Why Carson Palmer Will Lead Oakland Raiders to AFC West Championship

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Why Carson Palmer Will Lead Oakland Raiders to AFC West Championship
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

With the Oakland Raiders in sole possession of first place in the AFC West, Carson Palmer has a great opportunity to bring the AFC West championship to Oakland for the first time since 2002.

Palmer got off to a horrible start in his first two appearances totaling six interceptions. Last week against the San Diego Chargers, Palmer showed his true potential.

Carson Palmer finished the game 14 of 20 for 299 yards, two touchdowns and an interception en route to a 24-17 Raiders' victory over the San Diego Chargers.

The Oakland Raiders lost Darren McFadden in Week 7 against the Kansas City Chiefs, but Carson Palmer has been able to guide the team in his absence.

Palmer has been greatly helped out by Michael Bush who is playing for a contract in 2012, and has shined in the absence of McFadden.

When looking at the AFC West, there really isn't too much to be threatened by. 

The Kansas City Chiefs lost starting quarterback Matt Cassel for some time in Week 10 due to a hand injury, and the Chiefs will be left with second year quarterback Tyler Palko.

Tim Tebow has regained the starting quarterback position for the Denver Broncos, and we all know that a team cannot consistently win when your quarterback has a completion percentage of 44.8.

With both Kansas City and Denver out of the way, that leaves the San Diego Chargers.

San Diego had high expectations for Philip Rivers in 2011 and he has fallen well short of those expectations. Rivers has thrown for 2,743 yards, 13 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.

Rivers previous career high for interceptions was 15 back in 2007. After making the leap into the elite quarterback category in 2010, Rivers has regressed in 2011.

After seeing what Carson Palmer can do last Thursday night, it isn't absurd for one to say that he is the best quarterback in the AFC West.

With the Raiders having four games left against teams with sub-par .500 records, the AFC West is theirs to lose.

Carson Palmer is the leader of the Raiders now. Palmer took the Cincinnati Bengals to the playoffs in 2005 and 2009, so this isn't anything new to Palmer.  

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