MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 20: Carson Palmer #3 of the Oakland Raiders speaks with head coach Hue Jackson during a time out in the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Vikings on November 20, 2011 at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Raiders defeated the Vikings 27-21. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
When the NFL released the 2012 season schedule for each team a couple of weeks ago, nearly every Bengals fan had their eyes on one particular game. Call it the "Carson Bowl", the "PBS Battle", or whatever you like; but on November 25th (Week 12), quarterback Carson Palmer will be making his return to Cincinnati. This date marks the first time that Palmer will step foot in Paul Brown Stadium since being traded by the club that drafted him.
It appears that Bengals and Raiders fans aren't the only ones intrigued by this matchup, as NFL.com's Elliot Harrison notes it as one of 12 must-watch games of the 2012 season.
Related Story: The Ten Must-Watch Bengals Games Of The 2012 Season
Palmer is sure to get a rude welcoming from the Bengals faithful attending the game. Though the Palmer trade is the biggest storyline of the matchup, it isn't the only interesting spin on the game. Harrison notes:
In another man-versus-working-for-the-man storyline, this game has juice. Carson Palmer is the Bengals' former franchise quarterback that owner Mike Brown said he would never trade. But alas, Palmer was shipped to Oakland last season. And less than a year removed from the trade, it looks as though Brown got the best of the silver and black.
Palmer threw 16 picks in just over half a season on the job. Meanwhile, the Bengals had an extra first-round pick in this year's draft (led to Dre Kirkpatrick being selected) and a conditional second-rounder in 2013 to further stock a young, talented team that includes quarterback Andy Dalton. You can bet Palmer will be motivated to show Dalton and the Bengals that the Raiders came out OK in the deal, too. And in a very odd twist, Palmer will actually be playing against the man who brought him to Oakland: Hue Jackson. Fired by the Raiders in January, Jackson has returned to the Bengals' staff.
There's multiple storylines in play here. What's surprising though, is that this game wasn't slated for primetime. Many of us figured that the Bengals would have a couple of primetime games (they have three in 2012) and that this game would definitely be one of them. For some reason, the schedule-makers didn't feel the need to pin it to primetime. Nevertheless, the stadium will be rocking and the noise-level will be high and the overall atmosphere will be crazy.
The Ravens and Steelers both come in on this list. Baltimore's rematch of last year's AFC Title game against the Patriots comes in at No.4 on the list, and Pittsburgh's rematch of last year's playoff game to the Denver Broncos comes in at No.12.