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NFL Close Calls Week 3

NFL Close Calls – Week 3


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 or total in the fourth quarter last week in Week 3 of the NFL regular season.

Green Bay Packers (-7) 27, Denver Broncos 16 (41½): Denver looked poised to go into halftime tied 10-10 in Green Bay with the ball back just ahead of the two-minute-warning. Joe Flacco was sacked however, and his fumble was recovered at the 5-yard-line. The Packers scored two plays later to take a 17-10 edge into the break, even with the closing spread that was a half-point higher earlier in the week. The second half also started with a Denver fumble and Green Bay scored quickly on the short field to suddenly lead 24-10. Denver would eventually answer in the third quarter, but the extra-point attempt hit the upright as Bronco backers could not catch a break in a game that was even statistically. Later in the third a 59-yard drive for the Broncos ended in an interception that was granted on replay review. Green Bay eventually added a field goal halfway through the fourth to seal win as well as getting the total just ‘over’.

Kansas City Chiefs (-4) 33, Baltimore Ravens 28 (52): Results wound up varying on the big AFC showdown between 2-0 squads as a line that was as high as -7 eventually landed at -4 with numbers in-between certainly possibilities depending on the timing and location. The Chiefs dominated the first half with a 23-6 edge and the margin didn’t change in the third quarter with both teams adding touchdowns. Baltimore made a run in the fourth however adding 10 points in succession to climb within a single score, down by eight. The Chiefs were able to add a field goal with about four minutes remaining, but Baltimore was able to add a late touchdown just ahead of the two-minute warning to get within five. The two-point conversion try loomed large for many and Baltimore was not able to convert.

Buffalo Bills (-6) 21, Cincinnati Bengals 17 (43½): The Bills dominated the turnover-prone Bengals early in this game getting to 14-0 unconventionally with eight points on an early touchdown and on short field drives Cincinnati stayed in the game by holding the Bills to two second quarter field goals (plus another missed field goal try). The Bengals finally got on the board with about six minutes to go in the third quarter after swapping interceptions, suddenly only down seven despite a big disparity in production. The Bengals forced a punt and turned in their best drive of the day going 82 yards in 11 plays to tie the game early in the fourth quarter. Another defensive stop and a field goal put the Bengals in the lead for an improbable comeback, but Buffalo was able to respond with a Frank Gore touchdown inside of the two-minute warning. Cincinnati was a threat for the outright win on its last drive, reaching the Buffalo 28 in the final seconds before an Andy Dalton interception.

Indianapolis Colts (-1) 27, Atlanta Falcons 24 (48): The Colts were in charge up 20-3 at halftime but Atlanta scored two touchdowns consecutively around only one Colts possession to climb within three early in the fourth quarter, with the second score on a 16-play drive that took nearly 10 minutes of game clock. The Colts converted several drives to get back on the board halfway through the fourth with a 10-point edge. Atlanta would add a late touchdown to get within three, a touchdown that cleared the ‘over’ in the final five minutes, but the Colts wouldn’t surrender the ball back and held on for the narrow win.

New England Patriots (-20½) 30, New York Jets 14 (43): Those brave enough to lay three touchdowns with the defending Super Bowl champions were rewarded with a dominant showing that led to a 30-0 lead late in the third quarter. A muffed punt would put the Jets on the board late in the third quarter and then in the fourth quarter with rookie Jarrett Stidham in the game, a pick-six put the Jets back within the spread, hitting the ‘over’ in the process as well. The Jets defense posted 14 points while the offense had only 105 yards but the 16-point margin left the underdog with a win despite the mismatch.

Dallas Cowboys (-22½) 31, Miami Dolphins 6 (46½): With a 10-0 early lead a Dallas rout seemed to be underway, but Miami would manage a pair of field goals and turned in a few defensive stops as a respectable 10-6 deficit was the halftime score. Dallas scored a touchdown coming out of halftime to regain control of the game and added another seven late in the third to lead by 18. One more touchdown would put Dallas ahead of the historic spread, but Dallas had to settle for a field goal attempt which they missed. Miami was able to cross midfield on a late drive but failed on 4th down and with fewer than four minutes remaining Dallas added the critical touchdown for those on the heavy favorite. Miami reached the Dallas 40-yard-line looking to play spoiler but only got a yard on a 4th-and-2 rush.

