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NFL Close Calls – Week 14

NFL Close Calls – Week 14

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 14 of the NFL regular season with one of the wilder NFL Sundays in recent memory.

Kansas City Chiefs (-6½) 27, Baltimore Ravens 24 (49): The AFC-leading Chiefs led by seven at halftime with a spread that slipped from -7½ to -6 or -6½ by kickoff. Baltimore tied the game late in the third quarter following a Patrick Mahomes interception. A big punt return put the Ravens in position for the upset and with just over four minutes to go Lamar Jackson found John Brown to give the underdog Ravens a seven-point edge. Mahomes cemented his MVP case with a great drive that included a pair of 4th down conversions, the second of which resulted in the game-tying touchdown in the final minute. That score also put the scoring at 48 on a total that reached as high as 53 before settling at 51 and dropping to 49 by kickoff. The Ravens had some time on the clock but disaster struck as a sack led to a fumble and the Chiefs had the ball in field goal range. Harrison Butker would miss from 43 yards at time expired however. Kansas City had the ball first and survived a fumble inside the red zone, ultimately giving Butker another opportunity and he was good from 35 yards. Baltimore crossed midfield but went backwards with a penalty and a sack that saw Jackson exit the game. Robert Griffin III entered and made a good throw on 4th-and-22 but Willie Snead couldn’t come up with it to extend the game. Baltimore still cashed underdog tickets and there were likely mixed results on the total.

Cleveland Browns (+1) 26, Carolina Panthers 20 (48): The scoring pace in this game was hot early with a 17-17 halftime score as the Panthers and Browns traded scores. Cleveland fumbled on its first play of the second half but Carolina didn’t take advantage of the field position to add points and only later in the frame added a field goal to lead by three as slight road favorite entering the fourth quarter. Early in the fourth Nick Chubb put the Browns in front but the PAT was missed for just a three-point edge. Cleveland added a field goal a few minutes later but up by just six, all results were still in play. Carolina reached 1st-and-goal with about four minutes remaining but Cam Newton’s eventual 4th down throw sailed high. The Panthers would get another shot but Newton threw an interception on 1st down with a minute to go as the Browns and the ‘under’ held on.

Green Bay Packers (-4) 34, Atlanta Falcons 20 (50½): Despite only managing 300 total yards in the game the Packers pulled away with a 34-7 lead late in the third quarter. Atlanta scored early in the fourth to put the total scoring at 48, just below the closing total. The Falcons reached the Green Bay 8-yard-line with about seven minutes remaining but a fumble kept points off the board. In the final minutes Atlanta kept a meaningless drive going with a 4th down conversion and then with 14 seconds to go hit a 19-yard touchdown pass on another 4th down play to bail out those on the ‘over’.

New Orleans Saints (-9½) 28, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 14 (55½): The Buccaneers led 14-3 at the half as they looked to sweep the season series with the Saints. The game seemed to swing on a blocked punt late in the third quarter as New Orleans got back in the game with a short-field touchdown. Early in the fourth New Orleans scored on 4th-and-goal with a Drew Brees reach to put New Orleans up by four and suddenly the hefty underdog cover was in danger for the home team. Another 3-and-out gave the Saints the ball back in good field position and New Orleans again scored to make the margin 11 points. The Buccaneers again had to punt and the Saints added a field goal to lead by 14 with just over a minute to go. A touchdown would still put the Buccaneers in position to cover however and Tampa Bay reached the New Orleans 26-yard-line in the final seconds before a holding call and an eventual interception in the end zone.

New York Jets (+4½) 27, Buffalo Bills 23 (37): The Bills led 20-13 early in the third quarter after a short field goal after the Jets fumbled on the halftime kickoff. The Bills didn’t add points after another Jets turnover and then early in the fourth New York managed to tie the game. Buffalo missed a field goal on its next possession but after forcing a quick punt managed three points after a 62-yard drive, leading by three with just over two minutes to go on a spread that sat at -3½ before reaching -4 or -4½. Sam Darnold led a great late drive with the Jets rushing into the end zone on 4th-and-goal to take the lead for the first time in the game. Josh Allen would get intercepted to end the game for the Bills.

Miami Dolphins (+9) 34, New England Patriots 33 (50½): The Patriots led 30-28 late in the fourth quarter but couldn’t quite burn off the remaining clock and didn’t find the end zone, ultimately kicking a 22-yard field goal with 16 seconds remaining to lead by five when a touchdown could have put New England by nine on a spread that bounced around between -7 and -9. The Dolphins returned the kickoff to the 31 and had one play left, it turned out to be a play that will be remembered for a long time as a two laterals after a Ryan Tannehill completion left Kenyan Drake with room to maneuver, eventually going the distance for a 69-yard game-winning score.

Los Angeles Chargers (-16½) 26, Cincinnati Bengals 21 (48): The Bengals were never out of position to cover the massive underdog spread in this game but their late bid to tie the game had a huge impact on the total. The ‘under’ felt safe with just 32 points into the fourth quarter and matching field goals didn’t change that trajectory. Cincinnati would complete a touchdown drive just after the two-minute warning and lined up for a two-point conversion that would have tied the game. The attempt was not a success as the Chargers led 23-21 and the total sat just ‘under’. After holding the on-side kick attempt the Chargers added a late field goal to secure the win and put the scoring at 46, just below the closing figure of 48 after an opener at 47.

Dallas Cowboys (-3) 29, Philadelphia Eagles 23 (45): Eagles backers had a right to be fuming early in Sunday’s big afternoon showcase game in the NFC East with a Dallas fumble on the opening kickoff handed back to the Cowboys on a simply unimaginable replay review decision. From there just 15 points were scored through three quarters and the underdog Eagles tied the game at just 9-9 early in the fourth quarter. These rivals scored four touchdowns in the final eight minutes for a 23-23 tie to incredibly hit the ‘over’ when the ‘under’ appeared to be in a very safe position most of the way. Dallas was in position to have a game-winning field goal attempt at the end of regulation but had a fumble and then a sack to cost the team 15 yards. In overtime Dallas again appeared to stall in field goal range but opted to go for it on 4th-and-1 from the 19-yard-line rather than kicking a relatively sure field goal. The Cowboys got the conversion and then on 3rd-and-8 connected for a game-winning and spread-covering touchdown on a lucky bounce as a deflected pass wound up in Amari Cooper’s hands.

Oakland Raiders (+10) 24, Pittsburgh Steelers 21 (51): The heavy underdog Raiders came to play in this old rivalry as the double-digit underdog was in position to cover the entire way. The ‘under’ also seemed safe with a 14-10 score through three quarters which held until the Raiders took the lead 17-14 with a touchdown with just over five minutes remaining in the game. Both teams would score again for a 24-21 Oakland edge in the final seconds. The Steelers picked up a huge gain on a lateral play to set-up a game-tying field goal that would have put those on the ‘over’ miraculously back in play but Chris Boswell’s plant foot slipped and his 40-yard attempt failed as the ‘under’ held on.

Seattle Seahawks (-3) 21, Minnesota Vikings 7 (45½): Both defenses were tough in this Monday NFC showdown with a 3-0 lead for Seattle through three quarters after Minnesota failed going for it on 4th-and-1 across midfield. In good field position Seattle got the biggest play of the game to that point with a 31-yard pass interference call on the first play of the 4th quarter, a play with minimal contact on a debatably catchable pass. That put Seattle at 1st-and-goal and Seattle got past the home favorite spread with a field goal to lead 6-0. Minnesota would go right down the field on its next possession but stalled inside the 2-yard-line and threw incomplete on 4th-and-goal from the 1-yard-line. Minnesota’s defense forced a 3-and-out and returned to Seattle territory, opting for a 47-yard field goal try. Bobby Wagner blocked the kick but was flagged for pushing off teammates to leap over a gap, a new rule emphasized this season. Without explanation the flag was picked up as for the second time in the game a clear 15-yard penalty on Wagner was missed after he got away with a facemask in the 1st quarter. With the block Seattle took over downs near midfield when the penalty would have given Minnesota 1st down at the Seattle 14-yard-line in an egregious officiating mistake that created a huge swing in the potential result of the game. A big Russell Wilson scramble put the game away for the Seahawks who would also add a late score on defense before Minnesota avoided the shutout with a garbage-time touchdown for a very misleading final score.

