Funny how one week of National Football League game outcomes can alter the fortunes, even slightly, of those who try to accurately guess which team will win.

Such was the case in Week 8 for the “Pigskin Pundits,” who often try in vain to predict the results of games that always, for one reason or another, seem to end up different than the “experts” predict.

Reade Brower

Things got tighter and more interesting after the Week 8 games, an outcome which will make the contests going forward more fun as the “pundits” and their guest jockey for position and the coveted top spot when the final touchdowns are scored.

As everyone knows, a lot can change from week to week when it comes to who wins and loses. It is called the ups and downs, peaks and valleys and the ever-changing nuances of the sport.

One week a team is the greatest since sliced bread. The next, that same squad is on the scrap of historically bad teams who have so far to go to reach the top. And respectability.

As the pundits and their weekly guests continue to realize, predicting the outcome of games is harder than it looks — and always a hit-or-miss proposition.

Will it be more of the same in Week 9, or will there be a dramatic shakeup? Well, it depends on one’s perspective and what the football gods have in mind.

As they say in the unpredictable world of weekly football game picking, we shall see. The proof will be in the proverbial pudding.

The MaineStay Media/VillageSoup “Pigskin Pundits” include Reade Brower (company owner), Ken Waltz (sports editor), Mark Haskell (associate sports editor) and Leonard (Republican Journal reporter).

Those four, along with a different weekly guest, pick the outcome of games.

In Week 8, Waltz and Leonard finished 10-5, while Brower was 9-6 and Haskell 8-7. Guest Sam Bickford finished 9-6.

Ken Waltz

Eight weeks into another crazy NFL campaign, Haskell remains in first place at 76-46-1 (.623 winning percentage), while Brower is 74-48-1 (.607), Waltz 71-51-1 (.582), Leonard 70-52-1 (.574) and guests 67-55-1 (.549). Thus, Haskell leads Brower by two games, Waltz five, Leonard six and guests nine.

This season for the guests, Sam Adolphsen of Hope finished 6-9-1 in Week 1, Rachel Coor of Damariscotta 7-9 in Week 2, Zach Smith of Belfast 6-10 in Week 3, Dan Falla of Tenants Harbor 10-6 in Week 4, Quinn Commeau of Rockland 11-5 in Week 5 Chris Audet of Searsport 8-6 in Week 6, Casey Holmes of Dixmont 9-5 in Week 7 and Sam Bickford of Vinalhaven 9-6 in Week 8.

The Week 9 guest is Ethan Abbott of Belmont.

Thus far, Brower and Haskell have the best weekly records among the “pundits” at 13-3 in Week 4 when total number of wins are tabulated, or Haskell at 12-2 in Week 7 (.857) if winning percentage is the criteria. Commeau, a 12-year-old seventh-grader, has the top mark among guests at 11-5 in Week 5.

The NFL games got under way on Sept. 8 and, after 18 weeks (17 games) of the regular season, which includes a bye week for all teams, and a few weeks of playoff battles, it will be time for Super Bowl LVII on Feb. 12, 2023 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Az.

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

And, on a Midcoast level, sportswriters and sports aficionados look to prove their mental mettle for bragging rights.

Mark Haskell

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

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.

The prognosticators and 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, 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 MaineStay Media/VillageSoup newspapers or one of the organization’s websites.

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

The games for Week 9 include:

Nov. 3

Philadelphia at Houston

Nov. 6

Los Angeles Chargers at Atlanta

Miami at Chicago

Carolina at Cincinnati

Green Bay at Detroit

Jim Leonard

Indianapolis at New England

Buffalo at New York Jets

Minnesota at Washington

Las Vegas at Jacksonville

Seattle at Arizona

Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay

Tennessee at Kansas City

Nov. 7

Baltimore at New Orleans

The Week 9 picks for the “Pigskin Pundits” and guest include:

Brower — Philadelphia, Los Angeles Chargers, Miami, Cincinnati, Green Bay, New England, Buffalo, Minnesota, Jacksonville, Arizona, Tampa Bay, Kansas City and Baltimore.

Waltz — Philadelphia, Los Angeles Chargers, Miami, Cincinnati, Green Bay, New England, Buffalo, Minnesota, Las Vegas, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Kansas City and Baltimore.

Haskell — Philadelphia, Los Angeles Chargers, Miami, Cincinnati, Detroit, New England, Buffalo, Minnesota, Las Vegas, Seattle, Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City and Baltimore.

Ethan Abbott

Leonard — Philadelphia, Los Angeles Chargers, Miami, Cincinnati, Green Bay, New England, Buffalo, Minnesota, Jacksonville, Seattle, Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City and Baltimore.

Abbott — Philadelphia, Los Angeles Chargers, Miami, Cincinnati, Green Bay, New England, Buffalo, Minnesota, Las Vegas, Arizona, Tampa Bay, Kansas City and Baltimore.

History lesson

Last year’s top guest picker was Ryan Verrill of Warren, who finished 12-2 in Week 14, and earned the right to pick against Waltz, Haskell, Brower and former picker Zack 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 defeat the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI.

Overall in 2021-22, Brower finished 188-96-1 (.662); Haskell, 184-100-1 (.648); Waltz, 180-104-1 (.634); Zack Miller, 176-108-1 (620); and guests, 176-108-1 (620).

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