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NFL Week 8 Close Calls

NFL Close Calls – Week 8


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 8 of the NFL regular season. Most of this week’s games apply as if you won in Week 8 on sides, congratulations, almost every game could have gone the other way with many of those games certainly deserving of an opposite spread result.

Minnesota Vikings (-17) 19, Washington Redskins 9 (41½): There were eight scoring plays Thursday night but seven were field goals as Minnesota posted more than twice as many yards but couldn’t pull away. Washington trailed by just seven late in the third quarter and got the ball back with a stop on 4th-and-1 just outside of Minnesota field goal range. Two plays later Dwayne Haskins was intercepted to set-up a Dan Bailey field goal early in the fourth quarter to put Minnesota up by 10. A late touchdown would be enough for most Vikings backers on a spread that opened at -14½ and only hit -17 very late in the day before kickoff. The Vikings had the opportunity and attempted to score despite Washington being out of timeouts late but ultimately wound up stopped on 4th-and-4 from the Washington 7-yard-line in the final minute.

Detroit Lions (-6) 31, New York Giants 26 (49): The Lions had a 14-0 lead early but Detroit has made a habit of blowing leads this season. Sure enough the Giants scored the next two touchdowns but missed a PAT to trail by one. The Lions would stretch the edge to four by halftime and led by five through three quarters after an exchange of touchdowns in the third with the Giants failing going for two. Detroit hit a big play early in the fourth quarter to lead by 12 before New York was stopped on downs on back-to-back possessions. Detroit would go backwards on both late possessions however and getting the ball back just ahead of the two-minute warning, the Giants were a backdoor threat. A 25-yard pass interference call put New York in business and with 1:19 remaining the Giants found the end zone. Down six New York matched the closing number and opted to kick the important PAT to lose by just five.

Tennessee Titans (-2) 27, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23 (45½): The Buccaneers have appealing numbers but the consistent turnovers stand out and they came to bite in this contest with Tampa Bay posting a 389-246 yardage edge in a narrow loss. The Titans led by two at halftime after the Buccaneers went for two after a score right before the break and came up short. The Buccaneers would get eight on an early third quarter score however to lead by six. Tennessee added a late third quarter field goal to trail by three but forced a punt with Tampa Bay unwilling to go for it on 4th-and-1 in its own territory. The Titans then nearly doubled their offensive production for the game with a 12-play 90-yard drive to deliver the go-ahead score, slipping past the slight favorite spread with 6:55 to go as well. Tampa Bay had three more possessions that ended in a fumble, failing on 4th-and-1 in Tennessee territory, and finally a deep pass from Jameis Winston intercepted at the Tennessee 25-yard-line.

Los Angeles Chargers (+3) 17, Chicago Bears 16 (41): The Bears commanded this game in the numbers but settled for three first half field goals while the Chargers got a touchdown. The scoring mode flipped in the third quarter as the Bears were able to find the end zone and led 16-10 as a slight home favorite after a Chargers field goal late in the third quarter. Mitch Trubisky fumbled in Chicago territory on the next possession and the Chargers were able to go 26 yards for a touchdown in three plays to lead by one. Chicago had a productive drive to reach the Los Angeles 37-yard-line but Trubisky took a 3rd down sack and the Bears had to punt. The defense got the stop to give the Bears another chance and rather than taking a few shots to get a touchdown or get closer, the Bears took a knee in the final minute and watched Eddy Pinero miss left from 41 yards.

Seattle Seahawks (-7) 27, Atlanta Falcons 20 (48½): The closing line says seven but that wasn’t an overly common price on this game. Seattle opened at -3 and held at -3½ early in the week before number jumped with Matt Ryan ruled out. -8 was typical over the weekend as results wound up varying on this game. Multiple outcomes didn’t seem possible as Seattle led 24-0 at halftime but Matt Schaub would prove to be a productive backup getting the Falcons 11 points in the third quarter. A Seattle field goal with about six minutes left in the game made the lead 16 and seemed safe but Atlanta went the distance in fewer than three minutes and suddenly was within 10, failing on a two-point conversion that mattered for many. In many ways that might have been a worse outcome for Seattle backers as with a two-score lead the Seahawks could still relax and they punted back while taking just 27 seconds off the clock. Schaub and the Falcons managed the clock well and kicked a second down field goal without using a timeout to trail by seven while still leaving more than a minute on the clock, giving many late-week Falcons backers a win. The on-side kick went out of bounds however to end any further threat as Seattle held on and the total that fell throughout the week stayed just ‘under’.

