Oakland Raiders Week 12 Preview: Carson Returns Home to Face Cincinnati

A disheartening three-game losing streak has relegated the Oakland Raiders to a position of spoiler and the 2012 season has officially shifted the team mindset into that of rebuilding mode. In their losses to Tampa Bay, at Baltimore, and against New Orleans, the Raiders allowed an unsightly 145 points. That is 45 points per game and if they continue along that pace, this team will threaten the 1981 Baltimore Colts in terms of points allowed in a 16 game season (the Colts surrendered 533). 

This week, a lot of the emotion that has been seemingly lacking in the last couple of weeks should not be in short supply as quarterback Carson Palmer returns to the franchise he led for seven seasons, the Cincinnati Bengals. To his credit, Palmer has been complimentary while insisting that he needed a change of scenery professionally. But it doesn't take much of a mind reader to understand that Palmer would love nothing more than to beat his former team and put a dent in their playoff aspirations.

To do that, the Raiders will have to be better defensively. When Palmer has thrown for 300 yards or more in his career, his teams are 5-21, including 1-8 as the quarterback in Oakland. That means the Raiders need balance and to keep the game close enough to where Palmer is not obligated to throw the ball all over the field.

It has been a broken record all year long, but it starts with making a team one-dimensional. The Bengals have great skill players, led by second-year wunderkind A.J. Green. The University of Georgia wideout has caught a touchdown pass in nine straight games, just four short of Jerry Rice's NFL record of 13. It would make sense for the Raiders to double Green and force Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton to look elsewhere in the passing.

However, if the Raiders don't stop the run, they won't have the luxury of doing anything like that. The math has been pretty simple for the Raiders this year: In th...

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