Al Davis Would Have Loved Carson Palmer and These Oakland Raiders

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Al Davis Would Have Loved Carson Palmer and These Oakland Raiders
Harry How/Getty Images
Carson Palmer Has Brought Big Plays Back To the Oakland Raiders

It's too bad Al Davis isn't around to see the present day Oakland Raiders (5-4). He would have loved the way his team is playing football right now, with an emphasis on speed and big plays.

Davis, who passed away on Oct. 8, always coveted players who could stretch the field and make impact plays. The Raiders have emerged as an explosive passing team, and quarterback Carson Palmer is the main reason why.

Palmer, who was acquired from Cincinnati for a first- and second-round draft pick, has taken advantage of the Raiders speedy skill players. In the two and half games he's played for Oakland this season, Palmer has completed 18 passes of 20 yards or more. That's two more 20-plus yard plays than the Raiders had in six weeks with Jason Campbell.

After studying the Raiders games, it was clear that Campbell, who broke his collarbone in Week 6 against the Cleveland Browns, is better at throwing intermediate passes than deeper routes. Palmer, on the other hand, is almost the opposite. Palmer's intermediate throws are reckless at times, while his deep passes are more accurate.

Of Palmer's 18 passes of 20-plus yards, eight of them have gone for 30 yards or more, five have gone for 40 yards or longer and two have gone for 50-plus yards. The Raiders are currently ranked second in the league, behind only the Houston Texans, for the most yards per pass completion with 13.1.

Palmer, meanwhile, is averaging more than 315 yards passing per game, and the average distance of his five touchdowns has been 33 yards (TD passes: 58, 18, 40, 26, 33 yards).

The news gets better for Palmer, as the Minnesota Vikings are next on the schedule for the Raiders. The Vikings rank 30th against the pass currently, allowing 272 yards per game. The Vikings have also given up 18 passing touchdowns this season, which ranks them second to last in the league.

Oakland's new found big play pass offense should bode well for their playoff push. Add a healthy Darren McFadden (foot) and Jacoby Ford (ankle) to the offensive mix, and the Palmer-led Raiders should be considered the favorites in the AFC West division.

Fantasy football impact: Palmer is a very good option at quarterback this week and going forward, especially if you own the injured Matt Schaub, Matt Cassel or Michael Vick. The other player I really like going forward is rookie WR Denarius Moore. Moore has had two nice games with Palmer at the helm, including a five catch, 123 yard and two TD performance last week against the San Diego Chargers. Look for the duo to get even better as the season winds down.

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