New York Giants (+5) 32, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31 (48): The Buccaneers took a commanding 28-10 lead with 16 points in the final eight minutes of the second quarter but in settling for three field goals on those four scores they kept the door open for the Giants. On the first play from scrimmage in the second half the Giants connected for 75 yards on the first touchdown pass for Daniel Jones, who earlier in the game ran in for a score in his first NFL start. The New York defense was ignited and turned in three straight punts and an interception with New York able to climb within three with another touchdown drive. A Jones fumble with about 10-minutes to go seemed to halt the momentum but Tampa Bay only got another field goal to lead by six, where the spread was commonly sitting before falling to -5. After swapping punts, the Giants had the ball back with just over three minutes to go and quickly reached the red zone. The drive stalled from there facing 4th-and-5 from the 7-yard-line with Jones eventually calling his own number for the tying score, with the extra-point putting New York in position for win #1. Tampa Bay went 59 yards in the final minute but kicker Matt Gay, who had made four field goals but also missed two extra-points in an eventful day, missed the game-winner from only 34 yards.

Houston Texans (+3) 27, Los Angeles Chargers 20 (49): The Chargers led 17-7 at halftime but Houston scored a pair of touchdowns around a Philip Rivers fumble to take a 21-17 lead. The Texans extended that advantage to 27-17 in the fourth quarter before a Chargers field goal brought the margin back to seven. Overtime looked like a possibility as Rivers led the Chargers down to the Houston 24-yard-line in the final minute before a penalty and a pair of incomplete passes ended the threat.

San Francisco 49ers (-6) 24, Pittsburgh Steelers 20 (44½): The 49ers did their best not to go 3-0 with turnovers on four of their first five possessions but Pittsburgh managed only two field goals behind Mason Rudolph despite the extra chance and good field position. San Francisco was able to get on the board with a field goal before halftime to trail only 6-3 in what ordinarily would be much worse circumstances given that many mistakes. Fortunes changed after halftime and San Francisco scored a short field touchdown after a Rudolph interception. Both teams added touchdowns to keep the 49ers up by four on a spread that was commonly -6½ after Ben Roethlisberger was ruled out. A mostly stagnant Pittsburgh offense was able to go 81 yards in just a minute early in the fourth with a 32-yard pass interference call a big factor. Next a promising San Francisco response ended in another fumble in the red zone as Pittsburgh appeared poised to get its first win. The Steelers would fumble just three plays into the next drive on a 1st down rush and needing only 24 yards the 49ers went back in front, though they didn’t get past the spread despite an edge of nearly 200 yards in the game. The final touchdown put the scoring at 44, past early week totals around 43 though by Sunday most books had the price at 44 or higher.

Los Angeles Rams (-4) 20, Cleveland Browns 13 (48½): The underdog Browns led 6-3 at halftime Sunday night with the Rams missing a field goal and having a fumble in the first half. Both teams scored on their opening possessions of the second half and Cleveland was granted a golden opportunity to pull further in front with a Jared Goff interception near midfield. Cleveland managed two yards and punted and then the Rams scored a touchdown to take the lead a few minutes into the fourth quarter. That touchdown put Los Angeles up by four to match the closing spread though the Rams were commonly -3 before a late rise. The infamous 4th-and-9 draw from Freddie Kitchens followed as the Browns came up empty on the next possession and the Rams were able to add three more to lead by seven. On 3rd-and-3 with fewer than three minutes to go Goff inexplicably threw deep into coverage for an interception to give the Browns an unexpected late opportunity. Baker Mayfield led an uneven drive down to the Los Angeles 4-yard-line, aided greatly by a roughing the passer call and an earlier illegal contact call that wiped out a sack. Three incomplete passes followed before a game-ending interception in the endzone on 4th down.