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NFL Close Calls Week 13

NFL Close Calls – Week 13

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 13 of the NFL regular season.

Miami Dolphins (-3½) 21, Buffalo Bills 17 (40): The Dolphins led 14-6 at the half and 14-9 through three quarters on a spread that fell from -6 to just -3½. After both teams had interceptions late in the third quarter Josh Allen led a touchdown drive to put Buffalo in front at the 12-minute mark, with the two-point conversion making it a 17-14 edge. With the help of two penalties for 36 yards Miami answered with a touchdown drive in only six plays to go in front 21-17, past the favorite spread while inching closer to the total that closed at 40. The Bills missed a 55-yard field goal on their next drive with back-to-back sacks making that kick much more difficult. Miami only burned a minute of clock as the Bills got the ball back with more than two minutes remaining. Buffalo reached the Miami 25-yard line but a field goal wouldn’t be enough. A third down completion to the Miami 6-yard-line was overturned on replay review and on 4th-and-11 the Miami defense held to secure the narrow win while the ‘under’ also held on.

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New York Giants (+3½) 30, Chicago Bears 27 (43½): After the Bears had a comeback win last week and the Giants had a late collapse the same storyline looked to be unfolding in this matchup. The Giants led by 10 entering the fourth quarter and held Chicago to a field goal on an early drive to keep a seven-point edge. Chicago would get the ball back with more than two minutes remaining but fumbled immediately. With great field position New York had to settle for a field goal while only trimming 30 seconds off the clock. Still it was a 10-point game when the Bears got the ball back after the two-minute warning. Chase Daniel led the Bears to a field goal in just 36 seconds. Chicago got the onside kick and Daniel delivered a few big plays to tie the game as time expired. In overtime New York went first and got a 44-yard field goal. Daniel couldn’t deliver again, struggling to hold on to the ball and eventually failing on 4th-and-8 near midfield as the underdog Giants held on this week.

Los Angeles Rams (-10) 30, Detroit Lions 16 (53½): Detroit wound up holding the Rams to just 344 yards and trailed by only three points well into the fourth quarter as a heavy home underdog. Matthew Stafford would have another big late game turnover, fumbling on a sack near midfield to give the Rams great field position. Three plays later the Rams went up by 10 with fewer than seven minutes remaining in the game to match the spread. Detroit had a costly red zone holding penalty and settled for a field goal past the three-minute mark to get back within one score. The onside kick try was not recovered and the Rams nearly could have taken a knee with Detroit exhausting its timeouts. Instead Todd Gurley ran into the end zone after the two-minute warning to suddenly give the Rams a 14-point edge. The Lions were a threat to get back within the number late reaching the Los Angeles 14-yard-line in the final seconds before Stafford threw an interception in the end zone to end a loss for a second straight week.

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Arizona Cardinals (+13½) 20, Green Bay Packers 17 (41): In what turned out to be Mike McCarthy’s final game for the Packers, Green Bay never approached the heavy-favorite spread. A three-point edge at halftime was erased as Arizona scored 10 points in four minutes late in the third quarter to lead by seven. The Packers tied the game at 17-17 with five minutes to go but Arizona managed a late field goal after the two-minute warning. Those on the ‘over’ liked their chances with a late Green Bay score either clearing the number or forcing overtime. The Packers didn’t make the task easy with Aaron Rodgers unable to move further than the Arizona 31-yard-line and in windy, wet conditions Mason Crosby missed from 49 yards.

Kansas City Chiefs (-14) 40, Oakland Raiders 33 (54): The Chiefs led 33-16 entering the fourth quarter to sit past a spread that climbed as high as -15½ before settling right on 14. Derek Carr led two fourth quarter touchdown drives to suddenly put the Raiders within three with nearly seven minutes remaining. A big offside call converted a key 3rd down for Kansas City and the Chiefs wound up in the end zone just after the two-minute warning to seal the win up by 10. Oakland would wind up with a late field goal but only 28 seconds were on the clock when the Raiders failed on an onside kick attempt.

Los Angeles Chargers (+3) 33, Pittsburgh Steelers 30 (53½): With 10 points in the final three minutes before halftime, Pittsburgh had a commanding 23-7 edge in the Sunday night game. That margin held until the final two minutes of the third quarter with the Chargers completing a 13-play, 88-yard touchdown drive and also adding the two-point conversion. Pittsburgh still led by eight but a sack and a holding call had the Steelers facing 4th-and-24 and they punted back to the Chargers who delivered a 73-yard punt return touchdown. Another successful two-point conversion tied the game at 23-23. Pittsburgh went three-and-out on offense and the Chargers turned in another touchdown drive to suddenly lead by seven at the eight-minute mark. Pittsburgh regrouped for a 12-play touchdown drive that included a 4th down conversion but more than four minutes remained on the clock. The Chargers methodically used up the remaining clock to line up a game-winning field goal from just 39 yards. The kick was missed but offsides was called. On the second attempt the Steelers got the block but again offsides was called. It was called again on the third attempt but Mike Badgley was good from 29 yards as the Chargers were able to steal a huge road win in the AFC picture, with theses teams now having a good chance of meeting again in the wild card round of the AFC playoffs.

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Philadelphia Eagles (-5½) 28, Washington Redskins 13 (45): The Eagles led 7-3 in the second quarter Monday night when Washington had to turn to third-string quarterback Mark Sanchez after losing Colt McCoy to a broken leg a few weeks after losing Alex Smith to a broken leg. Adrian Peterson broke a long run to give Washington the lead and the Redskins then stepped up on defense with a goal line stand. Washington wasn’t able to take a lead into halftime however as the Eagles found the end zone after the two-minute warning to lead by four facing a favorite spread that slipped from -7 to -5½. Washington managed a field goal just before halftime to trail just 14-13. Josh Norman came up with an interception to keep Philadelphia points off the board in the third quarter as the underdog was still in position to cover despite Sanchez providing little for the Washington offense. Early in the fourth quarter the Eagles finally completed a touchdown drive and went for two successfully to lead by nine. Sanchez was picked off a few plays later near midfield and Philadelphia added a field goal despite picking up only seven yards. Down 12 Washington was still a touchdown away from covering but had negative yards on its final two possessions and the Eagles added a late field goal to complete a big NFC East win. The total also stayed just barely ‘under’ with several missed scoring chances in the game.

 

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4th Quarter Covers – NCAA Week 14

4th Quarter Covers – NCAA Week 14

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 from Championship weekend in college football. Each week there are several teams that cover despite not necessarily deserving it, as well as other teams that played much better than the final score shows.

Northern Illinois (+3½) 30, Buffalo 29: The Bulls led 22-10 at halftime and scored a touchdown to open the second half for a 19-point edge. The Huskies made some great defensive adjustments as Buffalo would pick up a net total of seven yards over its next five possessions. A marginal punt handed Northern Illinois good field position and late in the third quarter the Huskies closed the gap back to 12 points. After another 3-and-out for the Bulls, Northern Illinois needed only four plays to score again to cut the deficit to just five points with most of the fourth quarter still to play. After forcing two more Buffalo punts, the Huskies had the ball back at their own 30-yard-line with just over three minutes to go. Without great resistance Northern Illinois got the go-ahead score in eight plays, connecting for a 35-yard catch with just over a minute to go. Up one, Northern Illinois went for two and fell short leaving backers of the slight favorite still with hope for a late touchdown to get past the number. Buffalo would cross midfield thanks to a pass interference call but wound up ending the game with four straight incomplete passes.

