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Close Calls - Week 5

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Glancing at the scoreboard won't tell you the whole story in most games. Here are the games that went down to the wire relative to the spread in the fourth quarter last week in the Week 5 NFL games. 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, get the details in this weekly column.

Atlanta Falcons (-3) 24, Washington Redskins 17 (51): A low-scoring game turned dramatically in the fourth quarter as Washington's 10-7 lead entering the fourth quarter was wiped away with a Julio Jones touchdown early in the final frame, getting the Falcons just past the road favorite spread. With Robert Griffin III knocked out of the game, fellow rookie quarterback Kirk Cousins connected with Santana Moss for a 77-yard touchdown to give the Redskins the lead. Atlanta tied the game on a field goal and then took the lead for good as Michael Turner broke through for a rushing touchdown with less than three minutes to go and Cousins threw interceptions on the final two Washington drives.

Pittsburgh Steelers (-4) 16, Philadelphia Eagles 14 (44): Pittsburgh led 10-7 entering the fourth quarter and the Steelers briefly got by the spread early in the fourth after settling for a short field goal. Philadelphia would answer with a touchdown with just over six minutes to go to, but the Steelers would not allow the Eagles to get the ball back with a 14-play drive ending in a short field goal as time expired. A late Steelers touchdown would have given the Pittsburgh the cover, but also could have left the Eagles a desperation chance to win.

Indianapolis Colts (+6½) 30, Green Bay Packers 27 (49):
The Packers led 21-3 at halftime as the offense started to resemble the prolific 2011 team. Indianapolis made great adjustments at the half and by the end of the third quarter the Colts were down just 21-19 after missing on a potential tying two-point conversion. The Colts took the lead with a field goal with eight minutes to go, but it appeared the Packers might still come back to hold at least a push after a touchdown with just over four minutes to go in the game. Green Bay led by five lining up for the two-point conversion that could have made a big impact, but the attempt failed. Andrew Luck then delivered a signature win by bringing the Colts 80 yards for the go-ahead score with just over 30 seconds to go. The Colts also hit the two-point conversion this time around to avoid losing on a last-second field goal. Aaron Rodgers gave the Packers a chance to tie, but Mason Crosby missed a 51-yard attempt that would have forced overtime. The final touchdown for the Colts also pushed the game 'over' as it was sitting right at the closing number of 49.

Chicago Bears (-6½) 41, Jacksonville Jaguars 3 (39): Anyone on the 'under' has to feel awful about how this game turned out as it was a 6-3 game late in the third quarter. In the span of just over twelve minutes of game clock, the Bears would add 28 points with two interception return touchdowns and a pair long pass scores. After the Lance Briggs touchdown the total was still sitting 'under,' but in garbage time with less than two minutes to go, reserve running back Armando Allen busted through for 46 yards and another Chicago touchdown to add more points to an already misleading final score, while pushing the total just 'over'.

San Francisco 49ers (-10) 45, Buffalo Bills 3 (45): This was another blowout where the total shot 'over' late as San Francisco led just 24-3 entering the fourth quarter. San Francisco has not been known to let off the gas, eventually adding three fourth quarter touchdowns, the last of which came with just over a minute to go in the game, also from a reserve running back. San Francisco ended up posting 621 yards in the game, while holding Buffalo to just 204 yards as the total barely slipped 'over'.

New Orleans Saints (-3½) 31, San Diego Chargers 24 (53½): The record-setting day for Drew Brees appeared likely to come in a loss as San Diego led, 24-14 until very late in the third quarter. The Saints charged back to take the lead about halfway through the fourth quarter at 28-24, just past the favorite spread. San Diego moved the ball with some success late in the game, but the final two drives ended in turnovers and New Orleans was able to tack on a late field goal with less than three minutes to go to seal the cover and push the very high total slightly 'over'.

Houston Texans (-10) 23, New York Jets 17 (40½): The Texans had to settle for field goals late in the first half and then after a long drive in the 3rd quarter, leading 20-7 but realistically with the chance to be in a more commanding position. After the second of those field goals, the Jets got a 100-yard kickoff return touchdown from Joe McKnight that changed the trajectory of the game from a pointspread standpoint. That touchdown cut the lead to six and when Houston added another field goal late in the third quarter they led by just nine, at or short of the big road favorite spread. The Jets opened the fourth quarter with an impressive drive but they ultimately had to settle for a short field goal, cutting the margin to six, and keeping the total at the number or just short for many. Both teams got the ball three more times each, but combined for just over 50 yards in those six drives combined as the total stayed just 'under' or at a push and the underdog Jets held on for the cover.

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Bart: AFC North Breakdown
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Bart: AFC West Breakdown
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