Close Calls - Week 13
December 6, 2017
By Joe Nelson
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NCAAFB - 4th Quarter Covers
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 13
Dallas Cowboys (+2) 38, Washington Redskins 14 (47): The ‘under’ looked promising with a 17-7 edge for Dallas through three quarters in a game where both teams were held below 300 yards. An exchange of touchdowns early in the fourth quarter put the ‘over’ back in play with Dallas still up by 10. The Cowboys burned nearly six minutes of clock on the next drive to lead 31-14 with fewer than five minutes remaining. Washington had to go for it on 4th-and-10 from its own 25-yard-line and a tipped pass was intercepted, giving Dallas the ball at the 11-yard-line. The Cowboys couldn’t run out the clock and while Washington would get stops on 1st and 2nd down from the 1-yard-line, the Cowboys broke into the end zone on 3rd down to hit the ‘over’.
Baltimore Ravens (-2½) 44, Detroit Lions 20 (43): A series of miscues left the Lions down 20-0 at halftime in Baltimore but out of the break Detroit scored touchdowns on three of its first four possessions, closing to within seven points. A big kickoff return gave the Ravens great field position halfway through the fourth quarter and the Ravens were able to push the advantage to 10 points. Matthew Stafford would be intercepted on the next two Detroit possessions, the second of which was returned for a touchdown to give the Ravens a blowout final margin despite a slight yardage deficit.
Tennessee Titans (-7) 24, Houston Texans 13 (42): The Titans fell behind 10-0 with first quarter mistakes but wound up tying the game by halftime and after a touchdown at the end of the third quarter the Titans led 17-10 on a spread that sat at 6½ most of the week before bouncing to 7. The Texans managed a field goal to get within the number early in the fourth quarter and forced a Tennessee punt to quickly get the ball back. Houston would have a new set of downs at the Tennessee 29-yard-line after a completing a 22-yard pass play on 4th-and-19 with a replay review that held up. The next play Tom Savage was intercepted. After Houston exhausted its timeouts the Titans faced 3rd-and-5 with less than a minute on the clock and Derrick Henry broke a 75-yard run for a touchdown to save the cover for the Titans.
Green Bay Packers (-3) 26, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20 (45½): A 17-7 lead for Green Bay was erased with Tampa Bay scoring 13 straight points to lead 20-17 with six minutes to go. The Packers offense had done little the entire game but did enough under Brett Hundley to line-up a game-tying field goal just ahead of the two-minute-warning. In overtime the Packers got the ball first and didn’t relinquish it, eventually getting the game-winning touchdown on a 20-yard rush from Aaron Jones to win and cover, while also pushing the total ‘over’.
New Orleans Saints (-6) 31, Carolina Panthers 21 (48): The Saints took control of this game with consecutive touchdowns in the second quarter and led 28-14 heading into the fourth quarter. A short field goal with six minutes to go effectively sealed the win for the Saints with a 31-14 edge but a late Panthers touchdown shifted the total result to the ‘over’.
Los Angeles Rams (-7½) 32, Arizona Cardinals 16 (43½): The Cardinals trailed by six at halftime with a defensive score for the Rams the difference. In the third quarter a big punt return set-up a short field touchdown to give the Rams a 13-point lead while Arizona made a field goal and had a field goal blocked on the next two possessions. Two more Los Angeles field goals created the 32-16 final margin with the Cardinals running out of time at the 26-yard-line while out-gaining and out-rushing the Rams for the game.
Oakland Raiders (-10) 24, New York Giants 17 (43): With Geno Smith starting at quarterback the Giants didn’t do much on offense but trailed just 10-7 through three quarters. Oakland scored two fourth quarter touchdowns around a touchdown for the Giants to push the edge to 24-14; right even with the closing line but past the common spreads from -7 to -9 most of the week. The Giants managed a late field goal after the two-minute-warning to secure the underdog cover in Ben McAdoo’s final game.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-4½) 23, Cincinnati Bengals 20 (43): The Bengals led 17-0 early in this game but wound up in tight battle late as the lead was cut to 20-10 entering the fourth quarter. Pittsburgh predictably would tie the game with about four minutes remaining while the Bengals punted on their final three possessions. The Steelers delivered a game-winning field goal as time expired to spoil moneyline bets on the home underdog while leaving the total at a push for most.
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