UAB (+1) 27, Middle Tennessee State 25: UAB scored three touchdowns in the span of four minutes in the second quarter but Middle Tennessee State had a chance to tie the game in the third quarter, failing on a two-point conversion attempt to sit behind 24-22 heading into the fourth quarter. The Blue Raiders would take the lead on a field goal with about 10 minutes remaining but after an exchange of punts that put UAB at midfield, the Blazers did enough for the go-ahead field goal with just over three minutes to go to lead by two on a spread that fell from +3 to just +1 by kickoff. Middle Tennessee State crossed midfield in the final two minutes but ended its threat with three straight incomplete passes.

UCF (-1) 56, Memphis 41: The spread on this game opened at -4½ and fell to just -1 by kickoff with the injury to McKenzie Milton putting the UCF winning streak in jeopardy. Memphis had a 24-7 lead in the first quarter and led 38-21 at halftime. As they did in the regular season meeting, UCF battled back in the second half and cut the margin to just six points by the start of the fourth quarter. The Knights took a one-point lead early in the fourth quarter and Milton’s replacement Darriel Mack would wind up with three fourth quarter touchdowns as the Knights pulled away for a second straight AAC title and will head to a New Year’s Six bowl game.

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Oklahoma (-9½) 39, Texas 27: For very little of this game Oklahoma appeared in position to cover a spread that climbed from -7½ to -9½ as they led 20-14 at the half after overcoming an early deficit and the game was tied 27-27 through three quarters after the Sooners blocked a PAT on a late third quarter Longhorns touchdown. That kept overtime as a serious possibility but that changed when Oklahoma got a safety after hitting an early fourth quarter field goal. Texas was pinned deep following a fumble that thwarted a Sooners scoring opportunity but a blitz put Sam Ehlinger down in the end zone for a five-point edge for Oklahoma. Getting the ball right back Oklahoma converted three third downs and scored with two minutes to go for a 12-point edge to slip past the favorite spread. Texas looked like they would get back within the number with a new set of downs inside the 20 in the final minute but an interception sealed the win and cover for the Big XII championship for Oklahoma.

Fresno State (+1) 19, Boise State 16: The Bulldogs didn’t have much production in Boise Saturday night looking to avenge a tight loss in last season’s conference championship game as well as a regular season defeat this season. Fresno State managed field goals in the two middle quarters for a 13-7 edge but Boise State would complete an 87-yard touchdown drive with about eight minutes to go to the tie the game. The PAT was blocked as Boise State failed to go in front for what would have been a one-point win to match the closing spread on the game with the Bulldogs even briefly favored at some outlets late in the week. Neither squad posed much of a threat to score on late game possessions in regulation as overtime was needed. Boise State stalled inside the 10-yard-line and settled for a 23-yard field goal going first. Fresno State hit two big gains early and then on the second try from the one-yard-line rushed into the end zone for the win.

Clemson (-28) 42, Pittsburgh 10: The statistics suggested a blowout but this was a 14-10 game early before Clemson scored two touchdowns in the final five minutes before halftime. That 18-point edge was well short of the four-touchdown spread and Pittsburgh held Clemson off the scoreboard in the third quarter. Early in the fourth the Tigers put the game away with another touchdown but still seemed unlikely to slip past the favorite spread until Pittsburgh fumbled at the Clemson 30-yard-line with six minutes to go. Clemson broke a 31-yard run on second down and then a 28-yard run a few plays later, eventually putting the result-flipping touchdown on the board with just over three minutes to go.

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Ohio State (-16½) 45, Northwestern 24: Ohio State took advantage of a few big plays for a 24-7 edge at the break, just past the favorite spread in Indianapolis. Northwestern battled back in the third quarter with two touchdown drives as the heavy underdog sat within three with the ball back. An interception halted that momentum but Ohio State didn’t add points until late in the third quarter for a 10-point edge. Early in the fourth Ohio State missed a field goal and Northwestern succeeded on a kick to get within seven and two scores within the underdog spread. A broken coverage allowed Ohio State a 63-yard pass to set-up a Buckeyes touchdown for a 14-point edge with nine minutes remaining. Northwestern crossed midfield but eventually had to go for it on 4th down and came up short, allowing Ohio State to play with a short field and the Buckeyes added a late score for a 21-point edge in the final minutes. Northwestern was sacked twice on its final possession and ultimately opted to punt facing 4th-and-19 as Ohio State was able to win and cover despite being soundly out-rushed and only leading by a single-score much of the second half.

South Carolina (-28) 28, Akron 3: In rainy conditions South Carolina had a 28-3 edge at halftime with the help of a defensive touchdown that followed-up a red zone interception. The Gamecocks had turnovers on three consecutive possessions at one point in the second half while Akron was stopped on downs in South Carolina territory twice while having another fumble near midfield. Ultimately neither team added points and Akron held on to the narrow underdog cover with the scoreless second half in a game with seven turnovers and minimal offensive production on both sides.

Stanford (-3) 23, California 13: Down 13-6 at halftime California dominated the second half of this rivalry game as Stanford had 34 net yards on its first four possessions after halftime. Cal meanwhile had an empty drive into Stanford territory, an interception in the end zone, and a missed 34-yard field goal. The Cardinal would go up two scores after the four-minute mark in the fourth quarter and the Bears would wind up with another interception that with a long return put Stanford at the three-yard-line. The Cardinal scored to go up by 17 before allowing a late touchdown to the Bears in the final minute.

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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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4th Quarter Covers – NCAA Week 13

4th Quarter Covers – NCAA Week 13

11/25/2018

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 in the fourth quarter last week in the final big college football weekend. Each week there are several teams that cover despite not necessarily deserving it, as well as other teams that played much better than the final score shows.

Miami, OH (-14½) 42, Ball State 21: This Tuesday night game was tied at halftime as heavy favorite Miami scored two touchdowns in the final four minutes of the first half to erase a 21-7 deficit. Miami took over in the third quarter to lead by 14 on a spread that was as high as -17½ early in the week. In the fourth the Redhawks got past the number with a 95-yard touchdown drive to lead by 21 and then held off two late Ball State drives into Miami territory.

Iowa (-8½) 31, Nebraska 28: The spread on this game dived from -10 down to as low as -7½ and the halftime score was right in that range with a 21-13 Iowa edge. Iowa went up by 15 early in the third quarter but then was stopped going for it on 4th down at the Nebraska 3-yard-line to keep the Cornhuskers in the game. Nebraska completed a 98-yard touchdown drive to get back within eight and looked poised to get closer early in the fourth before an interception in Iowa territory. Iowa wasn’t able to extend the lead as a 37-yard field goal was missed and the Huskers went 80 yards to tie the game, successfully converting the two-point conversion. Iowa was able to methodically burn the remaining clock while giving kicker Miguel Recinos a shot at redemption and he hit from 41 yards for the Iowa win as time expired, though the underdog earned the cover.

Texas (-15) 24, Kansas 17: With a spot in the Big XII title game on the line Sam Ehlinger played for the Longhorns but it was a flat start with just a 7-0 edge at halftime. Texas was able to score twice late in the third quarter to get to 21-0 but Kansas wound up with 17 points in the fourth quarter including 10 points in the final four minutes to steal the underdog cover, though with just a 297-296 yardage edge for Texas as the Jayhawks deserved the close scoring result.

