The Army Black Knights and the Navy Midshipmen get set to do battle at Lincoln Financial Field in the City of Brotherly Love this weekend. The game is slated to get underway on Saturday, December 9th at 3 p.m. EST. The contest between the two academies can be seen on CBS for your afternoon college football entertainment. As of this article, the Midshipmen are -3 point favorites and the contest’s total rests at 46. The over/under has dropped eight points since it came out on Monday.
The Army Black Knights look to make it two in a row over the Midshipmen on Saturday. Last year, Army ended a 14-game losing streak to Navy with a 21-17 victory. A win this weekend would also secure West Point their seventh Commander-in-Chief’s trophy and their first since 1996. Last time they took the field, the Cadets had their six-game winning streak come to a halt when they were defeated by the North Texas Mean Green, 52-49.
The Navy Midshipmen would love to end their two-game losing streak against their military rivals on Saturday. In the Middies’ last outing on November 24th, they fell victim to the Houston Cougars, 14-24. The loss was the second in a row and the fifth in their last six games. A triumph over the Black Knights would give the Midshipmen their 16th Commander-in-Chief’s trophy and their 11th in the last 15 years.
Army Black Knights (8-3)
The Army Black Knights have reached eight wins in 2017 and have already secured a spot in the Armed Forces Bowl against San Diego State on December 23rd. Nevertheless, a second-straight victory over Navy would cap off a heck of a regular season.
Even though Army fell in defeat to the Mean Green a few weeks ago, quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw might have had his best game under center this season. The senior quarterback rarely passes the football but toted the rock 27 times for 244 yards and two trips to pay-dirt. Overall, Bradshaw has carried the ball 189 times for 1,472 yards and has 11 touchdowns.
Tailback Darnell Woolfolk was also outstanding in the loss to North Texas. The powerful runner scampered for 120 yards on 18 carries with two scores of his own. The junior running back has collected 668 rushing yards in eight games played on the season and is averaging 5.4 yards a carry. He also has reached the back of the end zone 11 times in 2017.
I would mention some pass catchers in this section but the Black Knights rely solely on running the ball to generate offense. As a result, they lead the nation with an average of 368 rushing yards per game. Army also features running backs Kell Walker and Andy Davidson. Together, they have recorded over 500 rushing yards on the season with another 10 scores combined.
The Black Knights usually stout defense struggled in the loss to the Mean Green. In fact, they surrendered a season-high 52 points and 489 total yards. Even so, the unit has been a strong defensive squad for the majority of the year. Especially against the run which is a good sign heading into this match-up against Navy. In all, the front seven is only allowing 155 yards a game which is good for 54th in the country.
Navy Midshipmen (6-5)
The Navy Midshipmen would love a feel-good victory here after losing five of their last six games. The Navy Midshipmen have also lost their last four non-home games. The Midshipmen’s offense could not get going for the second straight week in a 24-14 road loss to Houston on November 24th.
Quarterback Zach Abey only completed 2 of 4 passes for 45 yards and only managed 33 rushing yards on his 16 attempts. The junior quarterback only attempts a few passes per game. In all, he has collected 803 passing yards with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. Similar to Army QB Ahmad Bradshaw, Abey runs the ball quite often. In 2017, he has accumulated 1,322 rushing yards along with 14 trips to the back of the end zone. Navy sits second in rushing in the FBS behind only Army.
Running backs Malcolm Perry and Chris High have complimented quarterback Zach Abey out of the backfield. The two runners have combined for just over 200 carries for just over 1,300 yards. The duo also has found their way to the promised land another 10 on the season. Perry can be a threat to catch the football out in the flat, reeling in 12 balls for over 300 yards and two scores.
Wideout Tyler Carmona is the go-to guy when the Midshipmen try to burn opposing defenses with the play-action pass. The elusive player has caught 14 passes from Zach Abey for 318 yards and four touchdowns. His 27.2 yards per catch average is one of the best in the nation.
The Navy defense has been their greatest weakness all season. However, they have fared well in their last two games by holding Notre Dame and Houston to only 24 points apiece. Unfortunately, the squad gives up yards on the ground which could be an issue against Army’s potent running game. Micah Thomas leads the Midshipmen’s defense with 72 tackles and also has three interceptions. Teammate Josh Webb has four sacks to help out the country’s 86th-ranked secondary.
When this line came out on Monday, I’ll have to admit I was a bit shocked. The fact that Las Vegas put the Midshipmen as a -3.5 point favorite against Army didn’t seem right. Truthfully, the Black Knights are playing better football than the Midshipmen right now and have for most of the year. Evidentally, the betting public agrees more with the Sin City line setters because this line has only dropped a half point to -3 for Navy as of this article.
The over/under came out at 54 points and I jumped on the under on Monday. Now, the total has dropped eight points to 46 and I question whether or not it’s worth the risk to play the under with the reduction. With that being said, I think the best bang for your buck here is to take the underdog Black Knights to flat out upset Navy for the second time in a row. This game should be tight throughout and I believe that Army has the better run defense of the two. Take Army at +150 and watch the Black Knights secure their seventh Commander-in-Chief’s trophy to cap off their spectacular regular season.
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The Black Knights are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games in December.
The Under is 15-3 in the Black Knights last 18 neutral site games.
The Midshipmen are 3-1-2 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
The Under is 8-2 in the Midshipmen last 10 neutral site games.
Underdog is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 meetings.
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