It's now October, and most of that preseason rust should be starting to shake off teams' starters and the daily grind of practice and film has now become habitual for every organization.  Does this mean that the more talented and prepared teams will begin to separate themselves from the less-skilled?  In a sense, yes.  However, no matter how much analyzing and film breakdown we can do, it may not be apparent where each team fits in that equation.  Still, I'll try my best at figuring that out, so here are my picks for week five:

 

Last Week's Picks: 3-10

Total Regular Season Picks: 28-33

 

Minnesota Vikings (2-2) @ Green Bay Packers (2-2): Thursday, 7:25 PM

Jonathan Daniel, Getty Images Sport

The Packers may have defeated their longtime rivals, the Chicago Bears, this past Sunday, but their relationship with the Minnesota Vikings have been much more mean-spirited in the last ten years than with Chicago.  Whether it was the multiple scuffles between Brett Favre and Chris Hovan, Randy Moss making an obscene gesture to the fans at Lambeau, or the obvious Green Bay-to-Minnesota player pipeline (I'm not even going to mention all of the players who gave up the green and gold for purple), the rivalry has grown bitter.  What makes this game even more interesting is that Brett Favre, who has a little something to do with this rivalry, predicted the Packers to win in a "lopsided" victory.

Although this will be Teddy "Bear" Bridgewater's second career start, this one probably means more to Vikings fans because, come on, it's against the Packers.  If Aaron Rodgers is able to move his offense down the field as efficiently as he did against Chicago, Bridgewater may be playing a game of catch-up the entire time.  There's also a chance that Bridgewater might not even play and hand the reins over to Christian Ponder (which is something Minnesota fans probably don't even want to think about), but I'd be shocked if Teddy Bear didn't suit up.  I'm picking the Packers now that their offense seems to be clicking again, but I won't go as far to say that it will be a lopsided win.  Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon could make this game interesting if they receive a sufficient amount of carries and punch it right down the middle of Green Bay's run defense.

 

Baltimore Ravens (3-1) @ Indianapolis Colts (2-2): Sunday, 12:00 PM

Patrick Smith, Getty Images Sport

Even though Steve Smith's prediction of "blood and guts everywhere" wasn't precise, he had one heck of a game against his former team, the Carolina Panthers.  Will he have that same kind of chip on his shoulder at Indianapolis?  I doubt it, but Steve Smith seems to always give 100% effort in order to get the win.  To keep it short and sweet, I'll go with the Indianapolis Colts simply because I believe we're beginning to see Andrew Luck develop into an elite quarterback.  He's now won two games in a row, and if this streak continues to grow, watch out.

 

Arizona Cardinals (3-0) @ Denver Broncos (2-1): Sunday, 3:05 PM

Are the Cardinals turning into this year's Seattle Seahawks?  By the way their defense has been playing, along with their surprisingly yard-shredding offense, I would say that this may be the case.  However, how long can it last?  It could very well last all the way into the postseason, but I'm not sure if playing the Broncos this Sunday at Denver is a matchup that they would be in favor of.  If Arizona wins, they'll certainly be in the discussion as the top team in the NFL.  However, if the Denver Broncos win, which I am anticipating, they will still need to win a few more games before the nation begins to take the Cardinals seriously.

 

Kansas City Chiefs (2-2) @ San Francisco 49ers (2-2): Sunday, 3:25 PM

Thearon W. Henderson, Getty Images Sport

One of the biggest stories this week had to do with Jim Harbaugh and the possibility of him taking the head coaching job with the Michigan Wolverines if Brady Hoke is fired.  Here's my two cents on this issue: If Harbaugh is no longer the 49ers' coach at the end of the 2014 season (not depending on if he leaves or if he is fired), it would make more sense that he becomes the coach of another NFL team before he takes the Michigan job; unfortunately, the Big Ten is only hurting themselves by expanding and adding less-than-desirable football programs to their conference, and Harbaugh would easily be the top candidate for any head coaching vacancy in the NFL.

Anyways, back to the game: The Chiefs played fantastic against New England on Monday night, so the focus will be on whether or not they can continue that kind of success.  On the other hand, San Fran was lights out in the second half against Philly, and if they play like that every game, they could beat anybody.  This is a tough one, but I'll go with the San Francisco 49ers with the hopes of the entire team rallying behind their coach and becoming 3-2.  As you may have noticed, I love dramatics.

 

Cincinnati Bengals (3-0) @ New England Patriots (2-2): Sunday, 7:30 PM
Andy Lyons, Getty Images Sport
As of right now, the Cincinnati Bengals are the best team in the NFL.  Their shutdown defense is one that every team wishes they possessed, and the Dalton-to-Green connection on offense remains deadly as ever.  As I stated above, the Pats took a beating from the Chiefs on Monday, and although I have complete faith in Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, it could take more than a week to recover from a game like that.  While New England's offense tries to sorts things out, I'll pick the Cincinnati Bengals to remain undefeated and continue to make a pitch for the #1 seed in the AFC.
 
Now that you've made it this far, it's time for the rest of my picks.  Enjoy:
 
Buffalo Bills (2-2) @ Detroit Lions (3-1): Sunday, 12:00 PM
 
Cleveland Browns (1-2) @ Tennessee Titans (1-3): Sunday, 12:00 PM
 
Chicago Bears (2-2) @ Carolina Panthers (2-2): Sunday, 12:00 PM
 
Houston Texans (3-1) @ Dallas Cowboys (3-1): Sunday, 12:00 PM
 
Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (0-4): Sunday, 12:00 PM
 
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3) @ New Orleans Saints (1-3): Sunday, 12:00 PM
 
Atlanta Falcons (2-2) @ New York Giants (2-2): Sunday, 12:00 PM
 
St. Louis Rams (1-2) @ Philadelphia Eagles (3-1): Sunday, 12:00 PM
 
New York Jets (1-3) @ San Diego Chargers (3-1): Sunday, 3:25 PM
 
Seattle Seahawks (2-1) @ Washington Redskins (1-3): Monday, 7:30 PM