Jacksonville Jaguars (-7) 29, New York Jets 15 (40): Jacksonville dominated this game in most ways and led 22-7 after a late third quarter field goal. An early fourth quarter touchdown with a successful two-point conversion suddenly put the Jets down just seven however to land even with the common weekend number though early in the week Jacksonville opened at -4½ and was -6 to -6½ for long stretches. The Jaguars gained 30 yards on the next possession but had to punt. Hopes for a New York comeback were short-lived however with a penalty, a negative rushing play, and an interception on three snaps for the Jets. On a short field Jacksonville found the end zone on 3rd-and-goal to go up by 14. Sam Darnold was intercepted across midfield on the next possession for the Jets while another late series ended on downs.

Los Angeles Rams (-12) 24, Cincinnati Bengals 10 (48½): In London the Rams got more they bargained for with the winless Bengals with a 10-10 tie late in the second quarter before a trick play gave Los Angeles a 65-yard touchdown. Out of halftime the Rams added another touchdown to slip past the heavy favorite spread. The Bengals appeared ready to answer reaching the edge for field goal range before going backwards and needing to punt on 4th-and-long. Cincinnati held the Rams to four straight punts the rest of the game but two late drives deep into Los Angeles territory came up empty with a field goal not being worth considering given the time and score. The Bengals couldn’t convert from the 6-yard-line with about five minutes remaining and on a late drive appeared to get the underdog cover with a touchdown with eight seconds to go. On review the play was overturned and the Bengals came up incomplete on its last shot from inside the 10. Winning by 14 with only 24 points Rams backers escaped with a very fortunate cover in a game where the Bengals had more than 400 total yards but just 10 points.

New Orleans Saints (-12½) 31, Arizona Cardinals 9 (48): Arizona trailed New Orleans just 10-6 at halftime but opted to go for it on 4th-and-1 form its own 30 early in the third quarter. The aggressive play was commendable as Kliff Kingsbury is breaking the mold but the move backfired with the Saints adding a short-field touchdown to go up 17-6 a few plays later. Arizona would add a field goal and through three quarters both teams had three scores but Arizona had only field goals. Still down one score Arizona couldn’t get a big third down stop early in the fourth quarter and the Saints went up by 15. About halfway through the final frame the Cardinals reached the New Orleans 27-yard-line but a field goal did no good at that point and 3rd-and-2 and 4th-and-2 attempts to extend the series were stopped. A deflated Cardinals defense gave up back-to-back big plays as the Saints put the game away with another touchdown with five minutes to go.

Houston Texans (-5½) 27, Oakland Raiders 24 (52): The total wound up with mixed results on this game landing right on 51 where the number sat for big chunks of the week. Oakland led this game 21-13 as a Houston win didn’t seem in play but the Texans scored in the first few seconds of the fourth quarter and just went for one to trail 21-20. The Raiders managed a field goal to go up by four before a wild sequence with Deshaun Watson delivering a go-ahead touchdown pass but appearing to be seriously injured. Up three the Houston defense forced an Oakland punt and was a serious threat to steal the cover but Oakland exhausted its timeouts and Houston with Watson still in the game, was ultimately able to take a knee well across midfield after the two-minute warning without needing to try to advance further or consider a late field goal.

New England Patriots (-10) 27, Cleveland Browns 13 (43): Double-digit spreads in the NFL are rarely out of play as while the Patriots were in complete control after 17-0 first quarter, a Browns cover lurked as a real possibility. Down 27-10 Cleveland went for it on 4th-and-16 deep in its own territory and went further backwards. Dealt a 14-yard field the Patriots went backwards as well and missed on a 34-yard field goal with about four minutes remaining. A touchdown would have trimmed the margin to 10 but the Browns came up just short of a 1st down on a late series in New England territory and after a false start pushed it to 4th-and-6 they opted to kick a field goal to trail by 13. The Browns would get the ball back with about a minute to go and picked up a big gain with a pass interference call but a sack followed. With no timeouts left and the clock would run out a few plays later with the game staying just ‘under’ as well.

Green Bay Packers (-5) 31, Kansas City Chiefs 24 (48): A quick 14-0 lead for the Packers was erased in the second quarter as the Chiefs got a good performance from Matt Moore and the defense created some pressure. The Sunday night game was tied 17-17 through three quarters and 24-24 with nine minutes to go. The Packers scored on a 67-yard short pass and run from Aaron Jones to lead by seven but more than eight minutes remained. The Chiefs reached the 40-yard-line and opted to punt on 4th-and-3 with more than five minutes remaining and three timeouts left, a decision it isn’t clear they would make with Patrick Mahomes. Green Bay was able to covert a pair of third downs and run out the remaining clock for the win and narrow cover.

