Dan Janco has been playing our weekly pro football contest since it first started nearly two decades ago.

In 2016 he got a partner of sorts: someone who gets on the computers, checks out the standings and team records, and makes picks each week.

His seven-year-old grandson, Elijah Janco.

"We have a ritual each week," said Dan, who goes by "Papa" when around his grandson. "I call him and we read the standings in the newspaper.

"One thing we always do together is pick the Patriots. After that, we don't always agree."

Dan won a T-shirt last year but has been shut out in 2016. His grandson has come close a few times, but just missed.

"Although Elijah doesn't play football yet, he understands the game quite well, and is active in other sports," said the Methuen resident of his grandson. "He has been a karate student since age three and a month ago earned his brown belt. He plays baseball, too ... he's really into sports."

Elijah resides in Bradford with his mom, Holly-Ann Janco, his stepdad, Mike Nutton, and younger brother Jayce.

"Our goal is to win this year," said Dan. "It's something we look forward to every week. I wish he'd follow my lead, but he seems to pick against his Papa a lot. It's a friendly rivalry."

Nobody beats Burt

OK, I was due ... really and truly due. After many bad weeks and a few "so-so" weeks, I was able to finally hit my stride, needing late October to do it.

I correctly hit on 10 games in Week 7, missing three and tying the Seattle-Arizona game. For the first time in 2016, nobody on the North Shore picked more than I did. In fact, only five entries picked as many games correctly — but we don't give out "I Tied Burt" T-shirts.

So what happened in Week 7? Like the first six weeks, there were a lot of close games, many of which were coin flips — eight games the spread was three points or less. And only five road teams won, the fewest this season thus far.

There were 176 entries and nobody picked more winners than me. So nobody wins a T-shirt ... a rarity. 

But instead of bragging, I'll just go with that tire company ad that's all over TV and radio: "Nobody beat Burt ... no-body!"