(8-3, 6-5 ATS)
Army Black Knights
(6-5, 5-6 ATS)
Lincoln Financial Field will once again be the site of the annual Army/Navy game, as the Army Black Knights try to snap their lengthy losing streak to the Navy Midshipmen.
Will it be a day hearing a lot of “Go Navy! Beat Army!”? The Middies certainly hope so, just as has been the case over the course of the last eight seasons. The streak is certainly favored to push to nine on Saturday, as the Midshipmen have been the better team of these two for the majority of the campaign. The offense, at times, has been inconsistent, which has led QB Ricky Dobbs to have some very up and down numbers. Dobbs didn’t nearly pull off this year what he did last season when he rushed for 27 TDs alone, but there is no shame in the 23 scores that he has accounted for in his senior season in Annapolis. Navy clearly has the ability to score at will, as it put 76 on the board against the East Carolina Pirates on the road and scored at least 28 in its final seven games of the season. However, those first few duds of the day that featured just narrowly escaping from Georgia Southern and scoring a combined 20 points against the Maryland Terrapins and Air Force Falcons gives cause for concern for certain.
Or, will it be a year of “Go Army! Beat Navy!”? The Black Knights know that the pressure is off this year, as they have qualified for a bowl game for the time since the 1996 Independence Bowl. They’ll be taking on the SMU Mustangs in a couple of weeks, so for the first time in a long time, this game is one with little to no pressure attached to it. QB Trent Steelman failed to get his team to a bowl game last year, something that would have been accomplished had the Black Knights won this fixture here in the City of Brotherly Love, and he is going to want to make amends for it this season. Unlike Dobbs, who at least has a few options to throw the football to, Steelman really has to play from ahead. He is significantly better served just staying in the triple option, as this team ranked dead last in the country in passing for the mass majority of the campaign. The defense is going to be absolutely imperative in this one, as the Cadets ranked No. 25 in the country in total ‘D’ at a shade over 330 yards per game allowed.
Navy probably has the better offense in this game, but the more consistent defense belongs to the Army. The men from West Pointe haven’t been able to celebrate anything but coming at least a little closer to beating the Middies in recent years, but that all changes on Saturday night. The Black Knights get the job done and take care of this dastardly eight game losing streak in one of the best American traditions of the year.
Army/Navy Free Pick: Army Black Knights +8