One of the NCAA’s top traditions continues on Saturday December 8th, 2018 as the Navy Midshipmen and the Army Black Knights will face off at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. A tradition that started back in November of 1890 at West Point with the first Army/Navy football game. A matchup that saw the Midshipmen pick up their first win over the Black Knights in a series that features 118 previous meetings. Over that time, the Midshipmen have won 60, the Black Knights have won 51 and the two have played to seven total ties.
Despite the Midshipmen having the win advantage of the Knights, Army has won the previous two meetings between these two teams including last season’s matchup at Lincoln Financial Field. Entering this contest the two teams are on different paths as the Midshipmen posted just a 3-9 record including losing eight of their final nine games of the season. Meanwhile the Black Knights enter this contest sitting at 9-2 overall after winning their final seven games of the season after a 28-21 loss to the Oklahoma Sooners.
As you look at these two teams on paper the two teams are very similar as they both lean on their impressive running games. The Midshipmen enter this contest with just 866 passing yards compared to 3,467 yards rushing. The Black Knights enter this contest with just 895 passing yards and 3,333 yards rushing. The difference for these two teams come on the defensive side of the ball where the Midshipmen rank 100th in yards allowed (438) and 109th in points allowed per game (34.9). The Black Knights rank 11th in total yards allowed (301 ypg) and 17th in points allowed per game (18.7).
Here are the keys to the game for both the Navy Midshipmen VS Army Black Knights on Saturday December 8th, 2018 @ Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
NCAA Football Keys to the Game
Navy Midshipmen – Play Some Defense & Move the Chains
For the Midshipmen they will need to do two things right on Saturday to pick up the win over Army. The first is find a way to play some defense after allowing eight teams score more than 30 point against them with four of those teams scoring more than 40. For defensive coordinator Dale Pehrson, the game plan should focus on stopping the run while forcing Army to throw the ball. On the year the Black Knights only attempted 85 total passes. The second is their ability to move the ball on the ground running while helping them to control the time of possession while slowing down the scoring opportunities.
Army Black Knights – Be Prepared to Pass
The Black Knights have to enter this contest with a solid game plan and one that includes the team looking outside of the running game. While the team has been successful all season running the ball, they should expect to see a heavy defensive front seven while also seeing additional help at the line of scrimmage. If the Dark Knights come out early showing they can throw the ball or are willing to throw the ball it should force the Midshipmen to alter their defensive game plan.
NCAA Football Betting Trends
Navy Midshipmen – The Midshipmen enter this contest struggling in both the win column as well as their success against the spread for sports handicappers and fans. On the year the team has failed to win on the road going 0-6 overall while covering the spread in just four of their 12 total contests. The team has also failed to cover the spread in four straight non-conference matchups and just two of their last eight games against teams with a winning overall record.
Army Black Knights – The Black Knights success has shown up in the standings winning nine of their 11 contests this season while covering the spread in six of those meetings. Along with that success, the Black Knights have responded after having a week off covering the spread in four straight games following a week off. The team has also covered the spread in four of their last five contests on a neutral site. Despite the success the Black Knights have covered the spread in just three of their last 12 contests against teams with a losing record.
Head 2 Head – The two teams are very familiar with each other facing off year since 1890. The Dark Knights enter this contest winners of two straight contests including last season’s win at Lincoln Financial Field. Prior to those two wins, the Midshipmen had won 14 straight meetings. Over the past four meetings, the Black Knights have controlled the series from a betting trend angle covering in four straight meetings. That said in each of those four meetings the Dark Knights were the underdog.
What’s next for these two teams?
For these Midshipmen, the 2018 NCAA Football schedule is over after failing to secure enough wins to land an appearance in a bowl matchup. The Black Knights will head to Fort Worth on December 22nd to take on the Houston Cougars in the Armed Forces Bowl.