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Football bragging rights

New leader for 'Pigskin Pundits,' but Week 11 could be minefield

Waltz takes one-game advantage over Miller, predictors within three games; another Miller comes aboard as guest
By Staff | Nov 19, 2020

While this certainly is not golf, there is a new leader in the clubhouse and it is a familiar name when it comes to successfully and consistently predicting the outcomes of National Football League games from week to week.

After better-than-most guesses for two of the four "Pigskin Pundits" in Week 10, there has been a shift at the top of the heap as Ken Waltz, the regular-season winner the past two years, has moved a game ahead of the pack.

Of course, all that could, and probably will, change in the fickle world that is predicting the outcomes of games.

Things continued tight for the four prognosticators as, after 147 field battles this season, only three games separate the quartet. The guests are eight games off the pace.

Now, it is Week 11 of the NFL regular season and the outcomes of the previous week's prognostications tightened the season's race to first place between the "Pigskin Pundits" and guests.

That group and their new guest will be back at the prediction game in the 22nd annual version of the "Pigskin Pundits."

After 17 weeks of the regular season — if the NFL can successfully navigate the seemingly never-ending waters churned by COVID-19 — will one from the media company's group or guest have bragging rights?

As usual, the Courier Publications/VillageSoup "Pigskin Pundits" include Reade Brower, owner; Ken Waltz, sports director; Mark Haskell, associate sports director; and Zack Miller, sports reporter.

The way it works is each week through the Super Bowl, a guest, along with the VillageSoup group, make predictions on the outcome of games. The outcomes are based on wins and loses, not a point spread.

In Week 10, Brower  and Waltz finished 10-4, Haskell 8-6 and Miller 7-7. Guest Sandy Cameron of Belfast ended 6-8.

The Week 11 guest is Meagan Miller of Warren.

After 10 weeks, Waltz has compiled a mark of 94-52-1 (.644 winning percentage), Zack Miller 93-53-1 (.637), Brower 92-54-1 (.630) and Haskell 91-55-1 (.623). The guests are 86-60-1 (.589).

For the guests, 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; and Week 10, Sandy Cameron of Belfast, 6-8.

For the Courier Publications/VillageSoup crew, Miller and Waltz have the best weekly records at 14-2 in Week 2, while, for the guests, Fogg has the best weekly mark at 13-3 in Week 2.

Waltz has been the regular-season winner the last two years, but others have risen to the top in the postseason.

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 picks appear each week online.

After 17 weeks of regular-season play, 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.

For the past two years, the guest winner has been Brad King of Camden, who has clearly proven the “king” of the guest pickers. Last year, he went 12-3-1 in Week 1 to earn the right to pick against Brower, Waltz, Haskell and Miller in the playoffs, while two years ago, King went 11-4 in Week 12 to earn the honors.

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

The 11th week of the 2020-21 schedule includes:

Thursday, Nov. 19

Arizona at Seattle

Sunday, Nov. 22

Pittsburgh at Jacksonville

Detroit at Carolina

New England at Houston

Tennessee at Baltimore

Philadelphia at Cleveland

Atlanta at New Orleans

Cincinnati at Washington

N.Y. Jets at Los Angeles Chargers

Miami at Denver

Dallas at Minnesota

Green Bay at Indianapolis

Kansas City at Las Vegas

Monday, Nov. 23

Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay

The following are the Week 11 picks of the Courier Publications/VillageSoup "Pigskin Pundit" crew and guest:

Brower — Seattle, Pittsburgh, Detroit, New England, Baltimore, Cleveland, New Orleans, Washington, Los Angeles Chargers, Denver, Minnesota, Green Bay, Kansas City and Tampa Bay.

Waltz — Arizona, Pittsburgh, Detroit, New England, Baltimore, Cleveland, New Orleans, Cincinnati, Los Angeles Chargers, Miami, Minnesota, Indianapolis, Kansas City and Tampa Bay.

Haskell — Arizona, Pittsburgh, Detroit, New England, Tennessee, Cleveland, New Orleans, Cincinnati, Los Angeles Chargers, Miami, Minnesota, Green Bay, Kansas City and Tampa Bay.

Zack Miller — Arizona, Cleveland, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, New England, Miami, Los Angeles Chargers, Green Bay, Minnesota, Kansas City and Tampa Bay.

Meagan Miller — Seattle, New England, Cleveland, Atlanta, Washington, Carolina, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Denver, N.Y. Jets, Indianapolis, Dallas, Kansas City and Tampa Bay.

History lesson

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 54, 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.

Courier Publications' sports staff can be reached by email at sports@villagesoup.com or by phone at 594-4401.

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