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Cardinals could stay unbeaten by upsetting injured Browns

AP pro picks

They were once college teammates, two ultra-competitive, trash-talking alpha males pushing each other to be better.

Back-to-back Heisman Trophies at Oklahoma followed, then No. 1 overall draft picks and now NFL fame as starting quarterbacks.

Kyler Murray and Baker Mayfield are forever linked.

On Sunday, their close friendship gets strained for a few hours.

For the second time as pros, Murray and Mayfield will match up as the Arizona Cardinals (5-0), the league’s only remaining unbeaten team and one of the season’s biggest early surprises, visit the Browns (3-2).

The picks:

No. 1 (tie) Buffalo (-4¢) at No. 11 Tennessee, Monday night: The Bills proved themselves at Kansas City in prime time. They’ll continue doing so. BEST BET: BILLS, 33-23.

No. 1 (tie) Arizona (+3) at No. 9 Cleveland: Soon, the Cardinals will lose. But the Browns are so banged up now. UPSET SPECIAL: Cardinals, 22-20.

No. 5 Los Angeles Chargers (+3¢) at No. 6 Baltimore: It’s becoming impossible to pick against Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. It will be close, though. Ravens, 30-28.

No. 15 Las Vegas (+3) at No. 17 Denver: Just a feeling the Raiders will respond with a strong performance. Raiders, 23-16.

No. 10 Kansas City (-6¢) at No. 24 Washington: It’s time for the Chiefs to find their mojo, and Washington’s defense could accommodate them. Chiefs, 33-29.

No. 13 Cincinnati (-3¢) at No. 31 Detroit: At some point, Lady Luck will decide she likes the Lions. Not this weekend. Bengals, 23-14.

No. 8 Green Bay (-4¢) at No. 16 Chicago: The Packers could almost put away the division with a win here. Packers, 26-23.

No. 18 (tie) Minnesota (+1¢) at No. 14 Carolina: Minnesota makes things more exciting than they should be. Panthers, 20-19.

No. 7 Dallas (-4) at No. 20 New England: Jerry Jones’ voice isn’t the only one mentioning Super Bowl chances for his team. Cowboys, 23-20.

No. 4 Los Angeles Rams (-10¢) at No. 28 New York Giants: Another potential Best Bet, especially with New York so ravaged by injuries. Rams, 33-16.

No. 29 Houston (+10) at No. 25 Indianapolis: Houston doesn’t have the playmakers to threaten the disappointing Colts. Colts, 31-17.

No. 21 Seattle (+4¢) at No. 22 Pittsburgh: Don’t quite believe the Steelers have turned a corner, but they should win here. Steelers, 20-13.

No. 27 Miami (-3¢) vs. No. 32 Jacksonville at London: Two more bad teams that could spoil England’s taste for the NFL. Dolphins, 15-13.

2021 RECORD

Last Week: Straight up: 12-4. Against spread: 8-8.

Season: Straight up: 49-31. Against spread: 42-36-2.

Best Bet: Straight up: 4-1. Against spread: 4-1.

Upset Special: Straight up: 5-0. Against spread: 5-0.

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