After his brief retirement that forced a trade last year, Palmer will do something he vowed he would never do again: set foot inside of Paul Brown Stadium. He doesn't have a choice now that his team has to travel to Cincinnati.
This is a game Palmer and most Bengals fans have had circled on their calendars from the moment the schedule was released in April.
Oakland is in third place in the AFC West and shows no sign of turning things around this season. Running back Darren McFadden is injured again, which gives the Raiders very little production on the ground. The defense is atrocious and has allowed 32.2 points per game, which is easily last in the NFL (via NFL.com).
Cincinnati has managed to turn its season around after a four-game losing streak dropped them to 3-5. The Bengals are now 5-5 and only one game out of the final wild card spot. Stud receiver A.J. Green has caught a touchdown in a franchise-record nine straight games. The defense is finally playing up to its potential. The defense now ranks third in the league in sacks and has started to create turnovers.
With Ben Roethlisberger out of Pittsburgh's lineup, the Bengals need to take advantage of every game they play in order to get back to the postseason.
When both teams were 3-5, this looked like a game the Raiders could win. Now with the defense playing so well for Cincinnati, it will take a monster game from Palmer and a miracle on defense.
Palmer ranks third in the league in passing yards, mainly because his defense has put him in a spot where he has to throw. Both he and Dalton have thrown 11 interceptions in 2012, so both are prone to turning the ball over.
Sorry Bengals fans but winning this game will not mean Dalton is a better quarterback than Palmer, so don't even try to hype this game up as a "we made the right choice" type of game. Look at the talent around both quarterbacks. Green is the best receiver in the league, and the defenses aren't even close.
Who will come out on top in the return of Carson Palmer to Cincinnati?
Let's check out a preview of Sunday's game.
When: Sunday, Nov. 25 at 1 p.m. ET
Where: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio
TV: CBS (check local listings)
Live Stream: NFL Sunday Ticket (with subscription)
Radio: Raiders Radio Affiliates, 700 WLW (Cincinnati)
Line (via Bovada.com): Cincinnati -8
The Bengals enter this game as heavy favorites, but this will be an emotional game.
Cincinnati will be looking to continue to battle for a playoff spot. The Bengals lost a couple of games they should have won, and they now have to make a run to get back in the playoffs.
This one is tough to predict. The Bengals are clearly the better overall team, but the Raiders have played a couple of good games against contenders. Expect this one to be close.
Over/Under (via Bovada): 49
These teams should combine to put up some points. Both teams have shown the ability to light up the scoreboard, but they have struggled at times.
The Bengals will have an easier time against the Raiders' defense, but Palmer has always been able to put up points. The key for Oakland will be finding the end zone instead of settling for field goals.
Look for both offenses to move the ball with ease.
Injury Report (via CBSSports.com on 11/22/2012 at 6 p.m.)
RB Marcel Reece: Hamstring/Quadriceps (Probable)
RB Darren McFadden: Ankle (Questionable)
RB Mike Goodson: Ankle (Questionable)
WR Denarius Moore: Hamstring (Questionable)
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey: Hamstring (Questionable)
S Tyvon Branch: Neck (Questionable)
DT Richard Seymour: Knee/Hamstring (Questionable)
S Reggie Nelson: Hamstring (Probable)
CB Terence Newman: Head (Probable)
WR Andrew Hawkins: Knee (Questionable)
WR Marvin Jones: Knee (Questionable)
CB Adam Jones: Calf (Questionable)
TE Richard Quinn: Hamstring (Questionable)
QB Carson Palmer
This will be a game that Palmer will be ready for. He will be throwing the ball early and often trying to prove himself.
There could be a couple of deep balls, especially early, for the 32-year-old to try to expose this aggressive defense. He will be under pressure all game, which could force him into some bad passes.
Palmer will have to be on top of his game if his team has any chance of winning. He has been one of the top fantasy quarterbacks in the league, so it would be worth giving him a start. Look for him to find the end zone a couple of times. Palmer is due for a big game even if his team doesn't win.
And honestly, there's just nobody else who you could pick from the Raiders' offense.
McFadden is injured and Marcel Reece will have a hard time running against this defensive line.
RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis
Obviously if you have A.J. Green, start him. If the rest of the league can't stop him, there's no way Oakland will. However, BenJarvus Green-Ellis is a good sleeper pick this week.
For the second straight week, Green-Ellis could be looking at a 100-yard game. He finally topped the century mark for the first time this season in a rout of the Kansas City Chiefs, and Oakland's defense is just as vulnerable.
The Raiders allowed Reggie Bush to get 172 yards on the ground, and Doug Martin ran for 251 on only 25 carries. This defense has allowed teams to move the ball and put up points.
Green-Ellis is coming off his most productive game as a Bengal, so look for him to carry some momentum into Sunday. If the Bengals exploit the Raiders through the air, Green-Ellis will be able to rack up the yards in the second half.
He has not been very consistent this season, but it is worth the risk against this defense.
Cincinnati needs this game more, and they will avoid a letdown against Oakland.
This game will be difficult for the Raiders to win, but don't expect them to roll over. Palmer will be fired up for this game and will keep it close. Eventually, the better team will win.
The Bengals will find the end zone numerous times on Sunday and will score just enough to win.
Oakland will extend its losing streak to four games while Cincinnati moves above .500 at 6-5 and gets in position to make a run at the postseason.
Cincinnati 27, Oakland 20
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