National Football League bragging rights

Super Bowl LII: Will it be Patriots or Eagles?

New England faces Philadelphia for the Lombardi Trophy on Feb. 4 in Minnesota
By Staff | Feb 01, 2018
Artwork by: Christine Dunkle; logo courtesy of National Football League From left, Reade Brower, Ken Waltz, Mark Haskell, Zack Miller, Sandy Cameron and Mark Cooper.

Rockland — Perhaps it is apropos that two of the country's founding cities/regions would be featured in the latest installment of the National Football League's championship game — namely, Super Bowl LII.

Boston and Philadelphia. That is as American as one can get. The Declaration of Independence. The Liberty Bell. Paul Revere's ride. Boston Tea Party. Battle of Bunker Hill. And so many more significant historical connections.

These cities have had so much important real history and plenty of fun, competitive sports history. And now the cities, in fact, their regions, will be the center of the football world for the second time since 2005.

The New England Patriots, No. 1 and American Football Conference champion, will face the Philadelphia Eagles, No. 1 and National Football Conference titlist, on Sunday, Feb. 4 at 6:30 p.m. at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn.

Both teams finished the regular season 13-3, won two conference postseason games, and stand at 15-3 overall for Sunday's big game.

The 2017-18 NFL's postseason has finished and after three weeks of playoff battles the scenario holds positive news for a handful of the Courier Publications/VillageSoup weekly predictors and a more break-even scenario for a few.

In week three of the postseason predictions, the conference title games, Ken Waltz, Sandy Cameron and Mark Haskell finished 2-0, while Zack Miller, Mark Cooper and Reade Brower were 1-1.

Thus, in the postseason, Waltz, who finished last by three touchdowns and two safeties during regular season, is 8-2, Cameron, Haskell and Cooper 6-4 and Brower and Miller 5-5.

For 17 straight weeks of the regular season, 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 Brower, Sports Director Waltz and Associate Sports Director Haskell.

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

The Courier Publications/VillageSoup trio and guests with the best weekly records picked the winners of games in the postseason — through the Super Bowl.

In the Super Bowl, the predictions include a winner, the final score and a brief reason why the person made that selection.

The guests who continued to participate in the playoffs have been Miller of Rockland, Cameron of Belfast and Cooper of Fairfield.

To earn a spot in the playoff prediction cast of characters, 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.

In regular-season predictions, Brower enjoyed an unbelievably consistent and dominating year. He 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 was anchored 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.

Super Bowl LII, Sunday, Feb. 4

AFC champion New England versus NFC titlist Philadelphia, 6:30 p.m., Minneapolis, Minn.

You picked who?

Miller: New England 28, Philadelphia 17 — New England has 32 players on its roster with Super Bowl experience compared to the Eagles' six. That, coupled with the Patriots having the best quarterback and head coach off all-time, it's hard not to pick New England. I also do not think Nick Foles can catch lightning in a bottle for a second game in a row, in the biggest game of his career.

Cameron: Philadelphia 30, New England 27 — Who in New England roots for the E A G L E S? ME!! I was born and raised in Philadelphia, and even though I have been away from Philly for 40 years, and transplanted in Patriots' Nation, I remain loyal to my "home team." A true Philadelphia Fan always routes for the home team!! While everyone around me will be wearing Patriots' jerseys, I will be proudly wearing my vintage Reggie White t-shirt!! Fly Eagles Fly!!

Cooper: Philadelphia 28, New England 24 — I chose the Eagles because being a life-long Miami Dolphins fan, I canNOT in good conscience pick the other team. Do I think they will probably win .... yes. But my DNA does not allow me to want them to win, or even pick them to win. Sorry to my friends who cheer for the other team.

Brower: New England 30, Philadelphia 13 — Patriots methodically pick apart Philadelphia’s defense and build on their lead as the game progresses. The Eagles start and stutter with their offense and the Patriots slowly pull away.

Haskell: Philadelphia  36, New England 27 — Philly’s defense is legit, every bit as good as Minnesota’s (which they proved shutting the Vikings out after the first possession of the NFC title game) and Jacksonville. That being said, I’m not saying Philly’s D will shut out New England. Tom Brady will do Tom Brady things and this game will be close. But I think Philly’s defensive front four will do enough to keep Brady uncomfortable and off-balance and he will seem more mortal than he has in playoff game’s past. And in the end, the Eagles will hoist their first-ever Super Bowl title.

Waltz: New England 28, Philadelphia 21 — There is so much on the line for New England, what with both coordinators leaving for head coaching jobs after this final game, being able to tie for the most Super Bowl victories with Pittsburgh and the fact the Brady-Belichick championship window is closing. The double-GOATS realize the importance of this one and will not let this moment slip through their fingers. They will have laser focus, as will the rest of the players and coaches, and have all the answers when it comes to crunch time to pull off the team's history-tying sixth title. And to make it sweeter, James Harrison, the formerly beloved former Steeler, will be the game's most valuable player — so the Patriots can stick it to both Pennsylvania teams on the same night in the same game.

Other 2017-18 guests

The guests this season included 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).

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.

Comments (2)
Posted by: Doug Curtis Jr. | Feb 01, 2018 12:10

Sorry, the veteran Gostkowski not Vinatieri who is in Indy, but same idea though.



Posted by: Doug Curtis Jr. | Feb 01, 2018 11:01

OMG Everyone knows defense wins championships. It's been horrible being a Giants fan this year and I am glad this season is over. Philadelphia is riding the wave but have you ever seen Belicheck happier?  The Pat's defense will be the deciding factor not Philadelphia's. In the end the veteran V will out kick the rookie. Pat's 24 Philadelphia 21.



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