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Free NFL Pick Sunday

#467 New Orleans Saints +2 over Atlanta Falcons 12:00 PM CT

Atlanta lost a defensive battle in Week 1 but won a shootout last week. The later is expected this week though these teams split lower scoring games last December. The Saints narrowly avoided a 0-2 start to the season and look like a risky performer in the season’s first road game given a poor September track record in the Sean Payton era. Drew Brees is still posting tremendous numbers however and while the Saints are vulnerable against the pass the run defense has been capable.

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New Orleans was a greatly improved defensive team last season and could see the numbers improve in the coming weeks skewed upward after the big numbers from Tampa Bay in Week 1. In contrast the Falcons have allowed 5.2 yards per carry on the ground as Brees and the Saints may be able to provide a more balanced attack this week in what could be a big day for Alvin Kamara who has been held to just 75 rushing yards so far this season.

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The Falcons have been beset by defensive injuries while Devonta Freeman also remains out of action. Cam Newton threw for 335 yards with a 105.3 QB Rating against the Falcons last week in Atlanta and the Saints have won in five of the last nine trips to Atlanta with all but one loss a single-score game. Atlanta was fortunate with three fumbles last week that were all recovered and the ground game could favor New Orleans despite high profile passers and a high total on this key NFC South battle.

Get Nelly’s 2/3 Guarantee for Sunday for only $25 – we hit 62% in the 2017-18 NFL season and we are set for a big Week 3. Big E has a 15* in NFL action today coming off a 20* winner on Saturday. Maximum has a 3/5 60% guarantee offer today while Point Train is riding a 4-0 NFL run and has his first NFL 6-unit play today!

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 4th Quarter Covers – NCAA Week 3

 4th Quarter Covers – NCAA Week 3


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 third big college football weekend. 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.

Boston College (-6) 41, Wake Forest 34: This game got moved up to a late afternoon start on Thursday and Wake Forest took a 24-21 lead as a home underdog in the third quarter. Boston College answered quickly to lead by four heading into the fourth quarter with a spread that climbed from -4 to -6. The key sequence in the game was likely a late third quarter possession for Wake Forest that reached the Boston College 8-yard-line. Down four Wake Forest opted to go for it on 4th-and-2 and fell short with an incomplete pass. Boston College went 92 yards in five plays to go up by 10, missing an extra-point that looked like a potential problem for those on the Eagles. Wake Forest settled for a short field goal after again getting inside the Boston College 10-yard-line, to trail by seven. Boston College put the game away with another quick touchdown drive to go up by 14 as a Demon Deacons touchdown with just over a minute to go didn’t impact the spread result.

Charlotte (+1) 28, Old Dominion 25: This Conference USA game was moved up to Thursday afternoon and it proved to be a competitive contest with a one-point game at the half. Old Dominion led 18-13 briefly in the third quarter before Charlotte completed a 13-play touchdown drive and added a two-point conversion to lead by three as a slight home underdog. Charlotte went up by 10 in the fourth but Old Dominion scored with three minutes remaining to trim the margin to three points, a touchdown that pushed the total ‘over’ as well. Charlotte secured the on-side kick attempt and got the first down they needed to run out the clock.

Miami, FL (-12) 49, Toledo 24: The Rockets fell behind 21-0 after failing going for it on a 4th down in Miami territory and also missing a field goal. The Rockets climbed to within seven points in the second half and trailed by just 11 into the fourth quarter to sit just inside the underdog spread. Miami delivered a five-play touchdown drive and then intercepted the next Toledo pass to pull away for a more convincing final score.

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LSU (+10½) 22, Auburn 19: Auburn was in position for a big win in the SEC opener leading 21-10 well into the third quarter, sitting just past the favorite spread. In an eerily familiar finish to last season’s meeting LSU stormed back, getting a field goal late in the third quarter to close to within eight points while connecting on a 71-yard pass play to have a chance to tie the game in the fourth quarter. The two-point conversion failed but Auburn had to punt and LSU was able to climb into range for a 42-yard game-winning kick in the final seconds. Settling for the field goal also kept the total just ‘under’ as well.

