Cincinnati quarterbacks past and present will square off Sunday night.
Carson Palmer, drafted No. 1 overall by the Bengals in 2004, brings the Arizona Cardinals (7-2) into prime time against Andy Dalton and Cincinnati (8-1) in a matchup of the first-place teams in the NFC West and AFC North.
Palmer forced his way out of Cincinnati, holding out the first six games of the 2011 season and has had a career rebirth in Arizona. Directing the NFL's No.1-ranked offense in a season, Palmer is second to Tom Brady in touchdown passes (23) and quarterback rating (108).
"This is not just another game," Palmer said.
Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said there are "a lot of positive memories" of Palmer.
"But, you know, Carson plays for the Cardinals now," Lewis said. "So we shouldn't dwell on Carson. He's a fine player. We drafted him number one overall. He was an outstanding player here, and person. He's left a lot to build on here."
Dalton has started every game since he came into the NFL in 2011 in the midst of Palmer's bitter holdout and subsequent trade to Oakland.
The Bengals were cruising through an unbeaten season before the offense stalled in Monday night's 10-6 home loss to the Houston Texans.
Dalton completed 22 of 38 passes for a season-low 197 yards with one interception. For the first time this season, Dalton did not throw a touchdown pass.
Palmer, meanwhile, overcame two lost fumbles, throwing for three scores and directing two late touchdown drives in Arizona's 39-32 victory at Seattle.
Arizona will play in its second straight Sunday night game. The Bengals will appear in prime time for the third game in a row (Thursday, Monday and Sunday nights).