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Close Calls - Week 10

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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 10 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.

Cincinnati Bengals (+4) 31, New York Giants 13 (47½): The Bengals were in complete control as a home underdog, but the 'over' also looked promising with 37 points through three quarters. The Giants took the ball down inside the Cincinnati 30 early in the fourth, but went for it on fourth down rather than kicking a field goal with the huge deficit to make up. Cincinnati was content to burn clock and punt as the Giants would fumble near midfield on their next possession. New York eventually found the end zone, but not until less than three minutes remained on the clock and with the game out of hand, the 'under' held on.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3) 34, San Diego Chargers 24 (47): San Diego led by four at halftime, but the Buccaneers grabbed the lead late in the 3rd quarter, getting right on the spread with a three-point lead. Early in the third quarter, Tampa Bay got a big play to nearly put the game away completely, returning an interception 83 yards for a touchdown. San Diego got back within seven with a field goal, but Tampa Bay managed to win and cover with a 10-point victory despite being soundly out-gained on the day.

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Minnesota Vikings (+3) 34, Detroit Lions 24 (46):
The Vikings led 13-3 with just over five minutes to go in the third quarter as the 'under' looked promising as Minnesota sat on an early lead as a home underdog. Minnesota had to settle for a short field goal to push the lead to 16-3, but then Detroit responded with its first touchdown drive of the day with less than three minutes to go in the third quarter. With 26 points through three quarters, the 'under' still had room to work with, but Minnesota hit a big play early in the fourth and found the end zone and then hit a two-point conversion in what might have been a critical play for the total. The Lions got a pair of big penalties to aid a quick scoring drive in response, cutting the margin to just seven points and putting the 'over' on track. An exchange of punts kept the scoring in check a few minutes longer, but Adrian Peterson eventually broke through for a 61-yard run and by the final whistle there was 32 points scored in the fourth quarter after just 26 points in the first three.

Seattle Seahawks (-5) 28, New York Jets 7 (38½): New York had very little production in Seattle, but heading into the fourth quarter, the Jets were just off the spread trailing by seven points after failing twice near midfield in the third quarter. The Jets gave up another big play as Seattle went up by 14 and the resulting successful drive ended in a fumble to end any hopes for New York getting back in the game. The game ended just 'under' the total with Seattle sitting on the doorstep to add more points had they needed to.

Dallas Cowboys (-2½) 38, Philadelphia Eagles 23 (44½): Dallas and Philadelphia were tied 17-17 entering the fourth quarter as the Cowboys tied the game with the third quarter expiring thanks to a big 30-yard pass play to Dez Bryant. Things got out of hand as the Cowboys added three touchdowns in the fourth with a punt return touchdown, an interception return touchdown, and a fumble recovery touchdown to give Dallas the cover in a misleading final while also pushing a fairly low-scoring and low-output game well 'over' the total.

St. Louis Rams (+13½) 24, San Francisco 49ers 24 (38): These teams had just 24 points through nearly three and a half quarters, but that figure would eventually get doubled as the 49ers scored two touchdowns in the span of 17 seconds to take the lead for the first time in the game with about eight minutes to go. The score was right at the total of 38 at that point, but St. Louis rallied to take the lead back with just over a minute to go, cashing the 'over'. The 49ers sent the game to overtime and then in a mistake-filled extra-session both teams failed on opportunities with each team missing a game-winning field goal attempt to leave a tie.

  
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