Football bragging rights

'Pigskin Pundits' tackle first week of NFL picks

Brower, Waltz, Haskell, Miller and guest back in selection game
By Staff | Sep 06, 2018
Artwork by: Christine Dunkle

Rockland — Are you ready for some football?

You better be because the 2018-19 National Football League season is about to kick off, and with that, the weekly game picks from the Courier Publications/VillageSoup prognosticators and guest.

It is the 20th straight year the "Pigskin Pundits" will make their weekly NFL game selections.

For decades, the picks were featured in the print editions of Courier Publications’ newspapers, The Courier-Gazette, The 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 picks will appear each Thursday online.

Each year during the NFL season, through the Super Bowl, Courier Publications/VillageSoup Owner Reade Brower, Sports Director Ken Waltz, Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell and a weekly guest went head-to-head against one another by picking that week’s slate of pro football games.

This year, sports reporter Zack Miller will join the group to try to earn football picking bragging rights.

The “winners” are not selected by a points spread, but merely the final score.

After 16 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 any of Courier Publications' newspapers or either of the organization's websites.

The Week 1 guest is Howard Fogg of Monmouth.

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

So, who do you like in Week 1? Here is what our group and guest think:

First, the Week 1 schedule:

Thursday, Sept. 6

Atlanta at Philadelphia

Sunday, Sept. 9

Pittsburgh at Cleveland

Cincinnati at Indianapolis

Tennessee at Miami

San Francisco at Minnesota

Houston at New England

Tampa Bay at New Orleans

Jacksonville at N.Y. Giants

Buffalo at Baltimore

Kansas City at LA Chargers

Seattle at Denver

Washington at Arizona

Dallas at Carolina

Chicago at Green Bay

Monday, Sept. 10

N.Y. Jets at Detroit

LA Rams at Oakland

The following are the picks of the Courier Publications/VillageSoup group and the weekly guest:

Brower — Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Miami, San Franciso, New England, New Orleans, N.Y. Giants, Baltimore, Los Angeles Chargers, Seattle, Arizona, Carolina, Green Bay, Detroit and Oakland.

Waltz — Atlanta, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Tennessee, Minnesota, Houston, New Orleans, N.Y. Giants, Baltimore, Kansas City, Denver, Washington, Carolina, Green Bay, Detroit and Los Angeles Rams,

Haskell — Atlanta, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Tennessee, Minnesota, Houston, New Orleans, Jacksonville, Baltimore, Kansas City, Seattle, Washington, Carolina, Chicago, N.Y. Jets and Los Angeles Rams.

Miller — Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Tennessee, Minnesota, New England, New Orleans, Jacksonville, Baltimore, Los Angeles Chargers, Denver, Washington, Carolina, Green Bay, Detroit and Los Angeles Rams.

Fogg — Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Tennessee, Minnesota, New England, New Orleans, N.Y. Giants, Baltimore, Los Angeles Chargers, Denver, Washington, Dallas, Green Bay, Detroit and Los Angeles Rams.

History lesson

Last season, Brower was the “top dog” as he finished with a 178-78 record (.695 winning percentage), while the weekly guests finished second at 169-87 (.660), Haskell third at 156-100 (.609) and Waltz fourth at 153-103 (.598).

As a guest picker last season in Week 8, Miller finished a perfect 13-0 and earned the right to pick against Waltz, Haskell and Brower in the playoffs, along with Sandy Cameron of Belfast and Mark Cooper of Fairfield, who finished with 13-3 records in Week 13 and Week 16, respectively.

As an employee in another Brower company, Miller was ineligible to collect the free year’s subscription, but picked playoff games along with Cameron and Cooper, who had the second-best guest marks.

Haskell, Miller and Cooper correctly picked the Philadelphia Eagles to defeat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII.

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

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