The Peabody husband and wife team of John and Helen Apostolides have been picking NFL games in the "I Beat Burt" contest for nearly a decade.
John, 77, looks at a lot of different factors each week, focusing on record, coaches, balance on offense and defense and, in the end, his gut.
Helen, 73, focuses more on offense, especially the quarterbacks and receivers.
The retired couple have been married for 49 years and spend a lot of time together, especially on Sundays.
"We are both big sports fans and watch them all, especially football and baseball," said Helen, a retired teacher and principal, who is currently an education consultant for Class Measures of Woburn.
"We both love the physical play in football and its unpredictability," she said. "We rarely miss a Patriots game. The game time is always on our calendar."
John, a cabinet designer in his day, played baseball growing up and also plays squash as part of the Andover Squash Club out of Phillips Academy in Andover.
He is very competitive, according to his wife,
"John always gets frustrated when the Patriots are behind in the first half," she said. "His brother Steve calls him before the second half begins, kiddingly telling him that he talked with Bill Belichick and Bill told him to tell John not to worry. Watch the second half. Patriots will win. It's pretty funny. He calls every week."
Helen did not play sports growing up but she watched her uncles play football for Peabody High.
"John taught me how to play squash," she said. "He is a 4.0 squash player and I currently play in the Boston area leagues and in the state tournaments. We love it."
They also love picking games.
"We are competitive people and we love trying to win a T-shirt," she said.
Solid week for all
I had 10 correct picks this weekend. Honestly, I didn't deserve that many. Philadelphia and the N.Y. Jets stole their wins. And Tampa Bay was close.
Anyway, only 30 entries out of 323 picked more than 10 wins.
All of the winners in Week 14 were within four points of the Patriots point total (16), the first tiebreaker.
While the Patriots have struggled offensively, most entries have the Patriots scoring 23 plus points per game. People still believe in Tom Brady & Co. despite averaging 18 points a game over the last month.
With the Cincinnati Begals next, I expect that number, for most entries, near the 30-mark.
Each week a maximum of 10 T-shirts are awarded. The second tiebreaker, amount of correct selections, was also used this week.
Week 14 winners
Roland Poirier of Haverhill
Ron Savastano of Methuen
Ray Metthe of Haverhill
Frankie Poirier of Da Nang, Vietnam
Tom Barnacle of Methuen
Mike Souza of North Andover
Armand Boucher of Methuen
Philip Alibrandi of Haverhill
Al Longo of Salem, N.H.
Ellen Parker of Salem, N.H.