Steelers at 10 wins? We don’t think so

Aug 30, 2005 4:54 AM

One of the most popular prop bets is deciding which NFL teams will exceed or fall short of the projected regular season win totals.

It is a science best arrived at through careful study of your particular team and its 16-game schedule.

We’ll do our best with our top five to advise you correctly.

Steelers 10: Ben Roethlisberger still looks confused and may suffer through a sophomore jinx. He hasn’t looked the same since the end of the regular season last year. Perhaps too much early success. The schedule is not easy — New England, at San Diego, at Green Bay, at Indianapolis, at Minnesota. I think 9-7 at best. UNDER.

Eagles 11: I can see 12-4 with Philadelphia. This is just an excellent football team that just missed beating New England last year in Super Bowl XXIX. They may just pull this T.O. thing off. Could be a career year for Donovan McNabb. OVER.

Cardinals 7½: There is a new attitude in Arizona. The Cards seem to have bought into Dennis Green’s program. A 3-0 start in preseason may not mean anything, but I’m impressed. I remember when Green pushed the Vikings to a 4-0 preseason and it carried them to the NFC title game a few years back. 8-8 is definitely in reach. OVER.

Falcons 9½: Atlanta wins 70 percent of the games Michael Vick starts. So, if No. 7 stays healthy, I can see the Falcons winning 11 or 12. The opening five games are brutal (Philadelphia, at Seattle, at Buffalo, Minnesota, New England). If the birds can go 3-2 in that span, they should crack the total with ease. OVER.

Panthers 9½: I believe Carolina is a legitimate Super Bowl contender, so that total really seems low. The Panthers are healthy again, especially WR Steve Smith. Jake Delhomme would be a fantasy QB steal for any owner. The defense, led by Julius Peppers, is second to none as a big-play unit. OVER.

We also like: the Minnesota Vikings OVER 9½ and Dallas OVER 8½.

Mark Mayer