For Philadelphia, it has been, thus far, the perfect storm for sweet National Football League success and, while Mark Haskell has not been quite as perfect, some of those positive vibes certainly have rubbed off on the Eagles’ most dedicated and ardent fan.

Haskell continues to play (pick) consistently well each week and, after a tremendous Week 7 with only two losses, has catapulted into the top spot among the “Pigskin Pundits” and their guests.

Reade Brower

The question is, can Haskell, and his beloved Eagles, maintain their momentum against the competition?

As a longstanding and sometimes suffering Philly fan, Haskell likes to say he is perpetually nervous, always waiting for the next shoe to drop.

For now, the only shoe to drop is Haskell’s boot kicking his counterparts to the back of the pack.

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 8, 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.

In Week 7, Haskell finished 12-2, Waltz and Leonard 9-5 and Brower 8-6. Guest Casey Holmes of Dixmont finished 9-5.

Seven weeks into an already crazy NFL campaign, Haskell has jumped into first place at 68-39-1 (.636 winning percentage), while Brower is 65-42-1 (.607), Waltz 61-46-1 (.570), Leonard 60-47-1 (.561) and guests 57-50-1 (.533). Thus, Haskell leads Brower by three games, Waltz seven, Leonard eight and guests 11.

Ken Waltz

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 Chris Audet of Searsport 8-6 in Week 6 and Casey Holmes of Dixmont 9-5 in Week 7.

The Week 8 guest is Sam Bickford of Vinalhaven.

Thus far, Brower and Haskell have the best weekly records among the “pundits” at 13-3 in Week 4 when total number of wins are tabulated, or Haskell at 12-2 in Week 7 (.857) if winning percentage is the criteria. 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.

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.

Mark Haskell

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 — and

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

The games for Week 8 include:

Oct. 27

Baltimore at Tampa Bay

Oct. 30

Denver at Jacksonville

Carolina at Atlanta

Chicago at Dallas

Jim Leonard

Miami at Detroit

Arizona at Minnesota

Las Vegas at New Orleans

New England at New York Jets

Pittsburgh at Philadelphia

Tennessee at Houston

Washington at Indianapolis

San Francisco at Los Angeles Rams

New York Giants at Seattle

Green Bay at Buffalo

Oct. 31

Cincinnati at Cleveland

The Week 8 picks for the “Pigskin Pundits” and guest include:

Brower — Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, Atlanta, Dallas, Miami, Minnesota, Las Vegas, New England, Philadelphia, Tennessee, Indianapolis, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle, Buffalo and Cincinnati.

Sam Bickford

Waltz — Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, Atlanta, Dallas, Miami, Minnesota, Las Vegas, New England, Philadelpha, Tennessee, Washington, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle, Buffalo and Cincinnati.

Haskell — Baltimore, Jacksonville, Carolina, Dallas, Miami, Arizona, Las Vegas, New England, Philadelphia, Tennessee, Indianapolis, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle, Buffalo and Cincinnati.

Leonard — Baltimore, Jacksonville, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, Minnesota, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, New York Jets, Tennessee, Seattle, Washington, San Francisco, Buffalo and Cincinnati.

Bickford — Baltimore, Jacksonville, Atlanta, Dallas, Miami, Minnesota, Las Vegas, New England, Philadelphia, Houston, Indianapolis, San Francisco, New York Giants, Buffalo and Cincinnati.

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