4 Reasons Carson Palmer Can Lead the Raiders Past His Former Team

Jeff Bell@@JrayBellCorrespondent INovember 22, 2012

4 Reasons Carson Palmer Can Lead the Raiders Past His Former Team

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    Carson Palmer is set to take on his former team, the Cincinnati Bengals, in what could be an emotional matchup for many involved.

    It's been over a year since Palmer and the Bengals officially parted ways, but the impact he had on the franchise cannot be understated.

    He lead them to an 11-5 record in his second season as the starting QB, a mark unheard of for a team that had previously toiled in mediocrity for many years.

    But Palmer is with the Oakland Raiders now, and although his team sits at 3-7, you can bet they'll be ready to go this weekend. They played the Atlanta Falcons tough back on Oct. 14th and even beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in September, so they're certainly capable of playing good football.

    But much of the outcome will be riding on the shoulders of Palmer. Here are four reasons why he can lead the Raiders past his former team.

1. Passing Yards Away from Home

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    Carson Palmer has had an up-and-down season thus far, throwing 17 touchdowns but 11 interceptions as well.

    He's also reached the 3,000-yard mark already, and that's due in large part to his play away from home.

    Three of his four highest yardage totals have come on the road, and Sunday could have the same kind of performance in store for Palmer.

    The Bengals are middle of the pack in passing yards allowed. Look for the Raiders to air it out early and often this weekend against Palmer's former team.

2. Pass-First Offense

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    Whether by design or simply a coincidence, the Raiders have become a pass-happy offense in 2012.

    Their leading running back, Darren McFadden, has 455 yards on the season and two touchdowns. They've only scored three touchdowns on the ground, and they average barely 80 yards per game as a team.

    The result has been an unbalanced offense, but one where Carson Palmer has occasionally been able to thrive.

    The Raiders have the sixth-best passing offense in the NFL, and four different receiving targets have gained over 400 yards through the air.

    While the team won't beat you on the ground, the air attack has the potential to hurt opponents. That could mean the Bengals this weekend.

3. Motivation

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    An added level of excitement usually goes along with facing your former team.

    In this interview with CBS, Palmer talks about how disgruntled he became toward the end of his time in Cincinnati. He also mentions how other factors were at play in his decision to not return to the team despite their insistence that they wouldn't trade him.

    The Bengals moved on with rookie Andy Dalton, who turned in an impressive first-year campaign.

    Palmer was eventually traded to the Raiders last season after Jason Campbell was hurt, but it's taken him awhile to get used to his new surroundings.

    Nothing would make him feel better than to walk into his former home and leave with a W.

4. Bengals' Interception Rate

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    The Cincinnati Bengals are 14th in the league in takeaways. And, as we know, winning the turnover battle is the first key to winning a game.

    But only seven teams have fewer interceptions on the year, and if the Bengals don't pose a threat to Palmer, he could have a big day through the air.

    Of course, some teams  can still be good and not force a number of interceptions. (The San Francisco 49ers defense has recorded only eight picks this year.)

    But if the Bengals can't force turnovers they'll have a hard time stopping a Raiders' offense that is capable of putting up a lot of points.