The National Football League wanted parity and has gotten it — in spades.

Well, except for those pesky, high-flying, unbeaten Philadelphia Eagles.

Reade Brower

That parity, to a point, has trickled down to the “Pigskin Pundits,” who mostly have had difficulty, at least consistently, getting a grasp on which team might win weekly gridiron battles.

That being said, the cream, namely, defending champion Reade Brower, has risen to the top and remains there after another week when none of the “pundits,” or their guest, lit the world on fire with their selections.

Only a maximum of eight wins in another unpredictable week kept the “pundits” and guests within shouting distance of one another, as Brower continues to lead Mark Haskell by one game.

As we know, a lot can change from week to week when it comes to who wins and loses. It is called the ups and downs, peaks and valleys and the ever-changing nuances of the sport.

One week a team is the greatest since sliced bread. The next, that same squad is on the scrap of historically bad teams who have so far to go to reach the top. And respectability.

As the pundits and their weekly guests continue to realize, predicting the outcome of games is harder than it looks — and always a hit-or-miss proposition.

Will it be more of the same in Week 7, or will there be a dramatic shakeup? Well, it depends on one’s perspective and what the football gods have in mind.

As they say in the unpredictable world of weekly football game picking, we shall see. The proof will be in the proverbial pudding.

Ken Waltz

In Week 6, Brower and Haskell finished 8-6, while Ken Waltz and Jim Leonard broke event at 7-7. Guest Chris Audet of Searsport also was 8-6.

Six weeks into an already crazy NFL campaign, Brower is first at 57-36-1 (.613 winning percentage), Haskell 56-37-1 (.602), Waltz 52-41-1 (.559), Leonard 51-42-1 (.548) and guests 48-45-1 (.516). Thus, Brower leads Haskell by one game, Waltz by five, Leonard by six and guests by nine.

This season for the guests, Sam Adolphsen of Hope finished 6-9-1 in Week 1, Rachel Coor of Damariscotta 7-9 in Week 2, Zach Smith of Belfast 6-10 in Week 3, Dan Falla of Tenants Harbor 10-6 in Week 4, Quinn Commeau of Rockland 11-5 in Week 5 and Chris Audet of Searsport 8-6 in Week 6.

The Week 7 guest is Casey Holmes of Dixmont.

Thus far, Brower and Haskell have the best weekly records among the “pundits” at 13-3 in Week 4, while Commeau, a 12-year-old seventh-grader, has the top mark among guests at 11-5 in Week 5.

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.

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.

Mark Haskell

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.

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

The games for Week 7 include:

Oct. 20

New Orleans at Arizona

Oct. 23

Atlanta at Cincinnati

Detroit at Dallas

Jim Leonard

Indianapolis at Tennessee

Green Bay at Washington

Tampa Bay at Carolina

New York Giants at Jacksonville

Cleveland at Baltimore

New York Jets at Denver

Houston at Las Vegas

Seattle at Los Angeles Chargers

Kansas City at San Francisco

Pittsburgh at Miami

Oct. 24

Chicago at New England

The Week 7 picks for the “Pigskin Pundits” and guest include:

Brower — Arizona, Cincinnati, Dallas, Tennessee, Green Bay, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, Baltimore, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles Chargers, Kansas City, Miami and New England.

Casey Holmes

Waltz — Arizona, Cincinnati, Dallas, Indianapolis, Green Bay, Tampa Bay, New York Giants, Baltimore, New York Jets, Las Vegas, Los Angeles Chargers, Kansas City, Miami and New England.

Haskell — Arizona, Cincinnati, Dallas, Tennessee, Washington, Tampa Bay, New York Giants, Baltimore, New York Jets, Las Vegas, Seattle, Kansas City, Miami and New England.

Leonard — New Orleans, Cincinnati, Dallas, Tennessee, Green Bay, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, Baltimore, Denver, Las Vegas, Seattle, Kansas City, Miami and New England.

Holmes — Arizona, Cincinnati, Dallas, Tennessee, Green Bay, Tampa Bay, New York Giants, Baltimore, New York Jets, Las Vegas, Los Angeles Chargers, Kansas City, Pittsburgh and New England.

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.