Raiders key matchup No. 2: Palmer vs. Haden

December 1, 2012, 5:54 pm
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Editor's note: This is the second part in a series that spotlights three Raiders-Browns matchups to watch Sunday, 1:25 p.m. (CBS), at the O.co Coliseum.
Raiders QB Carson Palmer vs. Browns CB Joe HadenTale of the tape
Palmer (3): 6-foot-5, 235 pounds, 10th season, USC
Haden (23): 5-foot-11, 190 pounds, third season, FloridaALAMEDA -- Yes, we know that the muck and mire promised at the Coliseum come Sunday virtually guarantees that the game between the Raiders and Cleveland Browns will be decided in the trenches and by each team's respective running games.But with Carson Palmer's familiarity and success against his former AFC North rivals -- and Joe Haden's emergence as a this-close elite cornerback -- this matchup is too enticing to ignore. Especially with Palmer's need to step up after last week's struggles in his Cincinnati homecoming and the need for the coaching staff and front office to see Terrelle Pryor in a regular season game getting nearer.RELATED: Pryor expected to dress
Palmer is 9-3 against the Browns in his career with 25 touchdowns, 14 interceptions and a passer rating of 90.6. So yeah, he's familiar with Cleveland, even as it now employs a 4-3 defense after years of running the 3-4."Theyve always just been a salty group, a big physical group, that can rush the passer, but really can stop the run, can really push the line of scrimmage," Palmer said. "So, a lot has changed personnel-wise and look-wise but they always seem to be a big physical group that can still rush the passer. Theres a lot of teams that you play, that are really big and physical and are there to stop the run and push the pocket, but they have two guys on the edge that can rush the passer. Just a good, physical group up front."All of which makes Haden that much more effective defending the pass.Since entering the NFL as the No. 7 overall draft pick in 2010, Haden leads the Browns with nine interceptions, including three thus far thus season, as well as 44 pass breakups.And in the Browns' defeat of Pittsburgh last weekend, Haden had a pick."We have really talented players that are starting to develop, and everybody understands their role and they play their roles really well," Haden said. "I think that the defense sometimes might be giving up stuff, but as a whole, our defense really steps up and makes plays."