutes to go but Graham Gano missed the extra-point for a 13-13 tie. Detroit answered with a 75-yard touchdown drive capped off by a brilliant catch from Kenny Golladay for a 20-13 advantage for the host with five minutes to go. Carolina would wind up back in the end zone with just over a minute remaining, seemingly putting all side and total outcomes back in play. To the delight of those on the ‘under’ or Detroit, the Panthers went for two and the win, and came up short as Detroit held on for the narrow upset.

Dallas Cowboys (+3½) 22, Atlanta Falcons 19 (50): The ‘under’ was in a great shape with only field goals through three quarters as the home favorite Falcons led just 9-6 heading into the fourth quarter. The underdog Cowboys scored a touchdown early in the fourth to lead by three after a missed PAT left Atlanta just a touchdown away from covering the 3½-point favorite spread. With a new set of downs near midfield Matt Ryan committed the game’s only turnover and Dallas added a short field touchdown after a long return to suddenly lead by 10. The Falcons would add a field goal, force a punt, and then score a touchdown for a 19-19 draw just after the two-minute warning to keep both side outcomes alive with overtime possible. Dak Prescott led a 51-yard drive and Brett Maher just barely connected from 42 yards for the game-winning kick.

 

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Baltimore Ravens (-6½) 24, Cincinnati Bengals 21 (44): The Ravens led 13-7 at halftime but Cincinnati scored on back-to-back short field drives early in the third quarter to lead 21-13. Baltimore managed to tie the game at 21-21 with a minute to go in the third quarter, successfully getting a two-point conversion. That left the ‘over’ in great shape just needing a field goal the rest of the way. The Ravens had 1st-and-goal from the Cincinnati 8-yard-line but wound up settling for a 24-yard field goal to lead by just three. Overtime looked likely but Randy Bullock would miss the answering try from 52 as the Ravens held a three-point advantage. Cincinnati got the ball back but needing just three yards for a 1st down came up with three straight incomplete passes as the Ravens won but the Bengals collected as the road underdog.

New Orleans Saints (-7) 48, Philadelphia Eagles 7 (56½): For the second straight week the Saints turned in a blowout result as there was no drama with regards to the favorite spread that fell back down to -7 by kickoff. Those on the ‘over’ had some late hope but Carson Wentz had a pair of late interceptions, the first at the New Orleans 17-yard-line and the second in the end zone for a touchback to keep the total just ‘under’.

Houston Texans (-3) 23, Washington Redskins 21 (40½): Houston led 17-7 at halftime and clung to a 20-14 edge through three quarters. With Colt McCoy filling in at quarterback after an injury to Alex Smith, Washington took the lead with an Adrian Peterson touchdown run with about 12 minutes remaining. Houston hit a 54-yard field goal to lead by two, just short of the road favorite spread halfway through the final frame. Washington had to punt and the Texans did their best to run out the clock before reaching 4th down with less than a minute remaining. Houston attempted a 45-yard field goal that carried great ramifications relative to the spread and Ka’imi Fairbairn missed wide right. Washington would attempt a 63-yarder as time expired but didn’t get there as Houston held with a two-point final margin that wasn’t quite enough for most.

 

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New York Giants (-3) 38, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 35 (54): The Giants led 24-7 halfway through the third quarter but Jameis Winston provided a spark for Tampa Bay off the bench. Tampa Bay cut the margin to three points with five minutes to go sitting right on the closing spread, though early in the week -1 or -2 was often available on New York. The Giants needed just over a minute to go back up by 10 but in just six plays the Buccaneers were back within three. The Tampa Bay defense surprisingly forced a 3-and-out to get a late chance but Winston was intercepted for the fourth Buccaneers turnover in the game.

Pittsburgh Steelers (-4) 20, Jacksonville Jaguars 16 (47): The Steelers were favored by 5-to-6 most of the week before line crashed to -4 in the hour before kickoff. It didn’t seem likely to matter as Jacksonville scored the first touchdown of the game to lead 16-0 with only 17 minutes left in the game. A blown coverage led to a 78-yard touchdown for Antonio Brown but the Steelers didn’t get the two-point conversion to trail by 10. Three punts followed and the Steelers were stopped on downs just across midfield with fewer than seven minutes remaining. Jacksonville wasn’t able to pick up a first down and the Steelers had the ball back with about five minutes remaining. In eight plays and fewer than three minutes the Steelers climbed to within three points just ahead of the two-minute warning. The Jacksonville offense turned in a fourth consecutive 3-and-out and managed to burn only 46 seconds with Pittsburgh using two timeouts. The punt went just 37 yards as the Steelers had decent field position. Not content for a tie Pittsburgh connected on two big gains and reached the 2-yard-line. Back-to-back penalties on a day where the Steelers had an outrageously lopsided penalty advantage put Pittsburgh even closer and with just seconds left Ben Roethlisberger narrowly reached the ball to the end zone for the go-ahead score. The extra-point was good for a closing line push though only very late Pittsburgh backers would have benefitted.

Los Angeles Rams (-3) 54, Kansas City Chiefs 51 (63½): The Rams had a 16-7 lead early but by halftime the score was tied at 23-23 with the defensive score from the Rams and a late touchdown from the Chiefs after the two-minute warning with both teams missing extra-point kicks in the first half. The record setting ‘over’ was well on pace with a 30-30 score midway through the fourth but the Rams were in front by 10 heading into the fourth quarter with a second defensive score from Samson Ebukam. Kansas City was back within three with a 73-yard touchdown for Tyreek Hill and the Chiefs went up by four a minute later with their own defensive score. The Rams quickly answered with a 47-44 edge just after the 10 minute mark, sitting right on the closing spread of -3. Both teams shockingly traded punts on the next two possessions before the Chiefs went back in front with fewer than three minutes remaining. The Rams answered in less than a minute to lead by three again. In a game with 105 points the Rams defense sealed the win with a pair of late interceptions for a closing line push though early Los Angeles backers might have found a number less than three while +3.5 was certainly available on Sunday for those backing the Chiefs.

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