In football terms, it was not a touchdown of a Week 4, but the offensive and defensive lines held their own in the trenches and most were able to move the ball — a little.

As the expression goes, it was a so-so week of selecting the winners of the always-unpredictable National Football League games.

However, the “Pigskin Pundits” and their guest did their best — and one person (shhh… Reade Brower) nearly picked the upset of the millennium.

Reade Brower

OK. That is a little strong, but the New England Patriots, with a rookie quarterback, came within less than a foot — and missed field goal — of potentially upending Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

A field goal from 50-plus yards in the pouring rain that hit the left upright and missed being good by a few inches was the name of the game in Week 4.

Now it is time to see how the four media prognosticators and their guest fare in Week 5.

The fourth week of the “Pigskin Pundits” saw Mark Haskell, Ken Waltz and Zack Miller finish 10-6 and Reade Brower 9-7. Bradley Strong of Rockland, the guest, also finished 10-6.

Thus, through four weeks, Waltz and Haskell are 42-22 (.656 winning percentage), Brower 40-24 (.625) and Miller 35-29 (.547). The guests are 41-23 (.641).

The Week 5 guest is Mike Curtis of Thomaston.

Thus far, Waltz had the most productive week among the “Pigskin Pundits” at 13-3 in Week 3, while Scott Cournoyer of Swanville has been the best guest picker at 12-4, also in Week 3.

The guests thus far have been: Howard Fogg Jr. of Monmouth, 8-8 in Week 1; Troy Smith of Waldoboro, 11-5 in Week 2; Scott Cournoyer of Swanville, 12-4 in Week 3; and Bradley Strong of Rockland, 10-6 in Week 4.

The “Pigskin Pundits” of MaineStay Media/VillageSoup are in their 23rd consecutive year as they make weekly game selections, with a guest each week.

Ken Waltz

Each year during the pro football season, Waltz (sports director), Haskell (associate sports director), Miller (sports reporter), Brower (company owner) and a weekly guest go head-to-head to pick the winners (no scores or points spreads involved) of that week’s slate of games.

Readers/fans are invited to test their football wits against the “pros.”

Those interested in being a weekly guest can email Haskell at

For decades, the weekly picks were featured in Courier Publications’ newspapers The Courier-Gazette, Camden Herald and The Republican Journal. Now, those picks are made exclusively on the organization’s websites — and — and appear most Thursdays.

For nearly a quarter century, the media foursome and guests have returned for the harder-than-it-looks weekly guessing games.

After 18 weeks, with the regular season extended to 17 weeks and one bye week, the guest with the best weekly record will return to pick against Waltz, Haskell, Miller and Brower for the playoffs and Super Bowl. The guest with the best weekly record also will receive a year’s subscription to one of the MaineStay Media/VillageSoup newspapers or one of the organization’s websites.

The NFL’s Week 5 schedule includes:

Thursday, Oct. 7

Los Angeles Rams at Seattle

Sunday, Oct. 10

New York Jets at Atlanta

Green Bay at Cincinnati

Detroit at Minnesota

Denver at Pittsburgh

Mark Haskell

Miami at Tampa Bay

New Orleans at Washington

Philadelphia at Carolina

Tennessee at Jacksonville

New England at Houston

Chicago at Las Vegas

Cleveland at Los Angeles Chargers

New York Giants at Dallas

San Francisco at Arizona

Buffalo at Kansas City

Monday, Oct. 11

Indianapolis at Baltimore

The following are the Week 5 picks of the MaineStay Media/VillageSoup “Pigskin Pundits” and guest:

Brower — Seattle, Atlanta, Green Bay, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, New Orleans, Carolina, Tennessee, Houston, Las Vegas, Cleveland, Dallas, Arizona, Kansas City and Baltimore.

Waltz — Seattle, New York Jets, Green Bay, Minnesota, Denver, Tampa Bay, Washington, Carolina, Tennessee, New England, Las Vegas, Los Angeles Chargers, Dallas, Arizona, Buffalo and Baltimore.

Zack Miller

Haskell — Los Angeles Rams, Atlanta, Green Bay, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, New Orleans, Carolina, Tennessee, New England, Las Vegas, Los Angeles Chargers, Dallas, Arizona, Buffalo and Indianpolis.

Miller — Los Angeles Rams, Atlanta, Green Bay, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, New Orleans, Carolina, Tennessee, New England, Las Vegas, Los Angeles Chargers, Dallas, Arizona, Kansas City and Baltimore.

Curtis — Los Angeles Rams, New York Jets, Cincinnati, Minnesota, Denver, Tampa Bay, New Orleans, Carolina, Tennessee, New England, Las Vegas, Los Angeles Chargers, New York Giants, Arizona, Buffalo and Baltimore.

