Are you ready for some football?

As the dog days of summer quickly transition into the brisk days of fall, the start of the National Football League regular season is nearly upon us as 32 teams gear up for a run at the coveted Vince Lombardi Trophy.

And, on a local level, sportswriters and sport aficionados prepare to prove their mental mettle for bragging rights.

For the 24th straight year, the MaineStay Media/VillageSoup sports staff ushers in its annual “Pigskin Pundits” weekly NFL game selections, where readers/fans can test their football wits against the “professionals.”

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 — knox.villagesoup.com and waldo.villagesoup.com.

Each year during the pro football season, Ken Waltz (sports director), Mark Haskell (associate sports director), Zack Miller (former sports reporter and now Camden Herald managing editor), Reade Brower (company owner) and a weekly guest go head-to-head when they pick the winners — no scores or points spreads involved — of that week’s slate of games.

After 18 weeks, with the regular season extended last year 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 Courier Publications’ newspapers or one of the organization’s websites.

Last year’s top picker was Ryan Verrill of Warren, who finished 12-2 in Week 14, and earned the right to pick against Waltz, Haskell, Brower and Miller in the postseason.

In the playoffs, Haskell and Miller finished 9-4, Waltz 8-5, Brower 7-6 and Verrill 6-7, as Haskell, Waltz and Miller correctly picked the Los Angeles Rams to beat the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI.

Overall in 2021-22, Brower finished 188-96-1; Haskell, 184-100-1; Waltz, 180-104-1; Zack Miller, 176-108-1; and guests, 176-108-1.

Those interested in being a weekly guest picker should email Haskell at mhaskell@villagesoup.com.

MaineStay Media/VillageSoup sports staff can be reached by email at sports@villagesoup.com.