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NFL Close Calls – Week 8

NFL Close Calls – Week 8


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 and total in the fourth quarter in Week 8 of the NFL regular season to close October. Almost every game made the list in an exciting Week 8 with the spread or total results still in question late across the league.

Houston Texas (-7) 42, Miami Dolphins 23 (45½): Houston led by four at the half and extended the lead to 11 points in the third quarter. Miami hit a field goal in the final minute of the third to get within eight with a spread that was at -7 or -7½ for most. Miami tried an on-side kick and it didn’t work out, handing Houston great field position and two plays later Deshaun Watson connected with DeAndre Hopkins for a 49-yard score. Miami answered but only with a field goal and Houston added another fourth quarter touchdown to pull away and seal a five-game winning streak.

Philadelphia Eagles (-3) 24, Jacksonville Jaguars 18 (44½): In London the Eagles delivered a 95-yard touchdown drive early in the third quarter to lead by 11 but Jacksonville closed to within five points late in the third quarter, opting to go for two and coming up short in a critical play relative to the spread that briefly hit -3½ before settling back at -3. A Josh Lambo field goal early in the fourth made the margin just two points, enough for the underdog Jaguars to cover. Philadelphia responded with a six-play touchdown drive to lead by nine with about 10 minutes remaining. Everyone involved on the spread or total watched with great interest as Jacksonville reached 1st-and-goal with about seven minutes remaining. The Jaguars didn’t get much closer however and settled for a 24-yard field goal that kept the Eagles past the favorite spread and left the total ‘under’. Jacksonville nearly got the big break it needed with an apparent fumble but on review Josh Adams was ruled down before the ball popped out. The Eagles still had to punt a few plays later but after converting one 4th-and-short play, the Jaguars fell incomplete on a 4th-and-2 throw near midfield as the Eagles and the ‘under’ held on.

Pittsburgh Steelers (-8) 33, Cleveland Browns 18 (47½): The Steelers led just 16-12 late in the third quarter as underdog and ‘under’ tickets were in a promising spot. James Conner added a late third quarter touchdown run to put the Steelers up by 11 and the Browns punted on its next three possessions, netting +1 yard over 10 plays while the Steelers added 10 more points. The total scoring was at 45 just ahead of the two-minute warning as Cleveland got the ball back. The Browns reached the Pittsburgh 24-yard-line with very little time left and on 4th down Baker Mayfield hit Seth DeValve for a touchdown at the six second mark to push the total ‘over’, in what turned out to be the final offensive series for coaches Hue Jackson and Todd Haley.

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Kansas City Chiefs (-8) 30, Denver Broncos 23 (53½): The Chiefs led by just two at halftime 16-14 with a missed extra point in the second quarter on one of two touchdowns these teams had in the final minute before halftime to greatly change the total scoring pace. In the third Kansas City took control with two scores to go up 30-14 but Denver would score on the first play of the fourth quarter to trail by 10. The Broncos opted to go for two but failed to leave the margin right on the common number of +10, though the favorite spread fell Sunday morning. The Chiefs threw an interception a few plays later to give Denver a serious comeback shot but the Broncos had turnovers on their next two possessions. Getting the ball back with four minutes to go Denver added a field goal to ensure the underdog cover, though it wasn’t quite enough to clear the total.

Chicago Bears (-8) 24, New York Jets 10 (42): The Bears led just 7-3 at the half as the ‘under’ was the clear play in autumn conditions in Chicago. Halfway through the third quarter Chicago went up 14-3 and then early in the fourth added a field goal after a marginal punt left the Bears at midfield. The underdog Jets answered with their best drive of the day and suddenly were within the spread trailing 17-10. The Bears didn’t face a 3rd down on an 8-play, 79-yard touchdown drive to get back in front with seven minutes to go and a final threat for the Jets ended at midfield.

Seattle Seahawks (+3) 28, Detroit Lions 14 (48): Seattle had a big second quarter to lead 21-7 for a hot scoring pace but neither team added points in the third quarter to put the ‘under’ back in good shape. After getting stuffed at the goal line in the third quarter, Seattle ensured the underdog win with an early fourth quarter touchdown to put the scoring at 35 in a game that wound up with no field goals. Detroit gave itself a shot getting back within 14 and the ‘over’ was just one touchdown short of hitting with still 10 minutes to play. The Lions crossed midfield halfway through the final frame but Matthew Stafford fumbled on a sack. Detroit would reach the 4-yard-line with a new set of downs on its next possession but Stafford was picked off in the end zone to save the ‘under’.