History lesson

Last year’s top guest picker was Howard Fogg Jr. of Monmouth. He earned a 13-3 record in Week 2 to earn the distinction. As the defending guest champion, he returns as the Week 1 guest in 2021.

After 17 weeks of the 2020-21 regular season, Brower finished 166-89-1 (.651 winning percentage), Waltz, 164-91-1 (.643); Haskell, 163-92-1 (.639); and Miller, 160-95-1 (.627). The guests finished 159-56-1 (.624).

Ultimately, after 256 gridiron clashes from September to January, that included one tie, Brower prevailed by two games over Waltz, three over Haskell and six over Miller, as well seven over the guests.

In the postseason, Haskell proved the top picker with a 10-3 record, while Waltz and Fogg finished 9-4; Miller, 8-5; and Brower, 6-7. Waltz, Miller and Fogg correctly picked the Buccaneers to win Super Bowl LV.

For the guests in 2020, in Week 1, Dave MacNeill of Warren finished 8-8; Week 2, Howard Fogg Jr. of Monmouth 13-3; Week 3, Rusty Worcester of Cushing 7-8-1; Week 4, Emily Cole of Waldoboro, 6-9; Week 5, Ryan Jackson of Warren, 10-4; Week 6, Richie Oliver of Jefferson, 9-5; Week 7, Casey Holmes of Dixmont, 9-5; Week 8, Matt Petrie of Wiscasset, 8-6; Week 9, Erik Benner of Friendship, 10-4; Week 10, Sandy Cameron of Belfast, 6-8; Week 11, Meagan Miller of Warren, 9-5; Week 12, Austin Haskell of Rockland, 11-5; Week 13, Lucas Brower of Rockland, 11-4; Week 14, Garrett French of Warren, 11-4; Week 15, Brad King of Camden, 10-6; Week 16, Sam Clement of Bennington, Vt. (originally from Lincolnville), 9-7; and Week 17, Laurie Cole of Rockland, 12-4.

Mike Curtis

For the media crew, Miller and Waltz finished tied with the best weekly records at 14-2 in Week 2, while, for the guests, Fogg earned the best weekly mark at 13-3 in Week 2, thus will pick against the media members in the playoffs.

In 2019-20, Waltz finished 165-90-1 (.647 winning percentage), Brower, 159-96-1 (.624); Haskell, 158-97-1 (.620); Miller, 155-100-1 (.608); and guests, 158-97-1 (.620).

Among the ‘Pigskin Pundits,’ Brower had the best weekly records at 14-1 in Week 8 and 13-2-1 in Week 1, while Brad King finished 12-3-1 in Week 1 for the best mark among the guests.

In the playoffs, Miller went 9-2, Waltz and Haskell 7-4, Brower 5-6 and King 3-8. Miller, Waltz, Haskell and Brower correctly picked the Kansas City Chiefs to beat the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV, with Haskell’s prediction of 33-23 the closest to the 31-20 final score.

Guest participants in 2019-20 were: Week 1, Brad King of Rockland, 12-3-1; in Week 2, Michele Scheffler of Jefferson, 8-8; in Week 3, Howard Fogg of Monmouth, 11-5; in Week 4, Ethan Butler of Appleton, 7-8; in Week 5, Scott Case of Belfast, 7-8; in Week 6, Emily Cole of Waldoboro, 9-5; in Week 7, Casey Holmes of Dixmont, 11-3; in Week 8, Jacob Light of Warren, 10-5; in Week 9, Chad Blake of Rockland, 6-8; Week 10, Brad Strong of Rockland, 4-9; Week 11, Otis Kneeland of Stockton Springs, 10-4; Week 12, Chris Hart of Rockport, 10-4; Week 13, Sandy Cameron of Belfast, 11-5; Week 14, Dagney Ernest of Thomaston, 10-6; Week 15, Lynsey Carr of Augusta, 11-5; Week 16, Connor Kneeland of Stockton Springs, 12-4; and Week 17, Laura MacDonald, 10-6.

In 2018-19, Waltz was the “top dog” in the regular season as he finished 161-93-2 (.634 winning percentage), thanks to a 16-0 final week, while Miller was second at 157-97-2 (.618), Haskell third at 151-103-2 (.594) and Brower fourth at 142-112-2 (.559). The guests finished 148-106-2 (.583).

Overall, Waltz finished 167-98-2, Miller 162-103-2, Haskell 158-107-2, Brower 150-115-2 and guests 159-110-2.

Brad King of Rockland, who went 11-4 in Week 12 and earned the right to pick against Waltz, Haskell, Miller and Brower in the playoffs.

In the postseason, Brower finished 8-3, Haskell and King 7-4, Waltz 6-5 and Miller 5-6. All five correctly picked the Patriots to defeat the Rams in Super Bowl LIII.

MaineStay Media/VillageSoup sports staff can be reached by email at