Football bragging rights

'Pigskin Pundits' tackle second round of NFL playoffs

Brower, Haskell, King, Waltz 2-2, Miller 0-4 in first round of postseason picks
By Staff | Jan 10, 2019

Rockland — The 2018-19 National Football League regular season has ended and the weekly game picks from the Courier Publications/VillageSoup prognosticators and guests — which have resulted in a boatload of good and bad — are in the midst of postseason prognostications.

The league's Wild Card games were played on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 5-6, while the Divisional playoff clashes kick off on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 12-13.

Courier Publications/VillageSoup's Reade Brower, Ken Waltz, Mark Haskell and Zack Miller, along with guest Brad King of Rockland, will pick games through the Super Bowl.

In the first round of the playoffs, Brower, Waltz, Haskell and King finished 2-2 and Miller 0-4.

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).

King, who finished 11-4 in Week 12, turned out to be the best guest picker and, thus, joins 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 one of the organization's two websites.

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

So, who do you like in the Divisional games? Here is what our "experts" and guest think:

The second-round playoff schedule includes:

Saturday, Jan. 12

AFC: No. 6 Indianapolis Colts at No. 1 Kansas City Chiefs.

NFC: No. 4 Dallas Cowboys at No. 2 Los Angeles Rams.

Sunday, Jan. 13

AFC: No. 5 Los Angeles Chargers at No. 2 New England Patriots.

NFC: No. 6 Philadelphia Eagles at No. 1 New Orleans Saints.

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

Brower — Kansas City, Los Angeles Rams, New England and New Orleans.

Waltz — Indianapolis, Los Angeles Rams, New England and New Orleans.

Haskell — Indianapolis, Los Angeles Rams, New England and New Orleans.

Miller — Indianapolis, Los Angeles Rams, New England and New Orleans.

King — Kansas City, Dallas, New England and Philadelphia.

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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