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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 14

NFL Close Calls – Week 14

12/12/2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Free NFL Pick Sunday

#118 Cleveland Browns +3.5 over Green Bay Packers 12:00 PM CT

A low favorite price to fade the 0-12 Browns will be alluring for many but the Packers are in a dangerous spot in what might be Brett Hundley’s final start. A fortunate overtime win last week at home puts Green Bay at 6-6 but the Packers were soundly out-played last week against the Buccaneers. Hundley passed for 84 yards on 3.8 yards per attempt against one of the league’s worst defenses at home and Cleveland actually features one of the best run defenses in the NFL.

That means Hundley will be asked to do more this week and he has eight interceptions in 206 attempts while also being responsible for three fumbles. With several front office moves this week the circus that is the Browns continues to have an unclear future but DeShone Kizer has shown progress and he has kept his team in games in recent weeks despite facing some of the better defenses in the league, which won’t be the case this week. Isaiah Crowell has gained 4.8 yards per rush in his last five games to offer more balance for the Cleveland offense and Cleveland has competed well in most home games.

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The final two games of the season are on the road and next week’s home finale with the Ravens is a difficult matchup as this is the game the Browns need to avoid 0-16 infamy. Against far better defensive teams the last three weeks the Browns held their own in competitive losses and after facing teams that have a combined 26-10 record in the past three home games this is the best opportunity for the Browns in some time. Three home losses this season came by just three points as the opportunity to cover is there the Browns and the two wins for the Packers under Hundley came narrowly with good fortune.

The return of Josh Gordon also make the Browns a more formidable offense while the Packers recently had to shut down Kevin King in the secondary with a shoulder injury while Nick Perry and Davon House could also miss this week’s game to really put a strain on an already struggling defense. The Packers have also failed to cover in four straight games as a road favorite as the Browns are a threat this week.

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Nelly’s has three NFL 2* Picks in this Sunday’s NFL 2/3 Guarantee for $25 – we have gone 3-0 in that package four times this season. Don’t miss the Big E’s 15* NFL Game of the Month with a 13-5 record in 15* & higher football picks this season – $15.94 pay after you win! Maximum Sports also has a guaranteed 5-game 60% offer for Sunday Week 14.