It has come to this. Two teams. One game for all the marbles. To hoist the coveted and cherished Lombardi Trophy.

So, who you got? The Los Angeles Rams or Cincinnati Bengals?

Did anyone predict this matchup for the final game of the 2021-22 National Football League season? Well, maybe the Rams, but certainly not the Bengals.

In any case, on Sunday, Feb. 13 at 6:30 p.m. at SoFi Stadium, the Rams, playing in their home stadium, and Bengals will clash in Super Bowl LVI in Inglewood, Calif.

Who will the “Pigskin Pundits” and their postseason guest pick to win? Unlike the regular season and earlier in the playoffs, when the prognosticators only selected the winning team, in the Super Bowl, they will pick a winner,  final score and summary for their selection (see below).

The “Pigskin Pundits” include Reade Brower, Ken Waltz, Mark Haskell and Zack Miller of MaineStay Media/VillageSoup, along with guest Ryan Verrill.

In the first week of the playoffs, Waltz finished 5-1 during the Super Wild Card Weekend, while Brower, Haskell and Zack Miller, among the pundits, and guest Verrill, ended 4-2. In the second week of the postseason, Haskell and Brower finished 3-1, Miller 2-2 and Verrill and Waltz 1-3. In the conference championships, Miller finished 2-0, Waltz, Haskell and Verrill 1-1 and Brower 0-2.

Thus, in the playoffs, Haskell and Miller are 8-4, Brower and Waltz 7-5 and Verrill 6-6.

Overall in 2021-22, Brower is 188-95-1 (.664 winning percentage); Haskell, 183-100-1 (.647); Waltz, 179-104-1 (.633); Zack Miller, 175-108-1 (618); and guests, 176-107-1 (.622).

Now more fun is on the horizon as the playoffs are down to the final two teams as history stands in front of them.

Eighteen weeks (17 games) of regular-season games and three of four weeks of playoffs are in the books. From September through January, and despite plenty of injuries, ups and downs and COVID-19-related issues for teams, the regular campaign put 272 games — and now the first 12 postseason games — in the books.

Brower, who played an impressive .670 ball during the regular season to finish as champion, will see if he can stay on top of his game and field during the postseason and through Super Bowl.

Brower stared down challengers and, in reality, was never truly tested down the stretch.

Verrill of Warren emerged as the best guest picker at 12-2 in Week 14. Scott Cournoyer of Swanville held that distinction 10 weeks before being overtaken by Verrill.

Thus, Verrill has predicted the win/loss outcomes of games against the “Pigskin Pundits” through the playoffs and Super Bowl.

Through 18 weeks of the regular season, Brower finished 181-90-1 (.668 winning percentage); Haskell, 175-96-1 (.645); Waltz, 172-99-1 (.635); and Miller, 167-104-1 (.616). The guests finished 170-101-1 (.627).

Waltz was the top weekly picker among the “Pigskin Pundits” at 14-2 in Week 17, as he edged Brower’s 13-2 mark in Week 8.

The “Pigskin Pundits’ ” and guest’s Super Bowl predictions include:

Brower — Bengals 30, Rams 27: Joe Namath (I mean Burrows – I guess I am showing my age – I was a 12-year-old impressionable kid when the Jets did the impossible taking down the Colts, even with the return of quarterback great Johnny Unitas entering the game late in the third quarter to stage a comeback that would fall short) will provide the spark to bring the Cincinnati Bengals, like Namath did more than 50 years ago, to football’s version of mecca. Both Joes are confident, if not cocky, and both are believers in themselves. Burrows, if down on the scoreboard, will not get down emotionally on himself, and will keep playing until the final whistle, trusting his receivers to make plays. The “new” Joe has better knees and will zig and zag and make the necessary plays; he will be there when the game is on the line and a field goal will separate the cats from the sheep. This will be a back-and-forth contest and decided by the ability of the Bengals’ offensive line to hold the line of scrimmage. With time, Burrows hits his targets. If the sacks come at big times and add up, I reserve the right to a mea culpa.

Haskell — Rams 26, Bengals 21: The Bengals have been an unbelievable story. I am not exactly breaking news by saying no one outside of Cincinnati had any reasonable argument at the start of the playoffs for them advancing all the way to the Super Bowl. But, here they are. And I think everyone is fully aware “Who Dey” are now, as Joe Burrow seems to be emerging as one of the league’s top quarterbacks. But the Rams are seasoned and peaking at the right time. I think Jalen Ramsay will somewhat neutralize Ja’Marr Chase and the Von Miller trade was another big get for this defense. And the Bengals, as well as they have played, have not played a defense this good during the postseason. This team has been built to win now, and I think they do just that Sunday. But I think the secondary plot to this game afterwards will be Burrow’s big-game emergence as he will keep the Bengals in it until the final drive.