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Central Florida (-14½) 38, South Florida 10: UCF took an early 17-0 lead but South Florida trimmed the margin to 17-10 late in the third quarter in a game where star Knights quarterback McKenzie Milton left with a serious leg injury. UCF would run the ball with great success and turned a 14-point edge at the start of the fourth quarter into a 38-10 final result.

Memphis (-10) 52, Houston 31: There were wild swings in this game as a 7-0 Houston edge early turned to a 17-7 deficit before Houston scored twice in two minutes late in the second quarter to lead 21-17 at the half. A back-and-forth game continued in the third quarter with the score knotted at 31-31 through three quarters. Houston posted three scoring drives in the fourth quarter leaning on Darrell Henderson while Houston’s final two drives ended stopped on downs and with an interception. The Tigers will head back to the AAC Championship game for a rematch with UCF while finishing well past the favorite spread that jumped from -7 to -10.

Virginia Tech (+5½) 34, Virginia 31: Looking to snap a long drought in this series the Cavaliers botched some early opportunities with a red zone fumble and then on an interception return at the end of the half, Tim Harris was caught by quarterback Ryan Willis short of the end zone as the Hokies kept a 14-0 edge at the break. Virginia would score touchdowns on four straight possessions to start the second half to lead 28-24 with seven minutes to go facing a spread that fluctuated in between -3½ and -5½. The Cavaliers then forced a fumble and an interception on the next two possessions for the Hokies, eventually adding a field goal to lead by seven with just over two minutes to go. Virginia Tech hit a 45-yard pass to get into the red zone and then on a rush approaching the end zone a forced fumble that would have effectively ended the game for the Cavaliers was recovered for a touchdown by the Hokies. In overtime Virginia Tech went first and didn’t gain a yard but hit the 42-yard field goal, leaving those laying the points with the Cavaliers in need of a second session. The Hokies came up big on defense forcing another turnover to keep bowl hopes alive while maintaining the winning streak in this rivalry.

Oklahoma (-3) 59, West Virginia 56: This game for a spot in the Big XII title game lived up to expectations with a high scoring back-and-forth affair. A defensive touchdown gave Oklahoma the early edge with a 35-28 halftime advantage but West Virginia tied the game early in the third quarter and had a 49-45 lead through three quarters. It would be defense that again delivered for Oklahoma with a 48-yard fumble return touchdown with 10 minutes to go for a 10-point edge. West Virginia climbed back within three to match the closing spread though most Sooners backers likely had a number below -3. Oklahoma picked up a 4th-and-5 conversion just past midfield and then got another first down to end the game with the three-point edge.

Clemson (-25½) 56, South Carolina 35: Highly ranked Clemson was tested in a back-and-forth first half vs. South Carolina with the Tigers eventually posting 744 yards but not exactly looking like a championship contender on defense with the Gamecocks also reaching 600 yards of offense. The Tigers led by just seven at halftime and by 21 through three quarters but a 98-yard touchdown drive put the Tigers up by 28 and past the favorite spread early in the third quarter. The Gamecocks scored the next 14 to get back within the number as a late Tigers touchdown wasn’t quite enough to get past the heavy favorite spread.

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Marshall (-3½) 28, Florida International 25: The Herd led 14-0 early with the help of a interception return touchdown playing as a slight road favorite with a closing line of -3½ though most books opened with FIU as a slight favorite. Marshall scored on a blocked punt late in the third quarter to lead by 11 but early in the fourth the Panthers got a touchdown and a two-point conversion to trail by just three. Marshall answered with a four-minute drive to lead by 10 but FIU again scored to get back within three with about five minutes remaining. The Herd burned the remaining clock and got inside the 10-yard line of FIU but didn’t need to add points and took a knee for a common line push though the hook was added on Saturday for many.

Northwestern (-14½) 24, Illinois 16: With a championship game on deck Northwestern was sluggish early but two touchdowns in the final four minutes of the first half put the Wildcats up 21-6 and then a third quarter field goal made the margin 18 points on a spread that opened at 18 and dipped to 14½ by kickoff. Illinois would add 10 points in the fourth quarter in a game where the Illini had a production edge and actually had the ball inside the Northwestern 20-yard-line late with a potential chance to tie before an interception.

NC State (-7½) 34, North Carolina 28: These nearby rivals were tied 21-21 through three quarters and 28-28 late in the fourth quarter. NC State opted to punt across midfield in the final minute to play for overtime and the move paid off as the Tar Heels went first in overtime and missed a field goal. Much of the week the NC State was just -6 and that was the final margin with a Wolfpack rush into the end zone that preceded some spirited post-game activity in the end zone between the teams.

Liberty (-6) 28, New Mexico State 21: Liberty stormed out to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter of this same-season rematch. New Mexico State would score on a kickoff return touchdown and an interception return touchdown to get back in the game before the end of the first quarter. Liberty moved ahead 28-14 by halftime facing a spread that dropped from -9 all the way to -6 by kickoff. With less than a minute to go the Aggies found the end zone on a 4th-and-goal play to land in the middle of the potential numbers.

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Boise State (-2½) 33, Utah State 24: Boise State led 17-7 early as just a slight favorite at home with a spot in the Mountain West Championship on the line. Through three quarters the lead was trimmed to six points and Utah State hit a field goal early in the fourth to trail by three. Boise State scored halfway through the final frame after getting a red zone 4th down conversion but a bad snap cost the Broncos the PAT for just a nine-point advantage. A pair of punts followed but with about three minutes to go the Aggies connected for an 83-yard touchdown to suddenly trail by just two. The Aggies had converted a 4th-and-1 from their own 24-yard line and hit the big play on 2nd-and-25 after a pair of penalties for what looked like a miracle score for those getting the points with Utah State, with a two-point margin thanks to Boise missing on the PAT earlier in the quarter. A 59-yard run put Boise State inside the Utah State 10 in the final minute and eventually facing 4th down with only eight seconds to go the Broncos opted to go for it from the 1-yard-line rather than kicking a field goal. Both types of scores would have been enough for Broncos backers and Alexander Mattison made it a moot point by pounding into the end zone to secure the home favorite win and cover.

California (-11½) 33, Colorado 21: The Bears had a pair of touchdowns on interception returns in the first two minutes of the game and then added another short field score to lead 21-0 as Colorado’s hopes of making a bowl game were extinguished quickly. The Buffaloes kept things interesting relative to the spread however as they scored two touchdowns in the third quarter to cut the margin to just six points after trailing 24-7 at halftime. The Cal offense barely topped 200 yards in the game but converted a red zone 4th down via penalty and added a touchdown for a 12-point edge, failing going for two to sit right near the spread that opened at -11, reached as high as -12½, and closed at -11½. The Buffaloes would reach midfield on a late possession but didn’t add points for a 12-point final margin that led to mixed spread results.

Stanford (-7) 49, UCLA 42: The Cardinal extended its lead to 41-27 late in the third quarter but the Bruins added nine points late in the quarter with a safety and a subsequent kickoff return touchdown to make it a five-point game into the fourth quarter. The Bruins took a one-point edge with a 90-yard touchdown drive five minutes into the fourth quarter but didn’t get the conversion. A minute later Stanford hit a 52-yard pass for a touchdown and the Cardinal got the two-point attempt for a seven-point edge in a critical play with a spread that bounced between -6½ and -7 for the road favorite. UCLA missed a long field goal try on its next possession and was stopped on downs on two late drives in Stanford territory as the Cardinal escaped with the seven-point edge holding.

