The 120th Army-Navy game kicks off this Saturday in Philadelphia. Since 2009, this has been played the week after the Championship Weekend, and is the final regular season game of the year. Navy leads the all-time series 60-52-7. However, Army has won the last three meetings after they snapped their 14-game losing streak from 2002-2015. As of writing this, 52 percent are on Army to cover as a 10-point underdog, and 63 percent believe the game will stay under 40-points.
Date: Saturday, December 14, 2019
Time: 3:00 PM ET
Location: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Army comes in at 5-7 missing a bowl for the first time since 2015. They come in with one of the most efficient offenses in the country ranking eighth in efficiency. This helps when they’ve been running the triple option for the entirety of the programs history. Also, they have one of the best offensive lines that rank in the top five in power success, stuff rate, and line yards. This will help them going up against Navy’s defense who is at a disadvantage in the trenches. Also, they rank third in rushing success, so they should be able to move the ball on this Navy defense. With running the triple option, they rank third in rushing percentage, and run the ball 83 percent of the time. Obviously, they don’t pass the ball great, but they should have an edge running the ball.
Defensively, the Black Knights have struggled to slow opponents down. They rank 70th in success rate, and 75th in limiting explosive plays. Also, they will be at a disadvantage on the line. Navy’s offense does have an edge on them in the trenches, so the Midshipman should be able to move the ball as well. Also, Navy has the second most explosive rushing offense in the country. Army ranks 69th in defensive rushing success, and 56th in limiting rushing explosiveness. Also, the Black Knights have been horrible limiting explosive pass plays this season. Navy is also a triple option team and runs the ball at an even higher clip than Army. However, when they do pass the ball they get big yardage, and Army could struggle to defend those big pass plays if they aren’t expecting it.
The Midshipman sit at 9-2 on the season and a conference record of 7-1 this season. Navy has had a strong year with their only losses coming to Memphis and Notre Dame. However, going up against their long time rival Army is never an easy task. Navy’s offense comes into this game ranking 18th in success rate, and sixth in explosiveness. Also, they have the edge in the trenches with their offensive line, and should be able to create big plays on the ground with a rushing attack that ranks second in explosiveness. The Black Knights have struggled to defend the run this year and allow 4.5 yards per rush. Also, Navy rarely passes the ball due to running the triple option. However, when they do it goes for big plays. This is a smaller sample size than most teams, but they rank second in passing explosiveness.
Defensively, Navy has been fairly solid on this side of the ball ranking 27th in success rate. However, they are mismatched on the defensive line going up against Army, but they rank 16th in havoc created. Fortunately, they matchup well defending Army’s triple option as they rank 18th in limiting rushing success and 20th in limiting explosive runs. Army ranks 77th in that category. Also, Army probably won’t have much success passing the ball if they were to try. Navy ranks 45th in passing success, and Army doesn’t have the ability to exploit Navy’s inability to defend explosive pass plays. All in all, Navy will be tested at the line of scrimmage. If they are able to get a push on Army, then they should be able to slow down the triple option attack. However, controlling the line means everything in this game, and Army has the advanatge here.
Betting Pick: Over 40
If someone were to look at the numbers over the last decade, this isn’t a trendy pick. Two triple option teams that are also rivals who know each other so well doesn’t scream many points will be scored. The under has hit 12 straight years in this matchup. However, I might be overthinking this pick given the trend, but I think the over can hit this season. Both teams know the triple option well, but both defenses are at a disadvantage on the defensive line. This should allow both Army and Navy to move the football down field more in this game. Also, Navy’s ability to create explosive plays might have an affect on how many points are scored. If the Midshipman get a few big plays throughout the game, then they could put up more point to hit the total.