Waltz — Rams 38, Bengals 24: I so want the upstart Bengals to win. I so want to jump on their bandwagon. Ohio deserves its time in the sports spotlight. I want Joe Burrow and the Bengals to repeat what Tom Brady and the New England Patriots did to the St. Louis-version of the Rams in 2002. But, alas, I do not see it. Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase will be stars for years, but it is the Rams’ time. Los Angeles’ defensive front will pressure and sack Burrow many times and Matthew Stafford — with an abundance of help from talented Cooper Kupp, Odell Beckham Jr. and old-friend Sony Michel — want to prove his talent was wasted in Detroit and he has, in fact, been one of the best signal-callers in the league the past decade, Tom Brady, Aaron Rogers, etc. be damned. The Rams were my favorite team as a young boy — loved Roman Gabriele, Merlin Olsen, Deacon Jones, etc. and I even had a Rams’ helmet (my brother, Scott, had a Vikings’ helmet as we played one-on-one tackle football in the backyard) — so my firs football love is about to get a lot more sexy with a Super Bowl title.

Zack Miller — Rams 35, Bengals 21: Talk about two teams who were not “supposed” to be in the Super Bowl. Nobody pegged either of these two teams when the season began, and maybe when the playoffs started; at least Cincinnati. My heart is rooting for the Bengals in this one. For so long they could not win in the playoffs only to be led to a Super Bowl berth by a sophomore quarterback in Joe Burrow and dynamite rookie receiver Ja’Marr Chase — Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd are no slouches either. This may be their biggest challenge yet, though, against the Rams. Sure, Kansas City’s offense is dynamic, but the Chiefs defense was suspect all year. Los Angeles’ defense is better. Aaron Donald, Von Miller and Jalen Ramsey anchor that defense, and the Bengals’ offensive line, is, well, not good, to put it mildly. I think LA wreaks havoc on Joe Burrow in the pocket all game. Cincinnati will try to counter with Joe Mixon and the run game and short/screen passes to Giovani Bernard and their receivers, but I do not think it will matter much. LA’s offense has been good all season, and Cooper Kupp is the best wide receiver in the NFL this year, with Odell Beckham Jr. on the other side catching touchdowns every week. I hope I am wrong and Cincy brings the Lombardi Trophy back to Ohio, but my head says the Rams win this one easily.

Verrill — Bengals 30, Rams 27: I am choosing the Cincinnati Bengals because they have a young and hungry team. They have played very well all season. Led by Joe Burrow and, most likely rookie of the year, Ja’Marr Chase, they are clicking as a team where Los Angeles is full of very talented individual players.

This fall, the guests’ records, with name, town, record and week listed, included: Howard Fogg Jr., Monmouth, 8-8 in Week 1; Troy Smith, Waldoboro, 11-5 in Week 2; Scott Cournoyer, Swanville, 12-4 in Week 3; Bradley Strong, Rockland, 10-6 in Week 4; Mike Curtis, Thomaston, 10-6 in Week 5; Jason Karam, Warren, 10-4 in Week 6; and Meagan Miller, Warren, 8-5 in Week 7; David Page, Winslow, 10-5 in Week 8; Mike Fuller, Islesboro, 4-10 in Week 9; Kristin Falla, Tenants Harbor, 7-6-1 in Week 10; Garrett French, Warren, 10-5 in Week 11; Donald Prescott, Rockland, 8-7 in Week 12; Joshua Toothacker, Stockton Springs, 10-4 in Week 13; Ryan Verrill, Warren, 12-2 in Week 14; Jeff Hart, Camden Hills, 9-7 in Week 15; Jared Porter, Thomaston, 9-7 in Week 16; Casey Holmes, Dixmont, 11-5 in Week 17; and Rachel Coor, Warren, 11-5 in Week 18.

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

Each year during the pro football season, Waltz (sports director), Haskell (associate sports director), Zack Miller (community editor, former sports reporter), 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.

During the regular season, readers/fans are invited to test their football wits against the “pros.”

Those interested in being a weekly guest emailed Haskell at

For decades, the weekly picks were featured in MaineStay Media newspapers The Courier-Gazette, Camden Herald and The Republican Journal. Now, those picks are made exclusively on the organization’s websites — and — and appear most Thursdays.

For nearly a quarter century, the media foursome and guests have returned 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 return to pick against Waltz, Haskell, Miller and Brower for the playoffs and Super Bowl. The guest with the best weekly record — this year, Verrill — also will receive a year’s subscription to one of the MaineStay Media/VillageSoup newspapers or one of the organization’s websites.

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 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.

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