South Florida (-14) 25, Illinois 19: This spread moved dramatically all week with an opening line as low as -7½ for the Bulls in Chicago. It didn’t appear to matter as Illinois kept adding points, going from an early 7-7 tie to a 19-7 advantage through three quarters with four consecutive field goals. Settling for three prove costly however as a productive Bulls offense started to finish drives after missed opportunities earlier in the game. South Florida scored 18 unanswered points in the final frame and while it wasn’t enough to get quite past the spread it was quite a dramatic turn of events as a 3-0 start was spoiled for the Illini with +400 moneyline tickets spoiled as well.

UAB (+4) 31, Tulane 24: The Blazers saw a 14-point halftime lead slip away in the third quarter as Tulane tied the game at 24-24 with about 10 minutes remaining, settling for a field goal when a touchdown could have put the Wave right even with the closing spread or past a spread that bounced down to -3½ at times. UAB was pinned deep with a penalty on the kick return but managed to go 93 yards for the go-ahead touchdown including a big 4th-and-1 conversion. Tulane was a threat to tie the game late but Jonathan Banks fumbled inside UAB territory and then ran out of time in the final seconds after again crossing midfield.

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Florida (-21) 48, Colorado State 10: The Gators led 27-0 after a blocked punt return touchdown but Colorado State climbed back in the game in the third quarter, trailing by just 17 to sit in position for an underdog cover. Special teams came through again with an 85-yard punt return for the Gators, one of three fourth quarter touchdowns that helped pad the final margin as Florida had 48 points on only 341 yards of offense.

Nevada (-4) 37, Oregon State 35: The Wolf Pack used a few big plays to take a commanding 30-7 lead hosting Oregon State but the Beavers scored twice in the final five minutes of the first half to trail by nine. Despite 51 points at halftime, neither team scored in the third quarter. The Beavers were within two early in the fourth quarter but Nevada quickly answered and got the ball right back after a missed field goal, leading by nine. With a chance to put the game away Ty Gangi was intercepted near the red zone with a return across midfield and Oregon State scored four plays later to trail by only two. The Beavers forced a 3-and-out and had a shot at the outright underdog win but a 34-yard field goal was missed as time expired.

Missouri (-5½) 40, Purdue 37: Missouri jumped out to a 27-10 lead early in this revenge game but Purdue closed the score to 27-24 by halftime and tied the game in the third quarter. Missouri built up a 10-point lead by the start of the fourth quarter but David Blough led a two-play touchdown drive to put the Boilermakers in position to cover, down by three after earlier missing a field goal late in the third quarter. Drew Lock was intercepted in the red zone and Purdue managed to complete a 12-play drive with a field goal to tie the game with a 26-yard kick. Missouri led a methodical drive with several first downs to run out the remaining clock before settling for a 25-yard field goal rather than finding the end zone with favorite backers falling just short.

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Texas A&M (-28) 48, UL-Monroe 10: The Aggies led just 24-10 at halftime and were short of the spread with a 34-10 lead well into the fourth quarter. A touchdown with eight minutes to go put Texas A&M past the number and a UL-Monroe interception followed as the Aggies added another late score to pad the final numbers.

Ohio State (-12) 40, TCU 28: TCU seemed to have control of the big Saturday night game with a 21-13 lead into the second half. Ohio State connected on a 63-yard touchdown and opted to go for two and the tie but came up short to trail by two. It didn’t take long for the Buckeyes to go in front with an interception return touchdown and then shortly thereafter Ohio State scored again after a blocked punt for three touchdowns in about four minutes of game clock, suddenly shifting the momentum completely and the likely spread result. TCU would hit a 51-yard pass play to get back within five heading into the fourth quarter before bettors had a nervous final frame depending on the number with a spread that fluctuated from -10 up to -14. Ohio State would complete a long drive early in the fourth quarter to wrap up the victory with both teams punting on the next possessions. Down 12 Shawn Robinson threw an interception with just over two minutes to go and the Buckeyes were a threat to add a late touchdown for the clear favorite cover with J.K. Dobbins breaking tackles for a 17-yard gain before being brought down inside the 10-yard-line and the Buckeyes were able to take a knee from there.