Texas A&M (-3) 74, LSU 72: The Aggies led by seven after the second and third quarters but a defensive score for LSU tied the game early in the fourth quarter. LSU would take a 31-24 lead in the final frame and then stopped the Aggies on 4th down in LSU territory with just over two minutes to go. LSU only burned a minute off the clock before punting and Aggies delivered a big finish surviving an interception that was overturned on review and then converting a 4th-and-18. One second was put back on the clock for Texas A&M after a Kellen Mond spike and he hit Quartney Davis for the tying touchdown. The game would eventually go to seven overtimes with some big conversions on both sides to reach a basketball level final score. In the seventh session LSU scored on just one play but didn’t get the two-pointer to lead by just six. The Aggies got the tying score and then got a pass interference call on the first two-point conversion try. The Aggies then had a false start but found the completion for the go-ahead conversion though it wasn’t quite enough for Aggies backers who crossed or reached the favorite number going first in the second, fourth, and sixth overtimes but couldn’t end the game on defense.

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Notre Dame (-14) 24, USC 17: With all the pressure on Notre Dame as a heavy road favorite, USC led 10-0 early before the Irish got on the board just before halftime. Notre Dame was composed out of the break and scored 10 points to take a seven-point edge into the fourth quarter. On a spread that climbed from -8 to -14 Notre Dame made the margin 14 with a 51-yard passing touchdown with just over three minutes remaining to put most on the favorite in position to collect. USC didn’t fold however and on 3rd-and-10 in the final minute the Trojans hit a 20-yard strike to get back within the number.

Alabama (-26½) 52, Auburn 21: Alabama hasn’t had to do much 4th quarter scoring this season but after Auburn cut the margin to 10 points late in the third quarter Alabama turned it back on with three consecutive touchdowns on just eight offensive snaps to make it a 31-point margin with nine minutes to go in the game. Auburn gained some yardage late but wasn’t a serious backdoor threat late on two drives across midfield as the Iron Bowl wound up with a blowout final score and the heavy favorite snagging the cover.

UNLV (+14) 34, Nevada 29: The Wolf Pack led 23-0 early in this game but only took a 26-21 edge into halftime. UNLV kept the momentum and led through three quarters. A field goal put Nevada in front by one in the fourth quarter but with Armani Rogers back UNLV completed a late long drive to secure the upset while Nevada’s last threat ended with an interception.

Arizona State (-1) 41, Arizona 40: The Sun Devils opened as a 3-point favorite but the line dipped down to just -1 in this rivalry game with Arizona looking to earn a bowl spot. The line differences didn’t seem to matter with Arizona in front 40-21 through three quarters, missing on a two-point conversion tries when they were up 12 in both the second and third quarters. Those missed points came back to bite as Arizona State engineered a remarkable comeback with 20 points in the fourth quarter, with the final two scores following Arizona turnovers with the lead. After ASU went in front 41-40 with three minutes remaining, Khalil Tate led the Wildcats in position for a 45-yard field goal but the go-ahead kick was missed.

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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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4th Quarter Covers – NCAA Week 12

4th Quarter Covers – NCAA Week 12

11/18/2018

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 in the fourth quarter last week in the 12th college football weekend. Each week there are several teams that cover despite not necessarily deserving it, as well as other teams that played much better than the final score shows.

North Texas (-4½) 41, Florida Atlantic 38: In a rematch of last season’s Conference USA championship game, North Texas stormed out to a 17-0 lead as a slight favorite that climbed from -2½ to -4½. The Owls battled back to take a 21-20 lead in the second quarter and led 24-20 early in the third quarter with scoring drives of 29 and 22 yards following rare Mason Fine interceptions. North Texas posted back-to-back touchdowns to go up by 10 but Florida Atlantic climbed back within three by the start of the fourth quarter. The Owls would miss a potential tying field goal later in the fourth quarter and then with about four minutes remaining, DeAndre Torrey broke loose for a 92-yard touchdown run to put the Mean Green up by 10. The lead didn’t last as in three plays plus a personal foul Florida Atlantic went 73 yards to trail by only three. North Texas had to punt the ball back in the final minutes but sealed the game with an interception, though it wasn’t quite enough for most on the home favorite.

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Memphis (-8) 28, SMU 18: With a total of 75 fireworks were expected Friday night in this AAC West showdown. Offense didn’t materialize until late however as Memphis led 7-5 at halftime and 14-12 through three quarters. Memphis pulled ahead 21-12 early in the fourth and then put the game away with another 4th quarter score to lead by 16. SMU went 75 yards in five plays to get back within 10 and had the ball back in the final minutes. SMU crossed midfield but a pair of penalties and a sack forced the Mustangs to go for it on 4th-and-38 on their final play.

Boise State (-22) 45, New Mexico 14: The Broncos scored on a fumble return and added a field goal before halftime to turn a 14-7 edge into a 24-7 advantage. Boise State was up 31-7 through three quarters to sit just past the road favorite spread but New Mexico got on the board with an 86-yard punt return touchdown. The third turnover of the day for New Mexico handed Boise State a short field and the Broncos slipped past the favorite spread with a 41-yard touchdown run and for good measure the Broncos added another touchdown with just over a minute remaining.

Wisconsin (+3½) 47, Purdue 44: Purdue led by 11 heading into the fourth quarter and pulled ahead by 14 with a field goal with 10 minutes remaining. The Badgers put together a touchdown drive to trail by seven with fewer than seven minutes remaining and the defense stepped up to force a 3-and-out. Jonathan Taylor picked up 35 yards on 1st down and Jack Coan delivered three completions as Wisconsin tied the game with fewer than three minutes remaining. Purdue got 35 yards on first down but stalled at the Wisconsin 40 and opted to punt and Wisconsin was able to avoid disaster pinned deep managing to get into overtime. Both teams scored touchdowns quickly in the first two sessions but Purdue was held to a field goal going first in round three. A pair of Taylor runs completed the comeback for the Badgers with a huge day for the nation’s leading rusher.

Georgia (-42) 66, Massachusetts 27: The Bulldogs had 42 points by halftime and led 59-13 late in the third quarter. Massachusetts hit a big play as time expired in the third to take a 39-point deficit in the final frame. Georgia added an early touchdown to get past the heavy favorite spread again but UMass answered and Georgia methodically burned nearly nine minutes of game clock to complete the win without giving the ball back though they also failed to add points, falling just short of the massive number.

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Kentucky (-15) 34, Middle Tennessee State 23: The Wildcats were past the spread in the first quarter with a 17-0 edge and led 31-10 late in the third quarter before a Middle Tennessee State touchdown put the margin right on the number as the Blue Raiders missed the PAT. Middle Tennessee State would get within a single-score with an early touchdown in the fourth quarter to trim Kentucky’s lead to eight but the Wildcats added a field goal to lead by 11 with four minutes remaining, though it wasn’t enough to cover and the Blue Raiders were a much bigger threat to add late points, reaching the Kentucky 5-yard-line in the final minute.

Wyoming (-3) 35, Air Force 27: After a tight first half Air Force took control of this game with a 10-point lead through three quarters, and that lead was extended to 14 points after a short field goal with about nine minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Wyoming would complete a long drive with 4:32 to play to close to within six and the defense forced a 3-and-out. With a big 4th down conversion in their own territory the Cowboys eventually connected for a 22-yard touchdown pass with just over a minute remaining, taking a one-point lead that wasn’t quite enough for the favorite spread of -2½, eventually even closing at -3 at some outlets. Air Force threw a 1st down interception and Wyoming would add a late touchdown run on the short field for the improbable favorite cover.

Appalachian State (-27) 45, Georgia State 17: The Panthers hit a 52-yard field goal late in the third quarter to trail by only 21 but the Mountaineers scored two touchdowns in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter to lead by 35. Appalachian State was still ahead of the number after a Georgia State touchdown with eight minutes to go and they didn’t give the ball back with a 13-play drive to run out the clock.

