Football bragging rights

'Pigskin Pundits' tackle NFL postseason picks

Guess what? Waltz holds off Miller for regular-season title, King season's best guest
By Staff | Jan 04, 2019
Artwork by: Christine Dunkle Make that postseason football.

Rockland — The 2018-19 National Football League regular season has ended and now the weekly game picks from the Courier Publications/VillageSoup prognosticators and guests — which have resulted in plenty of good and bad — gears up for postseason prognosticating.

The league's Wild Card weekend of playoff games kick off Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 5-6.

In Week 17, the finale of the regular season, Courier Publications/VillageSoup Owner Reade Brower and Sports Director Ken Waltz 12-4, Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell 11-5 and sports reporter Zack Miller 10-6. Guest Tim Matero of Rockland finished 10-6.

Thus, through 17 weeks of the regular season, Waltz made his late-season charge hold — thanks, in large part, to a perfect 16-0 Week 16 — and 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).

Brad King of Rockland, who finished 11-4 in Week 12, turned out to be the best guest picker and, thus, will join the Courier Publications/VillageSoup crew to select the postseason games.

For the guests, in Week 1, Howard Fogg of Monmouth finished 7-8-1; Week 2, Ethan Butler of Appleton, 9-6-1; Week 3, Richard Carlsen of Vinalhaven, 9-7; Week 4, Jason Karam of Warren, 8-7; Week 5, Sandy Cameron of Belfast, 9-6; Week 6, Scott Case of Belfast 8-7; Week 7, Dwight Collins of Lincolnville 10-4; Week 8, Bruce Turner of Orrington 9-5; Week 9, Ricky Bagnall of Rockland 9-4; Week 10, Kyle Donlin 7-7; Week 11, Laurie Cole of Rockland, 6-7; Week 12, Brad King of Rockland 11-4; Week 13, Marty Messer of Rockport, 7-9; Week 14, Josh Toothaker of Searsport, 11-5; Week 15, Rachel Coor of Phoenix, Az. and Union, 10-6; Week 16, Dan Falla of Tenants Harbor, 8-8; and Week 17, Tim Matero of Rockland, 10-6.

This is the 20th straight year the "Pigskin Pundits" make their weekly NFL game selections.

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 for the regular season (due to Thursday night games) and no later than Friday for the playoffs.

Each year during the NFL season, through the Super Bowl, Brower, Waltz, Haskell and a weekly guest went head-to-head against one another by picking that week’s slate of pro football games. This year, sports reporter Miller joins the group to try to earn football picking bragging rights.

The “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.

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

So, who do you like on Wild Card weekend? Here is what our "experts" and guest think:

The first-round playoff schedule include:

Saturday, Jan. 5

AFC: No. 6 Indianapolis Colts at No. 3 Houston Texans.

NFC: No. 5 Seattle Seahawks at No. 4 Dallas Cowboys.

Sunday, Jan. 6

AFC: No. 5 Los Angeles Chargers at No. 4 Baltimore Ravens.

NFC: No. 6 Philadelphia Eagles at No. 3 Chicago Bears.

The following are the first-round playoff picks of the Courier Publications/VillageSoup crew and the postseason guest:

Brower — Indianapolis, Seattle, Los Angeles Chargers and Chicago.

Waltz — Indianapolis, Seattle, Los Angeles Chargers and Chicago.

Haskell — Los Angeles Chargers, Houston, Seattle and Philadelphia.

Miller — Houston, Seattle, Baltimore and Chicago.

King — Houston, Los Angeles Chargers, Dallas and Chicago.

History lesson

Last season, Brower was the “top dog” as he finished with a 178-78 record (.695 winning percentage), while the weekly guests finished second at 169-87 (.660), Haskell third at 156-100 (.609) and Waltz fourth at 153-103 (.598).

As a guest picker last season in Week 8, Miller finished a perfect 13-0 and earned the right to pick against Waltz, Haskell and Brower in the playoffs, along with Sandy Cameron of Belfast and Mark Cooper of Fairfield, who finished with 13-3 records in Week 13 and Week 16, respectively.

As an employee in another Brower company, Miller was ineligible to collect the free year’s subscription, but picked playoff games along with Cameron and Cooper, who had the second-best guest marks.

Haskell, Miller and Cooper correctly picked the Philadelphia Eagles to defeat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII.

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

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