Originally published on SBReport.net on Nov. 23, 2012
The Oakland Raiders head into Cincinnati as quarterback Carson Palmer looks to redeem himself against his former team.
Palmer was acquired by the Raiders during last season for a 2012 first round draft pick in addition to what turned out to be a 2013 second round draft when former head coach Hue Jackson saw his starting quarterback, Jason Campbell, go down to injury.
To make things more interesting, Jackson was fired by new general manager Reggie McKenzie at the end of the year and rejoined the Bengals as secondary coach and assistant special teams coach. Following the death of the late Al Davis, it was Jackson that made the trade for Palmer in hopes of reaching the playoffs.
Even with the reunion on the line, Palmer and the Raiders would likely enjoy a win for the mere fact it would end a three-game losing streak in which the Raiders have given up 135 points.
Meanwhile, the Bengals seem to have resurrected their season with back-to-back wins following a four-game losing streak that dropped them to 3-5 midway through the season.
Palmer’s successor in Cincinnati, Andy Dalton, has quickly adjusted to the NFL and become one of the league’s up-and-coming quarterbacks as he made the Pro Bowl as a rookie last season. The young quarterback has increased his completion percentage this season (64.2 percent as opposed to 58.1) and already has the same amount of touchdowns as he did through all of last season (20).
It would certainly make it easier to slow down Dalton if they can limit the play of A.J. Green. Coming into the league as a rookie last year with Dalton, Green quickly emerged as a favorite target of Dalton’s and has made numerous big plays in his short career.
Like Dalton, Green is on pace to exceed his Pro Bowl rookie season. Green already has 64 receptions (65 in 2011) for 911 yards (1,057 yards in 2011) and 10 touchdowns (seven in 2011). It will no doubt be a tough task for a Raiders secondary that ranks 24th in the NFL while allowing 253.2 yards per game.
The Bengals have struggled to get the running game going (103.2 yards per game) luckily for the Raiders. Though the Raiders have struggled mightily against the run as of late, giving up 169 yards per game on the ground during their three-game win streak.
Palmer and the wide receiving corps will have to have a big day in order to alleviate a Raiders rushing attack that has struggled and is still missing Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson due to high-ankle injuries.
Reece will get the start again after finding some open running room against a porous Saints defense last week. Reece rushed for 103 yards on 19 carries against New Orleans, just the third time the Raiders have had a 100-yard rusher this season.
The Oakland offensive line will have to play better to prevent Palmer from being hit and to give him enough time to let his receivers run their routes. Oakland’s offensive line has allowed 48 quarterback hits on Palmer while they take on an aggressive Bengals defense that has 31 sacks this season, good enough for the third most in the NFL thus far.
Though they failed to sellout to avoid a television blackout, Paul Brown Stadium is expected to feature a hostile crowd that remembers the Carson Palmer Era well that ended in his retirement after demanding a trade.
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