Let us face it. The first week of the National Football League season is a crap shot. It is unpredictable. Who is good and who is bad? Who knows?

That is why the results of predicting the outcomes of games in the first week is a roll of the dice and, ultimately, does not mean much.

Well, for some. Others, well …

The ones who do well revel in their records for the week and one such person is Mark Haskell, who had the best first week, while the other “Pigskin Pundits” experienced up-and-down results.

Reade Brower

But all of that is in the past. It is Week 2 and the future is bright. So let us tackle the next wave of games.

The “Pigskin Pundits” of MaineStay Media/VillageSoup are in their 23rd consecutive year as they make their weekly game selections, with a new guest each week.

Each year during the pro football season, Ken Waltz (sports director), Mark Haskell (associate sports director), Zack Miller (sports reporter), Reade Brower (company owner) and a weekly guest go head-to-head to pick the winners (no scores or points spreads involved) of that week’s slate of games.

In Week 1 for 2021, Haskell finished 10-6, Brower and Waltz 9-7, guest 8-8 and Miller 6-10. The Week 1 guest was Howard Fogg Jr. of Monmouth, the 2020 guest champion.

The Week 2 guest is Troy Smith of Waldoboro.

Readers/fans are invited to test their football wits against the “professionals.”

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

Ken Waltz

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 — and appear most Thursdays.

The media foursome and guests return for the harder-than-it-looks weekly guessing games.

After 18 weeks, with the regular season extended to 17 weeks and one bye week, 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 the MaineStay Media/VillageSoup newspapers or one of the organization’s websites.

The Week 2 schedule includes:

Thursday, Sept. 16

New York Giants at Washington

Sunday, Sept. 19

Cincinnati at Chicago

Houston at Cleveland

Los Angeles Rams at Indianapolis

Mark Haskell

Buffalo at Miami

New England at New York Jets

San Francisco at Philadelphia

Las Vegas at Pittsburgh

New Orleans at Carolina

Denver at Jacksonville

Minnesota at Arizona

Atlanta at Tampa Bay

Dallas at Los Angeles Chargers

Tennessee at Seattle

Kansas City at Baltimore

Monday, Sept. 20

Detroit at Green Bay

Zack Miller

The following are the Week 2 picks of the MaineStay Media/VillageSoup “Pigskin Pundits” and guest:

Brower — N.Y. Giants, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles Rams, Buffalo, New England, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Denver, Arizona, Tampa Bay, Dallas, Seattle, Kansas City and Green Bay.

Waltz — Washington, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles Rams, Buffalo, New England, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Denver, Arizona, Tampa Bay, Los Angeles Chargers, Seattle, Kansas City and Green Bay.

Haskell — Washington, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Los Angeles Rams, Buffalo, New England, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Denver, Arizona, Tampa Bay, Dallas, Seattle, Kansas City and Green Bay.

Miller — New York Giants, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Los Angeles Rams, Buffalo, New England, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Denver, Arizona, Tampa Bay, Dallas, Seattle, Kansas City and Green Bay.

Smith — Washington, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Los Angeles Rams, Buffalo, New England, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Carolina, Denver, Arizona, Tampa Bay, Dallas, Seattle, Kansas City and Green Bay.

Troy Smith

History lesson

Last year’s top guest picker was Howard Fogg Jr. of Monmouth. He earned a 13-3 record in Week 2 to earn the distinction. As the defending guest champion, he returns as the Week 1 guest in 2021.

After 17 weeks of the 2020-21 regular season, Brower finished 166-89-1 (.651 winning percentage), Waltz, 164-91-1 (.643); Haskell, 163-92-1 (.639); and Miller, 160-95-1 (.627). The guests finished 159-56-1 (.624).

Ultimately, after 256 gridiron clashes from September to January, that included one tie, Brower prevailed by two games over Waltz, three over Haskell and six over Miller, as well seven over the guests.

In the postseason, Haskell proved the top picker with a 10-3 record, while Waltz and Fogg finished 9-4; Miller, 8-5; and Brower, 6-7. Waltz, Miller and Fogg correctly picked the Buccaneers to win Super Bowl LV.

For the guests in 2020, 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; Week 11, Meagan Miller of Warren, 9-5; Week 12, Austin Haskell of Rockland, 11-5; Week 13, Lucas Brower of Rockland, 11-4; Week 14, Garrett French of Warren, 11-4; Week 15, Brad King of Camden, 10-6; Week 16, Sam Clement of Bennington, Vt. (originally from Lincolnville), 9-7; and Week 17, Laurie Cole of Rockland, 12-4.

For the media crew, Miller and Waltz finished tied with the best weekly records at 14-2 in Week 2, while, for the guests, Fogg earned the best weekly mark at 13-3 in Week 2, thus will pick against the media members in the playoffs.

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 LIV, 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.

MaineStay Media/VillageSoup sports staff can be reached by email at sports@villagesoup.com.