South Alabama (-10) 41, Texas State 31: The Jaguars trailed 31-16 well into the third quarter as Texas State looked poised for an upset. A 55-yard interception return touchdown sparked a South Alabama comeback and a field goal early in the fourth quarter put the Jaguars within five. After an exchange of punts South Alabama went 80 yards in less than two minutes to lead by three with two minutes to go and an interception set-up another score to win by 10 even with the common closing spread for a 25-0 run to finish the game.

Washington (-4) 21, Utah 7: There was no scoring in the fourth quarter of this late night Pac-12 contest as Washington held on for a 14-point win but Utah had plenty of opportunities. After a pair of third quarter fumbles Utah got a break with lineman Pita Tonga intercepting a desperate Jake Browing heave and he had a clear path down the sideline. Without contact from an opponent Tonga fumbled the ball out of bounds at the 11-yard line. Utah didn’t score, coming up short on 4th-and-1 near the goal line. The Utes forced a quick punt and quickly had the ball back deep in Washington territory before again coming up empty. Utah failed on 4th down in Washington territory a third time in the fourth quarter in the final minute as the score held.

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NFL Close Calls – Preseason Week 3

NFL Close Calls – Preseason Week 3


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 third weekend of the NFL preseason including several late scores that changed results.

Seattle Seahawks (-5½) 27, Dallas Cowboys 17 (43): Seattle took control in the third quarter of this preseason matchup Thursday night, a game marred by Tony Romo’s injury. Leading 27-10 the total that dipped from 44½ down to 43 by game time was still in doubt. After a Dallas fumble near midfield Seattle seemed poised to add more points but the Seahawks went for it on 4th and short on the long end of field goal range and came up empty as Trevone Boykin was sacked. Led by Jameill Showers, Dallas delivered a late touchdown drive, finding the end zone inside of two minutes to clinch the ‘over’ for many.

New England Patriots (+3) 19, Carolina Panthers 17 (44½): The Patriots led 16-3 heading into the fourth quarter and seemingly put the game away with a field goal with just over five minutes to go in the game. The Panthers posted two late scoring drives behind Joe Webb but they failed on the two-point conversion attempt on the first score as they would have had the opportunity to force overtime on the second score had that conversion succeeded and overtime could have flipped the outcomes on both the side and the total.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3) 30, Cleveland Browns 13 (43): The total on this game went upward from 41½ to a closing number of 43, right where the final score landed. With 37 points in the first half the ‘over’ certainly was in good shape, aided by a 73-yard punt return for the Buccaneers and a big pass play from the Browns just before halftime. There was just a lone field goal in the third quarter and another field goal in the fourth quarter as a late Browns drive led by rookie Cody Kessler came up empty. The final field goal was enough to hit the ‘over’ for most but the total wound up a push on the closing number.

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Pittsburgh Steelers (+3) 27, New Orleans 14 (44½): This matchup of two of the top offensive teams in the league featured the highest total of the week. It appeared that mark would still be cleared with 38 points through three quarters and both teams moving the ball successfully. Down by 10 the Saints opted to go for it on 4th and 1 at the Pittsburgh 10-yard line early in the fourth quarter and that move did not pay off, costing those on the ‘over’ as well with a missed scoring opportunity. After a New Orleans interception the Steelers added a field goal with just over three minutes to go to put the score at 27-14 but it wasn’t enough as a late Saints drive ended in an interception and the ‘under’ held on.

Washington Redskins (-3½) 21, Buffalo Bills 16 (42½): Washington had a 21-9 lead at the half but the Bills were within five early in the third quarter and an attempt to answer by the Redskins failed as an 11-play drive ended on downs in field goal range with Washington trying to make a 4th and 1 conversion. The teams traded four straight punts despite picking up several first downs and E.J. Manuel failed to move the chains just ahead of the two-minute warning as the Bills went for it on 4th and 13 down by five. Manuel appeared to get redemption with 16 seconds to go in the game hitting Greg Little for a touchdown but offensive pass interference wiped out a score that would have flipped the spread and total results. On 4th and goal from the Washington 28 the Redskins came up with an interception in the end zone to end the game and preserve narrow wins on the favorite and the ‘under’.

