This game is a tale of two programs headed in opposite directions.
Navy comes into the 119th meeting in the midst of a downward spiral. The Midshipmen are just 3-9 on the season and have lost 7 of their last 8 games. Navy's woes go back to the second half of the 2017 season when they went 2-6 after a 5-0 start. In fact, the Middies have now dropped 15 of their last 20 games. They are guaranteed to have their first losing season since 2011.
Army, on the other hand, is 9-2 and looking for its 3rd straight win over Navy. Beyond that, the bigger picture is an upcoming 3rd straight bowl game for the first time in history, and a chance for its first-ever 11-win season.
Odds for Saturday's game opened in favor of Army by 6-1/2, and the Congrove Computer Rankings at CollegeFootballPoll.com favor the Black Knights by 10.51. Last year, Navy was the Vegas choice by 3-1/2 while the computer had Army by 2.66. Army won 14-13.
The contest, slated for 3:00 p.m. ET on CBS, will mark the 88th time it's been played in Philadelphia. Last year was Army's first win in Philly since 2001, and its first ever at Lincoln Financial Field (1-10).
Of course, for these two squads, the major prize is possession of the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy. The Black Knights control the hardware for the first time since 1996.
Regardless of their difference in records, both teams rank among among the best in moving the football on the ground. Army ranks 2nd at 303 yards per game, and Navy ranks 3rd at 288.92 per contest.
Throw the ball? Nope. Almost never. These teams rank at the very bottom in passing offense. The Black Knights attempted just 85 throws all year while the Midshipmen threw a whopping 111 passes.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the key to this game will be rushing defense and Army has the distinct advantage in that statistical category. Jeff Monken's troops rank 12th nationally after allowing an average of 106.45 yards and giving up only 10 rushing touchdowns. Ken Niumatalolo's group ranks 90th after surrendering 189 yards per game and 31 rushing scores.