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WEEK FOURTEEN WEEKEND CRYSTAL BALL
Army-Navy is a day to be remembered
My friends, THE GURU spent Saturday in Philadelphia with THE TRE MAN and several close friends in tow, traveling to the 123rd Army-Navy Game. It was a great experience and, truly, all college football should be.
From the time we arrived in parking lot M, heavily armed with stromboli and tomato pie from the inimitable Cacia’s Bakery in South Philly, the experience was on target, beginning with the hospitality. Army and Navy folks are some of the best our nation has to offer and, naturally, they’re passionate about their schools, their classmates, and their tailgates.
As for the game on the field, it was probably tough to watch if you are a fan looking for offensive fireworks. The teams combined - yes, combined - for 53 yards passing and converted 27% of their third- and fourth-down chances. Navy fumbled the ball on the Army goal line. Army completed two of its 12 pass attempts.
Though the offenses were subpar, the defenses came to play, flying around the field and hitting anything that moved. The only person who showed more vigor than the defenders was Tre, who repeatedly hit the concession stand, yelling “Cheesesteak!” so loud and often that people thought he was selling them.
I’m a buyer of the Army-Navy rivalry and all that it represents: duty, sacrifice, honor. I believe it belongs at the top of the sport, alongside Alabama-Auburn, Michigan-Ohio State, Lehigh-Lafayette, and a few others. If you want blood, sweat and tears, you’re gonna get it at this game.
In the end, Army kicked a field goal to win in overtime, the first extra period in this great tradition. Still making history in the 123rd game. Amazing. And, though it was a win for West Point, the day was a win for all involved.
Victory was not in the cards for yours truly on Thursday night as Baker Mayfield and the Rams took down Vegas, dropping my season mark to 117-78 (.600). Hey, if it helps Baker’s career and moves the needle at Progressive Insurance, I can live with a defeat every once in a while.
Among the six teams that won’t lose this week are my beloved Commanders (7-4-1), who are enjoying the bye. They are joined by a quintet likely to miss the playoffs: Atlanta (5-8), Chicago (3-10), Green Bay (5-8), Indy (4-8-1) and New Orleans (4-9). I’ve visited all of those cities and, if you’re looking for food recommendations in each, just give me a shout.
Here is this weekend’s full game menu, including TV listings and broadcaster pairings; team standings; team and individual statistics; and the updated injury report. Time to make some picks.
At 1 pm, take Minnesota (10-2) at Dee-troit (5-7). The Vikings get less respect than the cucumbers THE FAIR CLAUDINE puts in Tre’s school lunch, but they are every bit as refreshing. Honey, our boy respectively requests a little Ranch dressing, if possible…
…Philadelphia (11-1) lays the wood to the host Giants (7-4-1), Dallas (9-3) routs visiting Houston (1-10-1) and Cincinnati (8-4), playing at home, gives Joe Burrow his first win over Cleveland (5-7)…
…Pittsburgh (5-7) beats Baltimore (8-4) in the Steel City, Buffalo (9-3) tops the Jets (7-5) in upstate New York and Tennessee (7-5) bounces back from last week’s loss in Philly with a victory over visiting Jacksonville (4-8). This Jaguars outfit is lots of fun to watch though, isn’t it?…
…In the 4 pm window, I’m picking Kansas City (9-3) to hammer host Denver (3-9), San Fran (8-4) to beat the Bucs (6-6) in Brady’s return to his hometown and Seattle (7-5) to topple the scrappy Carolina Panthers (4-8) in the upper Northwest…
…this evening, I’ll roll with Miami (8-4), on the road, against the hard-to-figure-out LA Chargers (6-6), and, tomorrow, I love New England (6-6) to knock Arizona (4-8) around in the desert.
That’s all for this week, folks. Enjoy the games and God bless!