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NFL Close Calls – Week 12

NFL Close Calls – Week 12

11/27/2018

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 12 of the NFL regular season.

Chicago Bears (-3) 23, Detroit Lions 16 (43): Chase Daniel filling in for Mitchell Trubisky brought the line on the early Thanksgiving game down from -4 to -3. The Lions trailed 9-7 at the half with the Bears getting a field goal and a touchdown in the final four minutes before halftime. Detroit took a 13-9 advantage into the fourth quarter but the Bears quickly answered to go up by three early in the fourth. The Lions went 73 yards on the next possession but had to settle for a 20-yard field goal to tie the game, after being unable to get in the end zone on a pair of plays inside the 3-yard-line. Detroit’s defense forced a punt but on 1st down Matthew Stafford was intercepted and Eddie Jackson put the Bears in front with a 41-yard return as the Bears suddenly led by seven and the ‘over’ was within a touchdown. Detroit had plenty of time to work with and eventually had a new set of downs at the Chicago 12-yard-line at the two-minute-warning. On 3rd down Stafford was intercepted again this time for a touchback to end the threat as the Bears escaped with the win and cover despite posting only 264 total yards.

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Buffalo Bills (+3) 24, Jacksonville Jaguars 21 (36½): The Bills and Jaguars were tied at 14-14 through three quarters after Josh Lambo missed a field goal from just 42 yards. The Bills haven’t been known as a quick strike offense but in three plays and with the help of 30 penalty yards, Buffalo got in the zone to take a 21-14 edge early in the fourth quarter. Four straight punts followed before the Bills added a field goal after intercepting Blake Bortles deep in Jacksonville territory. The Jaguars would add a touchdown with just over a minute remaining but didn’t get the on-side kick attempt as Buffalo held on for the minor upset and 17 fourth quarter points pushed the game ‘over’ one of the league’s lowest totals of the season.

Baltimore Ravens (-13) 34, Oakland Raiders 17 (41½): Baltimore led just 20-17 through three quarters but another rough fourth quarter was on the way for the Raiders. Former Oakland star Michael Crabtree caught a touchdown pass to put the Ravens up by 10 and Baltimore got a fumble return touchdown from Terrell Suggs a few minutes later after having scored earlier in the game on a punt return putting the Ravens up by 17 on a spread that climbed from -11 to -13. The defeated Raiders didn’t offer a much of a late threat to get back within the number, going backwards on a late 3-and-out.

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Philadelphia Eagles (-5) 25, New York Giants 22 (49):The underdog Giants had a 19-3 edge but the Eagles got eight points with about a minute to go before halftime and then added another three to trail by just five through three quarters. With 10 minutes to go Philadelphia went up by three with another touchdown with a successful two-point conversion, but that lead was not quite enough against a line that opened at -6 never fell past -4 during the week. The Giants tied the game with a short field goal with about six minutes remaining but Philadelphia burned most of the remaining time to hit from 43 yards for a three-point edge for a demoralizing loss for New York, though the effort was enough for the underdog to narrowly hold the cover.

New England Patriots (-13) 27, New York Jets 13 (47): The Jets were tied with the Patriots 13-13 with four minutes left in the third quarter but Tom Brady hit Julian Edelman for a 21-yard touchdown as the AFC East leaders took a seven-point edge in the final frame on a spread that climbed up to -13 from an early week price of just -9. The Jets crossed midfield on its next drive but early in the fourth quarter opted to punt after taking a 3rd down sack. New England then completed an 80-yard drive with nine minutes to go for that 14-point advantage. It looked like the Jets would earn the backdoor cover reaching the New England 4-yard-line at the two-minute warning. Josh McCown had two throws to the end zone fall incomplete however as the Patriots held the 14-point margin.

Seattle Seahawks (+3) 30, Carolina Panthers 27 (47): Carolina led by three through three quarters and took a seven-point edge with seven minutes remaining in a game where the Panthers finished with 476 total yards but had a few missed opportunities early to keep Seattle in the game. Seattle went 75 yards in just over three minutes to answer with a tying touchdown. Graham Gano then missed a 52-yard field goal try just after the two-minute warning for the Panthers and without a timeout the Seahawks went 45 yards for Sebastian Janikowski to connect from 31 for the upset win in Charlotte with the Seahawks posting 20 points in the final 22 minutes of the game.

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Denver Broncos (+3) 24, Pittsburgh Steelers 17 (49): These teams were tied at 3-3, 10-10, and then 17-17 through three quarters with Pittsburgh turnovers offsetting a significant production edge. The Broncos completed a 79-yard touchdown drive early in the fourth quarter after a Pittsburgh fumble just outside of the red zone but it appeared the Steelers would tie the game to potentially force overtime. Pittsburgh wound up with a new set of downs at the Denver 3-yard-line just after the two-minute warning but on 3rd-and-goal Ben Roethlisberger rushed a pass up the middle after an awkward exchange and the errant throw was snagged by defensive lineman Shelby Harris for an interception in the end zone to seal the minor upset for the Broncos. That turnover also sealed the ‘under’ with the total likely to be eclipsed had the game headed to overtime.

Minnesota Vikings (-4) 24, Green Bay Packers 17 (49): The Sunday night NFC North battle appeared to be headed towards a shootout with a 14-14 score just four minutes into the second quarter but Minnesota would miss a pair of field goals before halftime. In the second half both teams punted on early possessions while the Packers failed near midfield going for it on 4th-and-1. The good field position allowed Minnesota to finally add three to take the lead with just over three minutes remaining in the third quarter with the spread climbing from -3 to -4 by kickoff after opening at -3½. The Vikings were able to take a 10-point lead just before the start of the fourth quarter and then halfway through the fourth the Packers defense got a big 3rd down sack to stay in the game, pushing Minnesota out of field goal range. On the punt disaster struck as the ball bounced into returner Tramon Williams and was recovered by Minnesota at the Green Bay 15-yard-line. Still no points were recorded as Mike Zimmer and the Vikings eventually opted to go for it on 4th-and-2 from the 7-yard-line up by 10. The Packers would face a similar decision on 4th-and-1 ahead of the two-minute-warning but opted to kick the 38-yard field goal to get back within one score, three points which were no help to those on the Packers, while the ‘under’ was also able to hold on.

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