NFL bragging rights

Brower dominates as top dog; pickers in playoff-prediction mode

Brower finishes nine games ahead of guests, 22 in front of Haskell, whopping 25 better than Waltz
By Staff | Jan 05, 2018
Courtesy of: National Football League; illustration by Christine Dunkle

Rockland — The 2017-18 National Football League regular season has concluded. For 17 straight weeks, Courier Publications/VillageSoup's "Pigskin Pundits" matched wits with a guest each week to pick the winners of the games.

The weekly pundits who participated in the 19th consecutive year of the pro football selections were Courier Publications/VillageSoup owner Reade Brower, Sports Director Ken Waltz and Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell.

Games were picked for “winners,” not on a points spread, but simply the final score.

Now, that trio and the guests with the best weekly records will pick the winners of games in the on-going postseason — through the Super Bowl. The guests who will participate in the playoffs are Zack Miller of Rockland, Sandy Cameron of Belfast and Mark Cooper of Fairfield.

To earn a spot in the playoffs, Miller finished 13-0 in Week 8, Cameron 13-3 in Week 12 and Cooper 13-3 in Week 16. Miller was the overall best guest picker, but is an employee of Courier Publications/VillageSoup, thus, to be fair to all, the next guests with the best weekly records also will participate in the postseason.

The guests this season were Kyle Durkee of Waldoboro in Week 1 (12-3), Laurie Cole of Rockland in Week 2 (11-5), Cameron Watson of Searsport in Week 3 (7-9), Ryan Snell of Waldoboro in Week 4 (10-6), Tom Peaco of Rockland in Week 5 (6-8), Collin Landry of Rockland in Week 6 (7-7), Anthony Raye of Rockland in Week 7 (10-5), Zack Miller of Rockland in Week 8 (13-0), Scott Case of Belfast in Week 9 (8-5), Rachel Coor of Union and New York, N.Y. in Week 10 (10-4), Ryan Verrill of Warren in Week 11 (9-5), Sandy Cameron of Belfast in Week 12 (13-3), Bev Sherwin of Thomaston in Week 13 (10-6), Jeff Hart of Rockport in Week 14 (12-4), Wes Drinkwater of South Thomaston in Week 15 (10-6), Mark Cooper of Fairfield in Week 16 (13-3) and Chris Donlin in Week 17 (8-8).

In Week 17, the final one of the regular season, Brower finished 12-4, Waltz 11-5 and Haskell 9-7.

Thus, after 17 weeks of regular-season predictions, Brower, who enjoyed an unbelievably consistent and dominating year, led the pack at 178-78 (.695 winning percentage), while the guests finished second at 169-87 (.660), Haskell third at 156-100 (.609) and Waltz fourth at 153-103 (.598).

After the dust settled, Brower finished with a nine-game advantage over the guests, 22-game advantage over Haskell and whopping 25-game cushion over Waltz, who sat in the last-place position most of the season.

Brower's uncanny, accurate predictions this season were perhaps the most dominant overall in the nearly two decades of the company's weekly picks.

The schedule for the first round of the playoffs — Wild Card Weekend — includes:

Saturday, Jan. 6

Tennessee at Kansas City

Atlanta at Los Angeles Rams

Sunday, Jan. 7

Buffalo at Jacksonville

Carolina at New Orleans

You picked who?

Miller: Kansas City, Los Angeles Rams, Jacksonville and New Orleans.

Cameron: Kansas City, Los Angeles Rams, Jacksonville and New Orleans.

Cooper: Kansas City, Atlanta, Jacksonville and New Orleans.

Brower: Kansas City, Atlanta, Jacksonville and New Orleans.

Haskell: Kansas City, Atlanta, Jacksonville and New Orleans.

Waltz: Kansas City, Los Angeles Rams, Jacksonville and New Orleans.

Last year's results

Haskell finished 173-92-2 overall (.653 winning percentage), including 8-3 in the playoffs. Waltz finished 171-94-2 (.645), including 7-4 in the postseason. Brower finished 169-96-2 (.638), including a perfect 11-0 in the playoffs. Chris Donlin, at 13-3 in Week 17, was the guest who earned the right to participate in the playoffs, and he finished 8-3 in the postseason and helped guests finish 170-95-2 (.642).

Each prognosticator selected New England to beat Atlanta in the Super Bowl, and the Patriots rallied to prevail 34-28. Waltz predicted 38-28, Haskell 34-24, Brower 34-23 and Donlin 27-17.

During the regular season, Haskell finished with the best individual week at 15-1 in Week 15. In regular-season play, Haskell finished 165-89-2, Waltz 164-90-2 and Brower 158-96-2.

Courier Publications' sports staff can be reached by email at sports@villagesoup.com or by phone at 594-4401.

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