Oakland Raiders: Carson Palmer and Darren McFadden Ready for Playoff Run

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Oakland Raiders: Carson Palmer and Darren McFadden Ready for Playoff Run
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Now that quarterback Carson Palmer and running back Darren McFadden are finally playing together, they are ready to lead the Oakland Raiders to the NFL playoffs this season.

Palmer joined the team before last year's Week 7 game against the Kansas City Chiefs and was thrown into the mix right away. After being picked off three times in his first half with the team, he got a bye week to begin to learn the offense.

The team failed to make the playoffs last season under Palmer, but it's poised to make the postseason this year. 

Oakland will benefit from having its two star players on the field at the same time.

Last year, Palmer and McFadden never played a game together. McFadden missed the final 11 weeks with an injury. He will try to stay healthy and help the team compete in the division.

With Philip Rivers and Peyton Manning in the division, the AFC West will be one of the toughest divisions to win. McFadden will be the key for the Raiders this season.

The quarterback and running back are beginning to develop chemistry together, and it will be an explosive offense when they begin to click.

 

Carson Palmer

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

According to ESPN.com, Palmer went only two games without throwing an interception with Oakland. A lot of that was due to him trying to learn the system quickly.

The 13 touchdowns and 16 interceptions thrown marked the first time in his career in which he threw more picks than scores. In 2012, he will benefit from a full offseason to learn the new system. 

Palmer has had several months to work with his receivers. Darrius Heyward-Bey and Denarius Moore both benefited from the new quarterback last season, and they will continue to put up big numbers.

Moore has the speed to get behind defenders, and Palmer throws a great deep ball. That combination will lead to many big plays for the Oakland offense.

The 32-year-old quarterback had to lead the offense last year with McFadden out, which was difficult without his star running back. 

A consistent running game will take the pressure off of Palmer, and it will force the defense to load the box. The passing game will be able to thrive with an explosive running game.

 

Darren McFadden

Through six games last season, McFadden was on pace to top 1,000 rushing yards. 

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

A foot injury forced him to miss the rest of the season, and Michael Bush replaced him. Bush filled in nicely, but he was not as explosive as McFadden is as a runner.

In the past two seasons, the 24-year-old McFadden has averaged more than five yards per carry. Bush averaged less than four yards per carry last season, so it will help the offense when its starting running back is healthy.

Not only can he run the football, but he also serves as a pass-catching back. He has caught at least 19 passes in every season since he has been in the league. Injuries have prevented him from putting up huge numbers.

The Raiders need a big season from McFadden. An effective running game will help Palmer make plays down the field, and it will lead to points being put up consistently.

 

Outcome

Oakland's season depends on McFadden's health. A healthy running back will make it easy on Palmer, and the team will be in playoff contention.

The postseason is possible even if McFadden goes down, but it will take a great season by Palmer. He has the arm to lead a team to the playoffs.

Palmer has finally had time to learn the system and establish chemistry with his receivers. When the quarterback plays with his running back for the first time, Raiders fans will see how explosive this offense can be.

The Raiders are in a tough division, but Palmer and McFadden have the talent to lead this team into the postseason. 

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