As the Oakland Raiders prepare for their home game against the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, quarterback Carson Palmer knows that it is a must win. With both teams entering the game with a 1-4 record and the Raiders only one and a half games back in the AFC West, they must string together wins starting this week.
“It’s a must win game for us,” Palmer said. “We had a chance, coach had a chance to put all the standings and the records in the AFC up and show us where we stand. It’s a good football team that plays really good on the road. It feels like it has been a while with last week and the bye but it’s a must win for us. It is an AFC game and an opportunity to start climbing our way back into this race.”
Palmer has played well this season, after finally being able to have a full offseason to develop chemistry and get comfortable in a new offense. The veteran quarterback has thrown for 1434 yards with a completion percentage north of 62 percent and six touchdowns to three interceptions. He threw a key interception last week in a three point road loss to the Atlanta Falcons late in the fourth quarter. He still needs to take care of the ball and improve his decision making, but is showing progression.
One of the major boosts the Raiders have gotten after the bye week is a healthier receiving corps. Denarius Moore is looking much better after a hamstring injury prevented him from taking part in a huge portion of the offseason. Last week he played his best game of the year with five catches for 104 yards and a touchdown. Darrius Heyward-Bey shook off his concussion and returned to the field. He is yet to find his stride with Palmer, but remains a threat. Derek Hagan has been a pleasant surprise after being picked up just before the season. He has caught 14 balls for 187 yards on the season and came up big on the Raiders game tying drive last week.
“We have three or four number one receivers and then a number one tight end and a back on check downs who’s sometimes number one,” Palmer said. “It’s an offense that really spreads the ball out well.”
Oakland comes into the Jacksonville games as the 12th best passing offense in the NFL at 271.4 yards per game. The Jaguars defense allows 261 passing yards per game, which is 23rd in the league.
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