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Oklahoma State (+6) 45, West Virginia 41: With a lot of attention on the home finale with Oklahoma, West Virginia was in control in Stillwater up 31-14 at halftime and still leading by 10 halfway through the fourth quarter. The Cowboys trimmed the margin to three just after the five-minute mark and the Mountaineers stalled near midfield with a false start penalty making it 4th-and-11 and necessitating a punt. With more than two minutes remaining the Cowboys went 75 yards in seven plays to take the lead with 42 seconds to go. Will Grier led the Mountaineers to the red zone and had one final shot with one second remaining from the 14-yard-line but the pass was broken up to shake up the Big XII standings.

Southern Miss (-2) 21, Louisiana Tech 20: The Bulldogs led 17-14 at the half before a scoreless third quarter. Louisiana Tech added a short field goal early in the fourth to lead by six, closing as a 2-point underdog but actually favored most of the week until flipping on Saturday. With Jack Abraham back at quarterback Southern Miss went 85 yards in 14 plays to take more than seven minutes off the clock, taking a one-point lead with six minutes to go. Louisiana Tech crossed midfield on its final possession but opted to punt on 4th-and-10 and didn’t get the ball back as Southern Miss burned the final four minutes for the one-point win, with mixed spread results depending on the timing.

Florida State (+3) 22, Boston College 21: Boston College led by one through three quarters and seemingly was in control after an 18-play drive put the Eagles up by eight early in the fourth quarter, closing as a 3-point favorite in Tallahassee, though early in the week the line flipped back-and-forth between -1 on either side. Florida State managed a field goal to close to within five with 12 minutes remaining and the defense forced consecutive Boston College punts. Getting the ball back with two and a half minutes to go the Seminoles picked up a first down then connected for a huge play, striking for a 74-yard touchdown. Up one, Florida State went for two and failed as the one-point edge would prove to be the final margin.

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Nebraska (-2) 9, Michigan State 6: The Huskers flipped to the favorite role Friday night and failed to score until the fourth quarter. Michigan State had a 6-0 edge in windy conditions in Lincoln. One of several unsportsmanlike penalties in a testy game gave the Huskers good field position after the kickoff and with a 35-yard gain on 1st down, Nebraska was able to get on the board with a field goal. Michigan State fumbled a few plays later and suddenly Nebraska had tied the game 6-6 with eight minutes to go after being unable to find the end zone despite 1st-and-goal from the 2-yard-line. Kicking into the wind Michigan State had a marginal 3-and-out and punt as Nebraska had good field position again and despite gaining only 23 yards, the Huskers went in front with a 47-yard kick from Barret Pickering. The Spartans gained yardage on its final two possessions but had their final threat end on downs on the Nebraska 29-yard-line as the Huskers picked up a narrow comeback win.

UCLA (+3) 34, USC 27: USC led 27-21 through three quarters at the Rose Bowl after settling for a 22-yard field goal. After an exchange of punts, the Bruins were buried at their own 3-yard-line early in the fourth quarter but eventually took the lead thanks to a 55-yard run from Joshua Kelley. JT Daniels was picked off on the next snap for USC but the Trojans stayed in the game as UCLA had to settle for a 19-yard field goal for a four-point edge. The Bruins had a quick 3-and-out however and UCLA added another three points to lead by seven. USC was a threat to force overtime reaching the UCLA 29-yard-line in the final minute but the Bruins defense held on.

Clemson (-29½) 35, Duke 6: The Blue Devils provided an early scare with a 6-0 lead but Clemson scored just before halftime to make a 14-6 advantage. The Tigers would add two third quarter touchdowns and early in the fourth quarter Clemson went up 35-6 for a 29-point margin on a spread that opened at -27 and reached as high as -29½.

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Oregon (-3½) 31, Arizona State 29: The Ducks led 28-13 at halftime and wound up with a substantial production edge late Saturday night. Arizona State chipped away with a third quarter field goal and then got a short field touchdown following a muffed punt, one of four Oregon turnovers on the day. That put the Sun Devils within five but Oregon was able to add a field goal to push the lead up to eight points. Arizona State converted a big late 4th down and wound up in the end zone with about four minutes to go. The Sun Devils had to go for two and the tie but couldn’t convert. Oregon threw an interception near midfield to give the Sun Devils another shot. Arizona State couldn’t take advantage as they fumbled on a third down sack and Oregon was able to run out the clock for the win but failed cover with the late melt.

Vanderbilt (-3) 36, Mississippi 29: The Commodores led by seven through three quarters but Mississippi rallied late and wound up tying the game with 40 seconds remaining in a game the Rebels had a substantial yardage edge in. Vanderbilt needed only three plays to score a touchdown in overtime but the Commodores gave Ole Miss a big gain on first down with a penalty. The Rebels couldn’t deliver however ending the game with three straight incomplete passes.

Hawai’i (-7) 35, UNLV 28: The Warriors fell behind 21-3 hosting UNLV but battled to within eight by the start of the fourth quarter. UNLV scored early in the fourth on a short field drive to lead by 15 but Hawai’i eventually responded with a 64-yard touchdown pass, plus the two-point conversion to trail by seven. Up seven halfway through the final quarter UNLV aggressively went for it on 4th-and-1 just across midfield and came up short, giving the Hawai’i the opportunity to tie the game with about four minutes to go. The Warriors forced a punt and hit another big play to suddenly go in front by seven on a spread that fluctuated between -6½ and -7.

 

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NFL Close Calls – Week 10

NFL Close Calls – Week 10

11/13/2018

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 10 of the NFL regular season.

Green Bay Packers (-12) 31, Miami Dolphins 12 (49): The Dolphins were down only 14-12 in the third quarter, settling for four field goals from Jason Sanders. The Packers would get an Aaron Jones touchdown run to lead 21-12 and then two minutes later got past the heavy favorite spread with a touchdown following a Miami interception. The 16-point edge didn’t leave much margin for error and the Dolphins reached the Green Bay 26-yard-line but on the final play of the third quarter Brock Osweiler took a 12-yard sack to take Miami out of field goal range. The Packers would add three in the fourth to lead by 19 and back-to-back sacks ended Miami’s final threat with three minutes to go.

Indianapolis Colts (-3) 29, Jacksonville Jaguars 26 (48): The Colts led 29-16 at the break but the pace slowed in the second half and Jacksonville climbed back in the game. Leonard Fournette scored his second touchdown in the third quarter as the Jaguars climbed to within six and the Jaguars would also missed a late third quarter field goal try. Andrew Luck was intercepted in Jacksonville territory to start the fourth quarter and the Jaguars had the ball back with about eight minutes to go in good field position after an exchange of punts. The Jaguars reached the 36-yard-line but lost yardage from there and faced a decision with four minutes to go on fourth down. Jacksonville went for the 55-yard field goal and got it to put the margin right on the common spread. The Colts faced a similar dilemma after stalling at the Jacksonville 34-yard-line with still nearly three minutes to go. Indianapolis would also go for the long field goal but Adam Vinatieri missed. The Jaguars were a late threat to win or force overtime but on 3rd-and-1 from the Indianapolis 35-yard-line a 10-yard gain was reviewed by the Colts and narrowly overturned to a fumble to effectively end the game.

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Chicago Bears (-7) 34, Detroit Lions 22 (44½): The Bears were in complete control with a 34-10 edge through three quarters but Detroit made a late rally with a pair of touchdowns in the middle of the fourth quarter with a successful on-side kick to trail by 12, leaving room for one more touchdown to be enough to flip the spread result. The Lions were able to get the ball back with just over a minute to go and gained 35 yards before ultimately running out of time without taking a shot at the end zone.

