For the first time since 1943, the annual Army-Navy Game is set to be played on the campus of one of the service academies. Army West Point will serve as the host for this year's rivalry game after the neutral site of Philadelphia was ruled out due to attendance regulations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. While fans may not be able to attend this week's game in Michie Stadium, the Cadets and Midshipmen will pack the stands, with appropriate social distancing measures in place, of course.
Navy is hoping to make up for a tough season with a victory over their rivals from Army. After a brief winning streak by Army in the series, Navy thumped Army last year to the tune of 31-7. It has been a tough season for Navy though, so expecting more of the same might be unwise. But in the storied history of this rivalry, it should be noted Navy is a perfect 3-0 all-time when the two teams play in Army's Michie Stadium. Can Navy make it 4-0, or will Army move one step closer to potentially claiming the Commander-In-Chief's Trophy?
Navy at Army
Kickoff: Saturday, Dec. 12 at 3 p.m. ET
Spread: Army -7
When Navy Has the Ball
Navy's offense has had struggles not typical for a team coached by Ken Niumatalolo. In their last two games played, Navy has scored just 13 combined points against Memphis and Tulsa. Navy had three weeks off going into that offensive drought, but the Midshipmen also managed just seven points earlier this year against Air Force and was steamrolled by BYU in their opener.
Navy will have to be careful protecting the football. Army's defense has scored three touchdowns this season. Defensive back Jabari Moore has been responsible for two of those defensive scores, with an interception and a fumble return for a touchdown this season. Army linebacker Jon Rhattigan has 93 interception return yards on two picks.
When Army Has the Ball
Army's rushing distribution is pretty even between quarterbacks Tuhier Tyler and Christian Anderson and running backs Jakobi Buchanan and Tyrell Robinson. But when down near the goal line, the ball is entrusted in the hands of Sandon Mayo, who leads the Black Knights with 10 rushing touchdowns this season.
Navy's defense ranks third in the American Athletic Conference (AAC) by allowing 410.3 yards per game this season, but the Midshipmen have allowed 32 points per game this fall as well.
The way things have gone this season, this year's Army-Navy game feels as though it is leaning Army's favor for a variety of reasons. But this rivalry tends to bring out a team's best even when things are not going well. That could bode well for Navy, especially in a game like this where much of the action takes place on the ground and the clock keeps moving. But Army has been far more consistent this season and that should pave the way to Army getting a chance to sing second.
Prediction: Army 26, Navy 17
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