Football bragging rights

'Pigskin Pundits' back for first week of NFL picks

Courier Publications/VillageSoup crew, guests ready for action in 21st year
By Staff | Sep 05, 2019
Artwork by: Christine Dunkle

Rockland — This is the first week of the 2019-20 National Football League season and the weekly game picks from the Courier Publications/VillageSoup prognosticators and guests are now in their 21st year of gridiron guessing — surely with plenty of right and wrong choices to come in the next five months.

Those who participate — referred to as the "Pigskin Pundits" — are Reade Brower, owner; Ken Waltz, sports director; Mark Haskell, associate sports director; and Zack Miller, sports reporter. A guest also participates each week.

For decades, the weekly picks were featured in the print editions of Courier Publications’ newspapers, The Courier-Gazette, The 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 Thursday online.

Each year during the NFL season, through the Super Bowl, Brower, Waltz, Haskell, Miller and a weekly guest go head-to-head against one another by picking that week’s slate of pro football games.

As the weekly guest winner a year ago, Brad King of Rockland is the guest picker in Week 1.

The game “winners” are not selected by a points spread, but merely the final score.

After 17 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 any of Courier Publications' newspapers or either of the organization's websites.

Last year’s guest winner was 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.

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

So, who do you like in Week 1? Here is what our "experts" and guest think:

The Week 1 schedule includes:

Thursday, Sept. 5

Green Bay at Chicago

Sunday, Sept. 8

Tennessee at Cleveland

Baltimore at Miami

Atlanta at Minnesota

Buffalo at N.Y. Jets

Washington at Philadelphia

Los Angeles Rams at Carolina

Kansas City at Jacksonville

Indianapolis at Los Angeles Chargers

Cincinnati at Seattle

N.Y. Giants at Dallas

Detroit at Arizona

San Francisco at Tampa Bay

Pittsburgh at New England

Monday, Sept. 9

Houston at New Orleans

Denver at Oakland

The following are the Week 1 picks of the Courier Publications/VillageSoup crew and the weekly guest:

Brower — Green Bay, Cleveland, Baltimore, Minnesota, Buffalo, Philadelphia, Carolina, Kansas City, Los Angeles Chargers, Seatte, Dallas, Detroit, San Francisco, New England, New Orleans and Oakland.

Waltz — Chicago, Cleveland, Baltimore, Minnesota, N.Y. Jets, Philadelphia, Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City, Los Angeles Chargers, Seattle, Dallas, Detroit, San Francisco, New England, New Orleans and Denver.

Haskell — Chicago, Cleveland, Baltimore, Atlanta, N.Y. Jets, Philadelphia, Los Angles Rams, Kansas City, Los Angeles Chargers, Seattle, Dallas, Detroit, Tampa Bay, New England, New Orleans and Denver.

Miller — Chicago, Cleveland, Baltimore, Atlanta, N.Y. Jets, Philadelphia, Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City, Los Angeles Chargers, Seattle, Dallas, Detroit, San Francisco, New England, New Orleans and Oakland.

King — Chicago, Cleveland, Baltimore, Minnesota, Buffalo, Philadelphia, Los Angeles Rams, Jacksonville, Los Angeles Chargers, Cincinnati, Dallas, Arizona, San Francisco, New England Patriots, New Orleans and Oakland.

History lesson

Last season, Waltz was the “top dog” in the regular season as he finished 161-93-2 (.634 winning percentage), 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.

Last year’s weekly guest winner was 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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