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Cincinnati Bengals (-3½) 37, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 34 (55): The Bengals led 27-6 in this game just before halftime but the Buccaneers hit a long field goal right before the half and then added an early third quarter touchdown to climb within 11. A pick-6 that got Jameis Winston out of the game put the Bengals up 34-16 with the ‘over’ needing just five more points in the final frame. That total was decided quickly with the Buccaneers adding 10 points in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter, sitting within a single score. Both teams punted with the game now tight and Cincinnati opted to punt on its next possession after a sack put the Bengals out of reasonable field goal range. Ryan Fitzpatrick led the Buccaneers down the field but faced 4th-and-3 at the 18-yard-line with a stop able to seal the win for the Bengals. Fitzpatrick hit O.J. Howard for the touchdown and then the Buccaneers also converted for two and the tie. Andy Dalton still had a minute remaining and the Bengals converted a big third down and A.J. Green did the heavy lifting to get the Bengals in place for a 44-yard field goal that won the game, but left those on the Bengals just shy of the spread.

Indianapolis Colts (-3½) 42, Oakland Raiders 28 (51): The Raiders led 28-21 into the fourth quarter as they have done several times this season despite only one win. Indianapolis tied the game with about 11 minutes remaining and forced a punt on defense. It took the Colts only six plays to score again, going in front 35-28 and the Raiders fumbled on first down after getting the ball back. Indianapolis added a short-field score to build the misleading 42-28 final margin.

Arizona Cardinals (+3) 18, San Francisco 49ers 15 (40): This battle of one-win division rivals saw San Francisco go in front 5-3 at halftime and then 12-3 through three quarters. Early in the fourth the 49ers had a chance to go up by 16 but wound up settling for a 20-yard field goal to lead by 12. Despite limited production from the offense all day Josh Rosen led a touchdown drive in six plays to get the Cardinals back in the game, down by five. Arizona forced a punt and had the ball back with seven minutes to go but wound up fumbling near midfield. San Francisco couldn’t put the game away, needing to punt and Rosen led a very effective two-minute drill, going 73 yards in 12 plays to put the Cardinals in front, succeeding on the two-point conversion for a three-point lead. Overtime would have put the ‘over’ back in play but the 49ers ran out of time just across midfield and never got a tying field goal attempt off.

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Los Angeles Rams (-7½) 29, Green Bay Packers 27 (57): This highly anticipated NFC clash lived up to the billing with the Packers giving the undefeated Rams all they could handle early. A 10-0 lead slipped to just 10-8 as the Rams got a safety and a touchdown in the final three minutes before halftime. Los Angeles took over in the second half with consecutive touchdowns to lead 23-13 but Green Bay got back within three in the final seconds of the third quarter. The Rams settled for an early fourth quarter field goal which allowed the Packers to go in front 27-26 after a 40-yard touchdown pass. Both teams punted on the next possessions but a weak 25-yard effort set the Rams up in great field position with about five minutes to go. A red zone holding penalty forced Los Angeles to settle for the field goal just after the two-minute warning, leading by two with the scoring at 56, right even with the early week total that eventually climbed to 57. Ty Montgomery opted to take the kickoff out of the end zone and disaster struck for the Packers with a fumble as Aaron Rodgers didn’t get back on the field with a chance to win the game. Facing 3rd-and-10 the Rams would have had to kick a field goal if they were stopped with just over a minute on the clock but Todd Gurley found the corner and had a clear path to the end zone. In a play that will be remembered for a long time, he wisely stayed in bounds and kneeled at the 4-yard-line to effectively end the game, as a spread and total result flipping touchdown was kept off the board.

New England Patriots (-13½) 25, Buffalo Bills 6 (44): The first three quarters of the Monday night game featured both teams moving the ball effectively but a combined six field goals kept the scoring low with New England well short of the heavy road favorite spread with a 12-6 edge. Getting the ball early in the fourth the Patriots finally completed a drive with a 12-play, 85-yard scoring drive to lead 18-6, with Brady’s two-point conversion throw intercepted. Derek Anderson almost had a touchdown throw but Jason Croom was ruled on out of bounds on review and then two plays later Devin McCourty took an interception 84 yards for a Patriots touchdown at the six-minute mark, putting New England past the heavy favorite spread. A touchdown would have still earned the cover for the Bills but Buffalo stalled on the New England 32-yard-line with about three minutes remaining and then in the final minute with Nathan Peterman in the game for an injured Anderson, the Bills were stopped on downs around the 34-yard-line.