Baltimore Ravens (-2½) 30, Detroit Lions 9 (42½): The Ravens took control of this game in the second quarter and the ‘under’ looked promising with a 23-6 edge for the Ravens at the end of three quarters. Baltimore would add a touchdown about halfway through the final frame but another touchdown would be needed for the ‘over’ to hit. Disaster struck those on the ‘under’ as Ravens running back Stephen Houston fumbled with the loose ball returned to the Baltimore 9-yard line in the final minutes. The Lions went backwards behind Jake Rudock however and simply settled for a short field goal as the ‘under’ held on.

New York Giants (PK) 21, New York Jets 20 (42): The Jets had a dominant yardage edge early in this game but only led 10-0 late in the third quarter. The Giants finally got on the scoreboard just before the fourth quarter with a touchdown pass from Ryan Nassib. Early in fourth quarter a Bryce Petty pass was intercepted and returned 73 yards as all of sudden the Giants had a 14-10 lead. Behind rookie Christian Hackenberg the Jets took control again with 10 points in three minutes in the middle of the fourth quarter to lead by six, which was enough to secure the underdog cover for most as the Jets were +2½ before an afternoon slide in the hours before the game started with the closing line down to even. After the Giants failed to add points on a 72-yard drive Hackenberg gave them another chance with an interception deep in Jets territory and two plays later the Giants had a 21-20 lead. The Jets did get into Giants territory on a late drive with the total still in play and early Giants backers looking for another score but they came up empty on a 4th and 1 play with just over a minute to go.

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Tennessee Titans (+3) 27, Oakland Raiders 14 (41½): The total on this game slipped from 43½ to 41½ and that certainly looked like a move in the wrong direction as the first team offenses were sharp combining for 34 first half points. A productive opening drive of the second half for the Raiders wound up with a Tennessee touchdown after a 47-yard fumble return and with over 20 minutes to go the total was at 41. The Titans were content to punt with a lead and four separate times in the fourth quarter the Raiders were inside of Tennessee territory only to fail to add points with two interceptions, being stopped on downs, and running out of time on the final possession as the ‘under’ held on.

Denver Broncos (-6) 17, Los Angeles Rams 9 (41): Denver led just 10-9 at halftime as the biggest favorite of the day on Saturday. A third quarter touchdown put the Broncos past the spread but with an eight-point lead any score would spoil the cover. These teams combined for seven consecutive punts with minimal yardage at one point but late in the game the Rams had a great scoring opportunity going 68-yards behind Sean Mannion and reaching the Denver 7-yard line. Down eight Los Angeles needed a touchdown however and on 4th down the threat ended with an incomplete pass.

Minnesota Vikings (-6½) 23, San Diego Chargers 10 (40): While the Vikings took control of the game early in the second half with a touchdown and a two-point conversion the Chargers did have chance to spoil the spread and total results in the final minutes. For the third straight week the Minnesota defense held in the final minutes this time intercepting Mike Bercovici for a touchback with the Chargers in the red zone when a touchdown would have forced at least a push or worse for those that eventually held on backing Minnesota or the ‘under’.

Jacksonville Jaguars (-2½) 26, Cincinnati Bengals 21 (42½): The Bengals had a 14-0 lead early and after a great opening drive out of the half Cincinnati led 21-3. Jacksonville climbed within 10 by the end of the third quarter and closed the gap to just two points early in the fourth quarter as the total sat at 40 with over 11 minutes to go. The spread and total results flipped on one play as Bengals quarterback Joe Licata was intercepted with Hayes Pullard delivering a long return touchdown to seal the ‘over’ and put Jacksonville in position for the small favorite cover. Two late Cincinnati possessions resulted in harmless punts as the Jaguars got their first win.

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