Raiders key matchup No. 1: Palmer vs. Steelers defense

September 23, 2012, 3:56 pm
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EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the final part in a series that spotlighted three Raiders-Steelers matchups to watch Sunday, 1:25 p.m. (CBS) at Coliseum.

Matchup No. 3: Michael Huff vs. Mike Wallace
Matchup No. 2: Richard Seymour vs. Ben Roethlisberger

Raiders QB Carson Palmer vs. the Steelers' defense
Tale of the tape
Palmer: 6-foot-5, 235 pounds, 10th season, USC
Steelers defense: No. 1 overall in 2011 -- No. 1 against the pass, No. 8 against the runIt would be a huge understatement to say Palmer is intimately familiar with the Steelers defense. All he did as a quarterback in Cincinnati was prepare to face the Steelers twice a year from 2003 through 2010, plus a playoff game.And in 12 career regular season starts against the Steelers, he has a passer rating of 76.7, having completed 57.1 percent of his passes with 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.So yeah, he has an inkling as to what to expect from the Steelers, even if strong safety Troy Polamalu and linebacker James Harrison are sitting this one out due to injury."There's some different pieces to the puzzle, but it's really the same scheme," Palmer said. "But as far as preparing for a fist fight in the trenches, battles on the outside and getting rid of the ball on time and finding ways to run the ball, thats the way you prepare for them every time you play against them. Its the No. 1 defense in the league, it seems like, every year, every couple of years."So, you just know going into the game that its going to be a fist fight for four quarters."With the Raiders struggling so mightily to run the ball through three games as they implement their new zone-blocking scheme and West Coast Offense, they don't figure to get their running game up and, well, running against the Steelers this week either.Which would put even more of the onus on Palmer, whose 670 passing yards lead the AFC.And Steelers coach Mike Tomlin sees Palmer cutting a familiar figure."You know, he looks like Carson," said Tomlin, who is 4-2 against Palmer. "Hes highly accurate, hes very good in play-pass. He can turn his back to the defense and come up throwing, he has better mobility than people give him credit for. Hes a competitor. Got a great deal of respect for Carson Palmer."Still, there were questions about the 32-year-old Palmer's arm strength coming into this season. Fears that Palmer squashed this week."My arm feels great," said Palmer, who has thrown 94 passes in two games and completed 56 of them. "My arm feels great and hopefully, I pray that I continue to stay healthy. But my arm feels great."It will feel even better with a defeat of the Steelers.