Los Angeles Rams (-9½) 36, Seattle Seahawks 31 (51): The Seahawks led 21-20 through three quarters but the Rams scored early in the fourth quarter and opted to go for two, falling short with a 26-21 edge. Seattle added a field goal to trail by two with 10 minutes to go and the Rams likewise added three a few minutes later to lead by five again. Russell Wilson scrambled on first down and seemed to get clocked in the head but with no call. Then two plays later disaster struck the Seahawks with newly acquired Ram Dante Fowler forcing a fumble. The Rams recovered at the 9-yard-line and scored on 1st down, suddenly moving past the heavy-favorite spread with a 12-point edge. Seattle proved resilient going 90 yards on its next drive to get back within five and then forced a Rams punt with only 35 seconds coming off the clock. The Seahawks would reach the Los Angeles 35-yard-line before coming up empty, but they held on for the underdog cover.

Dallas Cowboys (+7½) 27, Philadelphia Eagles 20 (45): The total on this game proved a close call despite only three points in the first 26 minutes of the game. Both teams added field goals and Dallas managed the game’s first touchdown with 19 seconds before halftime for a 13-3 edge. The Eagles tied the game through three quarters for a total of 26 points but both teams added touchdowns in the fourth for a 20-20 draw. Dallas would make it four touchdowns in the game on four straight possessions to secure the ‘over’ with a 27-20 edge with three minutes to go and the Eagles were not able to force overtime.

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New York Giants (+3) 27, San Francisco 49ers 23 (45): Monday’s battle at the bottom of the NFC featured the 49ers leading by three at the half to sit right on the number. Nick Mullens delivered a touchdown pass to put San Francisco up by 10 in the third quarter but the Giants quickly answered and had tied the game by the start of the fourth quarter at 20-20, leaving all outcomes in play. Mullens had an interception on the first play of the fourth quarter to give the Giants great field position but they would punt on the next two possessions as San Francisco got the ball back with about nine minutes to go. The running game carried the load in an over six-minute drive, but San Francisco couldn’t deliver in the red zone, settling for a 30-yard field goal to the delight of those on the ‘under’. In what may be his last primetime performance Eli Manning got the ball back with fewer than three minutes remaining and connected for a 31-yard pass to quickly put the Giants on the edge of field goal range. The Giants got a pair of first downs via penalty and in the final minute Manning hit Sterling Shepard for the go-ahead score while the ‘over’ collected. San Francisco had a late shot as Mullens threw to the end zone from the New York 21-yard-line on the final play, but the throw fell incomplete.

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4th Quarter Covers NCAA Week 11

4th Quarter Covers – NCAA 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 in the fourth quarter last week in the 11th college football weekend. Each week there are several teams that cover despite not necessarily deserving it, as well as other teams that played much better than the final score shows.

Boise State (+2½) 24, Fresno State 17: As a rare home underdog Boise State trailed 17-3 just after halftime hosting Fresno State in Friday’s big Mountain West contest. A long touchdown drive put the Broncos back within seven late in the third quarter and then the Broncos defense forced a punt. The Broncos then posted another long touchdown drive to tie the game early in the fourth quarter. The defense got a big third down stop near midfield and then for the third consecutive possession went the distance against Fresno State’s great defense to lead 24-17 with nine minutes to go. Fresno State had a 50-yard field goal blocked on its next possession but was able to get the ball right back. The Bulldogs had a new set of downs at the Boise State 28-yard line in the final minutes but took a 3rd down sack and failed on 4th-and-long as Boise State held on.

Texas A&M (-13½) 38, Mississippi 24: After a 96-yard fumble return touchdown Ole Miss led 21-14 in the third quarter but the Aggies tied the game and early in the fourth quarter went up by three with a long field goal. The Rebels missed a tying kick with seven minutes to go from just 22 yards and Texas A&M made it a 10-point game a few plays later. Ole Miss got back within seven with a field goal just after the two-minute mark to seemingly seal the underdog cover but on a short field after the failed on-side kick attempt, Travyeon Williams broke free for a 46-yard touchdown run to put A&M up by 14. Ole Miss would reach the Texas A&M 22-yard-line in the finals seconds but came up empty.

Iowa State (-17) 28, Baylor 14: The Bears wound up out-gaining Iowa State 505-355 and didn’t have a turnover yet they had just seven points entering the fourth quarter, with two early missed field goals a factor. After a third quarter brawl that led to key players on both sides getting ejected, Baylor would add an early fourth quarter touchdown to get within the spread. The Bears couldn’t get any closer as they were stopped on downs inside the 20 on two different late possessions.

Eastern Michigan (-13) 27, Akron 7: After a scoreless third quarter Eastern Michigan led Akron just 10-7 but with the Zips pinned deep the Eagles scored on a short interception return touchdown to lead by 10 and then following another interception, scored seconds later to fly past the favorite spread. Eastern Michigan added another field goal for the 20-point final in a game where Akron wound up with only 90 net yards on offense.

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Indiana (-1) 34, Maryland 32: Indiana led 31-15 halfway through the third quarter but Maryland made a valiant comeback, ultimately taking the lead 32-31 with about five minutes remaining and failing going for two after the second touchdown after successfully converting a two-point conversion late in the third quarter. Indiana did just enough to get into field goal range with Logan Justus hitting from 42 yards to give Indiana a two-point edge as a very slight favorite. Maryland crossed midfield on its final possession but fumbled on a sack as the Hoosiers held on.

Duke (-8) 42, North Carolina 35: Both teams had big production in this game but after a high scoring first half Duke settled in defensively and took a 42-28 lead heading into the fourth quarter. The Tar Heels were stopped on downs at the Duke 31 but were able to get the ball back and eventually completed a 16-play touchdown drive to climb within seven with just over a minute remaining. The on-side kick failed and Duke was on the edge of field goal range and opted to go for it on 4th-and-12, ultimately winding up with an interception to give the Tar Heels another shot. North Carolina reached the Duke 39-yard-line before running out of time.

Alabama (-22) 24, Mississippi State 0: This line fell from as high as -26 but Alabama led by just 21 at the and failed to add points in the third quarter. On back-to-back drives Mississippi State went for it on 4th downs near midfield and came up short, handing Alabama good field position and the Tide eventually added a field goal to go up 24-0. With just over a minute to go Alabama had the ball back inside the Mississippi State 10 but ultimately failed to add points going for it on 4th-and-goal.

Air Force (-14) 42, New Mexico 24: A defensive score put the Lobos back in the game trialing by 11 entering the fourth quarter. Air Force fumbled on its next possession to give New Mexico the ball right back but the Lobos couldn’t take advantage. Air Force eventually added a touchdown with 10 minutes remaining to slip past the favorite spread and New Mexico didn’t threaten late.

Florida Atlantic (-17½) 34, Western Kentucky 15: A lot of points were left off the board by Florida Atlantic who led just 17-9 through three quarters despite ultimately posting nearly 600 yards of offense. In the fourth the Owls took control of the game with 10 early points to lead by 18 with this spread at -18 or -18½ much of the week before closing at -17½. Western Kentucky would score with about six minutes to go to close to within 12, missing on the two-point conversion. The Owls broke a late 77-yard run to go back up by 19 to pass up the favorite spread.

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Old Dominion (+15½) 34, North Texas 31: The Mean Green stormed out to a 28-0 lead in this game, favored by -14 most of the week before a late rise. The Monarchs managed 10 points in the final three minutes before halftime to stay in the game however. Old Dominion scored first in the second half but North Texas hit a field goal to go back up by 14. Old Dominion kept the pressure on with a quick touchdown drive. Then on the next two possessions North Texas had a fumble and then after an Old Dominion field goal trimmed the lead to four points, the Mean Green failed going for it on 4th-and-1 just short of midfield. With 15 seconds to go the Monarchs found the end zone to complete the comeback for a stunning upset.

