It has been said a child will lead them. Hopefully that is not true this time because the wife already embarrassed them.

One week after Meagan Miller, wife of Zack Miller, member of the "Pigskin Pundits," made four grown men cry and take a walk of shame — from one room to another in their homes because that is where they are stuck due to the pandemic — Austin, a third-grader at Thomaston Grammar School and 8-year-old son of Mark Haskell, another "Pigskin Pundit," is the Week 12 guest.

Apparently the young man studies the National Football League teams, games and knows his stuff and has been after dad to make the weekly picks. The "Pigskin Pundits" hope history does not repeat itself as another member of the family looks to make the "professionals" feel bad.

But it may happen as one prognosticator took the lead last week and promptly lost it, which means there is a tie atop the mountain between pickers, with the others, and guests, lurking.

Things continued tight for the four media prognosticators as, after 161 turf battles this season, only three games separate the quartet. The guests are five games off the pace.

Also, to find their inner child, since this week's guest picker is a child, "way back" photos of the "Pigskin Pundits" appear with this story. Check out the cool short hair (Ken's has not changed much) and the missing tooth. Priceless.

Now, it is Week 12 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."

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.

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?

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 11, Brower finished 8-6, Haskell and Waltz 6-8 and Zack Miller 4-10. Guest Meagan Miller of Warren finished 9-5.

The Week 12 guest is Austin Haskell of Rockland.

After 11 weeks, Brower and Waltz have compiled records of 100-60-1 (.625 winning percentage), while Zack Miller and Mark Haskell are 97-63-1 (.606). The guests are 95-65-1 (.594).

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; Week 10, Sandy Cameron of Belfast, 6-8; and Week 11, Meagan Miller of Warren, 9-5.

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 Mark Haskell at mhaskell@courierpublicationsllc.com.

The 12th week of the 2020-21 schedule includes:

Thursday, Nov. 26

Houston at Detroit

Washington at Dallas

Sunday, Nov. 29

Las Vegas at Atlanta

Los Angeles Chargers at Buffalo

N.Y. Giants at Cincinnati

Tennessee at Indianapolis

Carolina at Minnesota

Arizona at New England

Miami at N.Y. Jets

Cleveland at Jacksonville

New Orleans at Denver

San Francisco at Los Angeles Rams

Kansas City at Tampa Bay

Chicago at Green Bay

Monday, Nov. 30

Seattle at Philadelphia

Wednesday, Dec. 2

Baltimore at Pittsburgh (originally scheduled for Nov. 26)

The following are the Week 12 picks of the Courier Publications/VillageSoup "Pigskin Pundit" crew and guest:

Brower — Houston, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Las Vegas, Buffalo, N.Y. Giants, Tennessee, Minnesota, New England, N.Y. Jets, Cleveland, New Orleans, Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City, Green Bay and Seattle.

Waltz — Houston, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Las Vegas, Buffalo, N.Y. Giants, Indianapolis, Carolina, Arizona, Miami, Cleveland, Denver, Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City, Green Bay and Seattle.

Mark Haskell — Houston, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Las Vegas, Buffalo, N.Y. Giants, Indianapolis, Minnesota, Arizona, Miami, Cleveland, New Orleans, Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City, Green Bay and Seattle.

Miller — Houston, Washington, Pittsburgh, Las Vegas, Buffalo, N.Y. Giants, Tennessee, Minnesota, Arizona, Miami, Cleveland, New Orleans, Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City, Green Bay and Seattle.

Austin Haskell — Detroit, Washington, Pittsburgh, Las Vegas, Buffalo, N.Y. Giants, Indianapolis, Minnesota, Arizona, Miami, Cleveland, New Orleans, Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City, Green Bay and Seattle.

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.