Apparently Reade Brower is serious about defending his “Pigskin Pundits” championship crown, but he must keep in mind, it is early, about 95 yards from the end zone of the conclusion of the season, so if Brower wants his title back in his pocket he will need to work for it.

Reade Brower

Brower had a strong Week 2 in his National Football League game picks, while newcomer Jim Leonard also was solid and Ken Waltz and Mark Haskell, as well as the guest, not so much.

With Week 3 gridiron battles on the horizon, it is time to look back at where everyone stands.

In Week 2, Brower finished 12-4, Leonard 10-6 and Haskell and Waltz 9-7. The guest, Rachel Coor of Damariscotta, finished 7-9.

After two weeks, Brower is 19-12-1 (.613 winning percentage), Leonard 18-13-1 (.581) and Haskell and Waltz 17-14-1 (.548). The guests are 13-18-1 (.419).

For the guests, Sam Adolphsen of Hope finished 6-9-1 in Week 1 and Rachel Coor of Damariscotta 7-9 in Week 2.

The Week 3 guest is Zach Smith of Belfast.

Thus far, Brower has the best weekly record at 12-4 in Week 2.

The MaineStay Media/VillageSoup “Pigskin Pundits” include Brower (company owner), Waltz (sports director), Haskell (associate sports director) and Leonard (The Republican Journal reporter).

Those four, along with a different weekly guest, will pick the outcome of games.

Ken Waltz

The NFL games got under way on Sept. 8 and, after 18 weeks (17 games) of the regular season, which includes a bye week for all teams, and a few weeks of playoff battles, it will be time for Super Bowl LVII on Feb. 12, 2023 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Az.

As the dog days of summer quickly transition into the brisk days of fall, the start of the regular season is upon us as 32 teams gear up for a run at the coveted Vince Lombardi Trophy.

And, on a Midcoast level, sportswriters and sports aficionados look to prove their mental mettle for bragging rights.

For the 24th year, the MaineStay Media/VillageSoup sports staff ushers in its “Pigskin Pundits” weekly NFL game selections, where readers/fans test their football wits against the “pros.”

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 prognosticators and weekly guest go head-to-head when they pick the winners — no scores or points spreads involved — of that week’s slate of games.

After 18 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 one of MaineStay Media/VillageSoup newspapers or one of the organization’s websites.

Mark Haskell

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

The games for Week 3 include:

Sept. 22

Pittsburgh at Cleveland

Sept. 25

Houston at Chicago

Las Vegas at Tennessee

Kansas City at Indianapolis

Buffalo at Miami

Detroit at Minnesota

Baltimore at New England

Cincinnati at New York Jets

Jim Leonard

Philadelphia at Washington

New Orleans at Carolina

Jacksonville at Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams at Arizona

Atlanta at Seattle

Green Bay at Tampa Bay

San Francisco at Denver

Sept. 26

Dallas at New York Giants

The Week 3 picks for the “Pigskin Pundits” and guest include:

Brower — Cleveland, Chicago, Tennessee, Kansas City, Buffalo, Minnesota, New England, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Carolina, Los Angeles Chargers, Arizona, Seattle, Tampa Bay, San Francisco and New York Giants.

Zach Smith

Waltz — Pittsburgh, Houston, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Buffalo, Minnesota, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Jacksonville, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle, Green Bay, San Francisco and New York Giants.

Haskell — Cleveland, Houston, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Buffalo, Minnesota, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Carolina, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, Atlanta, Tampa Bay, San Francisco and New York Giants.

Leonard — Pittsburgh, Chicago, Tennessee, Kansas City, Buffalo, Minnesota, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Carolina, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle, Tampa Bay, San Francisco and Dallas.

Smith — Pittsburgh, Houston, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Buffalo, Minnesota, New England, New York Jets, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Jacksonville, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle, Green Bay, San Francisco and Dallas.

History lesson

Last year’s top guest picker was Ryan Verrill of Warren, who finished 12-2 in Week 14, and earned the right to pick against Waltz, Haskell, Brower and Miller in the postseason.

In the playoffs, Haskell and Miller finished 9-4, Waltz 8-5, Brower 7-6 and Verrill 6-7, as Haskell, Waltz and Miller correctly picked the Los Angeles Rams to defeat the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI.

Overall in 2021-22, Brower finished 188-96-1 (.662); Haskell, 184-100-1 (.648); Waltz, 180-104-1 (.634); Zack Miller, 176-108-1 (620); and guests, 176-108-1 (620).

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