UL-Lafayette (-13½) 36, Georgia State 22: This was a two-point game through three quarters but the Ragin’ Cajuns scored three touchdowns in the first eight minutes of the fourth quarter to lead 36-14, going for two on the third score up by 22 and unable to get it. The spread on this game opened at -13 and reached as high as -14½ before settling at -13½. With just over four minutes to go Georgia State completed a 75-yard touchdown drive and down 16 opted to go for two in an important play for many. Aaron Winchester hit Diondre Champaigne for the conversion for a 14-point final margin.

Ohio State (-3) 26, Michigan State 6: The final score looks like a blowout but Ohio State led by just 7-6 late in the third quarter before getting nine points on defense with a safety and a fumble return touchdown in the span of just two minutes bridging the start of the fourth quarter. The Buckeyes added a field goal to go up 19-6 and then scored a touchdown with just over a minute to go to create a misleading 26-6 result.

Clemson (-18) 27, Boston College 7: Boston College scored on an early punt return touchdown to lead 7-3 but Clemson only trailed for a few minutes, getting back in front 13-7 by halftime. The Tigers added a touchdown early in the third quarter and then in the fourth got a punt return touchdown of their own to lead by 20, slipping past the heavy favorite spread.

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Utah (-6) 32, Oregon 25: The Utes relied on kicker Matt Gay for five field goals to lead 22-17 through three quarters. The Ducks took a 25-22 lead halfway through the fourth following a blocked punt. Utah would answer as freshman quarterback Jason Shelley led a quick touchdown drive to put Utah up by four, short of the closing number on a spread that climbed from -3 to -6 during the week. Oregon had to go for it on 4th down just past midfield and Utah did enough for Gay to add one more field goal for a seven-point win and favorite cover.

Georgia (-13½) 27, Auburn 10: Auburn led 10-6 late in the second quarter but with a few big breaks Georgia scored two touchdowns in the final three minutes before halftime to lead 20-10 at the break for a huge swing. That edge would hold through a scoreless third quarter before Auburn hit on a 77-yard run to go up by 17. On a meaningless late possession Auburn reach the Georgia 35-yard-line and threw to the end zone on 4th-and-4, getting a pass interference call but the flag was surprisingly picked up and ruled an uncatchable pass to end the game.

Texas (-2) 41, Texas Tech 34: The Longhorns led by seven at the half and by 17 though three quarters and after an exchange of touchdowns Texas still led by 17 halfway through the fourth quarter. Texas Tech added a field goal to get back within two scores and then got an on-side kick and made the most of the opportunity with a touchdown to suddenly trail by only seven. The Red Raiders forced a 3-and-out and scored again in just five plays to tie the game. With still nearly two minutes remaining Sam Ehlinger used his arm and legs to get Texas to the edge of field goal range and with 21 seconds left Lil’Jordan Humphrey made a leaping catch and dove into the end zone for the Texas win.

LSU (-13) 24, Arkansas 17: LSU managed to pull away in the third quarter to take a 24-3 lead but Arkansas climbed back in the game late with an early fourth quarter touchdown and then a score to cut the margin to just seven with still more than five minutes remaining. LSU managed to burn the entire remaining clock and ultimately took a knee at the Arkansas 1-yard-line after Nick Brossette was stopped just short of the goal line.

Stanford (-25) 48, Oregon State 17: The Beavers scored twice right before halftime to trail just 34-17 and they clung to the underdog cover trailing 41-17 through three quarters. The Cardinal added a fourth quarter touchdown to go up by 31 after Oregon State missed a field goal. Oregon State had a late shot to get back within the closing number but failed on 4th down from the Stanford 25-yard-line in the final minute.

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NFL Close Calls – Week 9

NFL Close Calls – Week 9

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 9 of the NFL regular season to open up November.

Minnesota Vikings (-5) 24, Detroit Lions 9 (47): The Vikings scored 10 points in the final 3:20 of the first half to turn a 7-6 game into a 17-6 game. Punts filled the third quarter and it when it looked like the Vikings would seal the game Kirk Cousins fumbled just at the edge of the red zone with about 10 minutes remaining. Under duress all day with Minnesota winding up with 10 sacks, Matthew Stafford escaped the pocket on the next possession and had Kerryon Johnson flanking him on the sideline. Stafford made a foolish decision to ad-lib an option toss that bounced off Johnson and was recovered by the Vikings and run back for a touchdown to seal the win and cover for the Vikings in a game Minnesota was held to just 283 yards.

Miami Dolphins (-3) 13, New York Jets 6 (43): Through three quarters these AFC East rivals managed only field goals with a 6-3 edge for Miami despite very little offensive production from the Dolphins. In the fourth quarter the Jets missed a 50-yard field goal and then on the next possession a Sam Darnold pass was intercepted for a touchdown by Jerome Baker to put the Dolphins up by 10. The Jets did manage a field goal a few minutes later but Darnold would throw two more interceptions late as Miami won and covered despite making only seven first downs.

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Houston Texans (+1) 19, Denver Broncos 17 (46½): A big swing in this game occurred just before halftime as Denver opted to try a 62-yard field goal even though more than 20 seconds remained and Houston had two timeouts. The kick was missed and instead of tying the game the Broncos wound up down 16-10 as the break as Houston was able to get into field goal range. Denver took a 17-16 lead late in the third quarter sitting as a one-point favorite most of the week but early in the fourth quarter the Texans went ahead by two with another field goal. Four punts followed before the Broncos got the ball back with more than three minutes remaining. The Broncos converted a 4th-and-8 to cross midfield in the final minute but opted not to hurry to get a few more yards and instead let the clock wind down. Brandon McManus wound eventually miss wide right from 51 yards after a pair of timeouts as Houston escaped with the win.

Los Angeles Chargers (PK) 25, Seattle Seahawks 17 (48½): The Chargers led 19-10 through three quarters and extended the lead to 25-10 with a pick-six with just over six minutes remaining in the game. Seattle would make things interesting late adding a 4th-and-goal touchdown just past the two-minute-warning to climb within one score down eight. The Chargers had to punt with three Seattle timeouts only allowing 26 seconds to run off the clock. Two big penalties on the Chargers including one to convert a 4th down kept hope alive for those on Seattle or the ‘over’ as the Seahawks were granted an untimed down at the 1-yard-line. A false start pushed the Seahawks back five yards and Russell Wilson’s throw to the end zone dropped incomplete.

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New Orleans Saints (+2½) 45, Los Angeles Rams 35 (57): The Saints led 35-14 early but with about 10 minutes remaining the Rams had completed a comeback to tie the game looking to maintain their perfect record. Will Lutz put the home underdog Saints in front with a 54-yard field goal and the Rams had to punt the ball back to New Orleans. With about four minutes remaining Drew Brees found Michael Thomas for a 72-yard touchdown to put the game away and for the moment claim supremacy in the NFC.

New England Patriots (-5) 31, Green Bay Packers 17 (56): The Packers and Patriots were tied at 17-17 early in the third quarter but the scoring stalled from there. New England opted to go for it on 4th-and-1 midway through the third quarter and came up with an incomplete pass to keep points off the board. The Packers were driving when Aaron Jones fumbled on 1st down on the first play of the fourth quarter. New England would reach the Green Bay 1-yard-line again but this time got in to go up by seven with 10 minutes to go. Aaron Rodgers took a 3rd down sack and the Packers had to give the ball right back. In just three plays the Patriots added another touchdown and shut down the Packers on downs on the final possession for Green Bay.

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