The Oakland Raiders have a great shot at making the playoffs this season. They got off to a really good start but got hit by the injury bug and started to struggle. They made a few trades, got healthier and got back on track. They are now sitting first in their division and have a one-game lead over the Denver Broncos.
Here are five players who will lead the Raiders to the playoffs.
Palmer got off to a rough start in Oakland. He lost his first two games with the Raiders, throwing a total of six interceptions. He looked extremely rusty and flat-out struggled. As the year progressed, Palmer has settled into this offense and has been very productive.
He has won three straight games as the starting quarterback. If Palmer can continue managing the game on offense and reduce the interceptions, he will lead the Raiders into the playoffs.
Seymour has been playing great football on the defensive line this year. He brings a lot of experience and athletic ability to this Raider defense. Seymour knows what it takes to be a playoff contender.
So far, Seymour has six sacks and continues to be a force up the middle. If he can keep applying pressure on the quarterback, he will lead this Raider team to the playoffs.
McFadden has been injured with a sprained foot for the past several weeks. Before he was injured, McFadden was one of the best running backs in the league and he seemed to be unstoppable.
McFadden should be returning to the starting lineup within the next two weeks. If he does, the Raiders offense will be even scarier. If McFadden is fully healthy, he will be a big part in why the Raiders make it to the playoffs.
Wimbley is one of the most underrated outside linebackers in the game. He is having a fantastic year, with 45 tackles, seven sacks and one interception. Wimbley is constantly making plays around the ball and is a force to be reckoned with on defense, making big-time plays at the right time.
Wimbley is a big factor why the Raiders will make the playoffs.
Veldheer is a big key to the Raiders' success. In his second year, Veldheer plays one of the most important positions on the offensive line. He has had to go up against some of the league's best defensive ends and he has done a great job.
Veldheer protects Carson Palmer's blindside in the pocket and is a main contributor to why the Raiders running attack excels. If Veldheer can continue this great play for the rest of the season, the Raiders offense will be tough to stop and he will be a big reason why the make the playoffs.
Sebastian Janikowski: Janikowski is 22-of-24 on field-goal attempts and can knock down a 60-yarder on any given drive.
Shane Lechler: Lechler is the best punter in the NFL. He silenced Devin Hester this past weekend with an 80-yard punt.
Rolando McClain: McClain is having a great season as the Raiders' middle linebacker. He leads this stingy defense and has a bright future.
Stanford Routt: Routt has been playing great ball all year long. He has been succeeding even if the Raiders have an injury-plagued secondary.