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Close Calls - Week 8
NFL games often go down to the wire, especially relative to the spread. Here are close calls from week 8 of the NFL season, recapping the spread-changing plays from the fourth quarters around the league. Each week there are several key plays late in games that can change the result or create a misleading final score, get the details in this weekly column.
Detroit Lions (-3) 31, Dallas Cowboys: While those on the underdog Cowboys still held on in the wild fourth quarter in Detroit, those that played the Cowboys on the money-line (+140) or those on the ‘under’ had a rude finish. Detroit had huge yardage in the game but turnovers were costly and Dallas led just 13-7 entering the fourth quarter. With a 50-yard touchdown pass Dallas took a 27-17 lead with less than seven minutes to go in the game but Detroit would climb within three with a touchdown run with just over three minutes to go, a score that pushed the total ‘over’ as there eventually would be 41 points scored in the fourth quarter. Dallas settled for a field goal playing conservatively to lead by six with a minute to go in the game but Matthew Stafford and the Lions rallied to score with the gutsy final play to steal the win in the final seconds.
Kansas City Chiefs (-7) 23, Cleveland Browns 17:
The Chiefs led 13-0 and 20-7 early in this game but the Browns climbed within 10 right before halftime and then scored five minutes into the third quarter to get within three. There was no scoring for nearly 25 minutes of game clock until the Chiefs added a field goal with 17 seconds left after minimally threatening to score at all in the second half.
New Orleans Saints (-10) 35, Buffalo Bills 17: This line was at -12 early in the week before falling late in the week and while the Saints were in control the Bills were within range of the spread most of the way. New Orleans led 28-10 entering the fourth quarter but the Bills punched in a touchdown to get within 11 early in the final frame. The Saints hit another big play after a Buffalo interception to go up 35-17 and while the Bills threatened to add points on the last two possessions, they could not deliver.
New England Patriots (-6½) 27, Miami Dolphins 17: The Dolphins led 17-3 at the half but New England took over in the third quarter, taking a 20-17 lead aided by a missed field goal and a fumble deep in Miami territory. The Patriots got past the spread early in the fourth but Miami appeared to be in position to climb back within at least seven, where the line was most of the week, however a short field goal attempt was blocked. Miami would get another possession but the threat ended with another turnover.
Denver Broncos (-11) 45, Washington Redskins 21: The Redskins led 21-7 well into the third quarter after an interception return touchdown, appearing en route to a major upset. Denver found the end zone to get within seven before the start of the fourth quarter and the Broncos tied the game just four seconds into the final quarter. It would snowball from there as the Broncos scored 24 more points in the fourth quarter, the last score came on a 75-yard interception return touchdown as the Redskins could not cover with a double-digit spread despite the double-digit second half lead.

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