Navy (3-9) vs Army (9-2)
When: Saturday, December 8th 2018
Where: Lincoln Financial Field,
Time: 3:00 ET | TV: CBS
Opening Odds: Army -5/52.5
One of my favorite classic rivalries in all of sports takes place every December from either Philadelphia or Baltimore, when the Navy Midshipmen and Army Black Knights clash on the football field for a year’s worth of bragging rights. This year’s game takes place in Philly and the tide is starting to turn in this series. Navy reeled off 14-straight victories until Army broke that streak two years ago and is looking for its third consecutive win in the series. Navy is going through its first losing season since 2011, while the Black Knights are ranked in the Top 25 for the first time since 1996 thanks to a ground attack that produces a nation’s second-best 303 yards per game (Georgia Tech 334.9) and an average time of possession of 39 minutes, 15 seconds, leading the country by a wide margin. The Midshipmen, who have lost 12 straight away from home, have the third-best rushing game in the country at 288.5 yards but the defense can’t seem to stop anyone right now. Saturday’s game, which is the 119th in this historic rivalry, will likely come down to who can stop the run. Army appears to have the edge there, ranking 12th in rush defense at 106.5 yards compared to Navy’s 89th-best unit (189.0). A victory Saturday by the Black Knights would give them back-to-back outright Commander-in-Chief’s trophies for the first time in Academy history. The teams had two common opponents this season in Hawaii and Air Force. The Black Knights defeated them 28-21 and 17-14 respectively, while the Midshipmen lost 59-41 and 35-7.
Navy can’t seem to find a No. 1 quarterback and have been using the trio of senior Zach Abey, junior Malcolm Perry, and senior Garret Lewis to no success. They have combined for just 866 yards passing, five touchdowns and three interceptions while competing 44.1 percent of their passes. Abey began the season at wide receiver after playing QB most of last season and is the goal-line specialist with 14 rushing touchdowns while Perry (1,035 yards, seven TDs) showed a spark in this game last year with a 68-yard TD run. The Midshipmen are ranked second in the country in fewest penalties (3.58) and penalty yardage (30 per game), marking the 10th time in 11 seasons they have finished first or second in those categories. Its not surprising they are very disciplined.
Army’s success with running the ball this season has mostly to do with an outstanding offensive line, but we know those players don’t get the praise. That would go to senior running back Darnell Woolfork (823 yards, 14 touchdowns) and junior quarterback Kelvin Hopkins Jr. (783 yards, 10 TDs). Hopkins has also thrown for 895 yards with six TDs and three interceptions, adding some balance to a team that passed for only 361 yards with two TDs and six interceptions last season.
Its clear that Army is the better team, but we know you can throw just about everything out the window when these two meet. The games have been pretty close recently, with the exception of a few Navy blowouts. The Midshipmen have been playing better lately and the Black Knights don’t tend to blow opponents out. I say Navy steps it up here and keeps it close.
Pick: Navy +7
- Midshipmen are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games overall.
- Midshipmen are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games following a straight up loss.
- Midshipmen are 2-6 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
- Midshipmen are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 vs. INDEP.
- Midshipmen are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games on grass.
- Midshipmen are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 non-conference games.
- Black Knights are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following a bye week.
- Black Knights are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games in December.
- Black Knights are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games on grass.
- Black Knights are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games.
- Black Knights are 3-9 ATS vs. a team with a losing record.
- Under is 5-1 in Midshipmen last 6 vs. INDEP.
- Over is 4-1 in Midshipmen last 5 non-conference games.
- Under is 14-4 in Midshipmen last 18 games in December.
- Under is 9-3 in Midshipmen last 12 neutral site games.
- Under is 7-3 in Midshipmen last 10 games after allowing more than 280 yards passing in their previous game.
- Over is 14-6 in Midshipmen last 20 games following a ATS win.
- Under is 13-6 in Midshipmen last 19 games on grass.
- Over is 11-1 in Black Knights last 12 games after allowing less than 170 yards passing in their previous game.
- Under is 5-1 in Black Knights last 6 vs. AAC.
- Under is 13-3 in Black Knights last 16 games in December.
- Under is 21-5 in Black Knights last 26 games following a bye week.
- Over is 4-1 in Black Knights last 5 games after allowing less than 275 total yards in their previous game.
- Under is 16-5 in Black Knights last 21 neutral site games.
- Over is 5-2 in Black Knights last 7 games overall.
- Over is 5-2 in Black Knights last 7 games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game.
- Over is 5-2 in Black Knights last 7 non-conference games.
- Over is 5-2 in Black Knights last 7 games after accumulating less than 170 yards passing in their previous game.
- Under is 10-4 in Black Knights last 14 games on grass.
- Over is 5-2 in Black Knights last 7 games following a ATS win.
- Over is 5-2 in Black Knights last 7 games after accumulating more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Under is 10-0 in the last 10 meetings in Army.
- Underdog is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 meetings.
- Home team is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 meetings.
- Under is 16-5 in the last 21 meetings.
- Midshipmen are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 meetings.
- Midshipmen are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 meetings in Army.