Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 7/16/12
The Oakland Raiders have weapons on both sides of the ball to be a legit candidate in the AFC West. The problem is they can't stay healthy. The division got stronger with the addition of Peyton Manning to the Denver Broncos and healthy Matt Cassel should make this a fun division to watch. If Darren McFadden can stay healthy the Raiders can make a run at it. That leads to the 3 questions that the team has going in to camp!   1. Can Darren McFadden stay healthy for an entire NFL Season? Since being drafted in the NFL in 2008, McFadden has played in 13 games in 2008, 12 games in 2009, 13 games in 2010 and his fewest 7 games in 2011. When healthy he shows he can be a feature back. Last year, he averaged 5.4 yards per carry while rushing for 614 yards on 113 attempts.    2. How well will Carson Palmer play in his first full season with the team? The Raiders acquired Palmer before the trade deadline in a deal that included the team's first first round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft and a conditional pick in the 2013 draft. Palmer had 4 games throwing for over 300 yards but also had 3 games with 3 or more thrown interceptions. Palmer did finish the 2011 season with a 102.6 quarterback rating with 417 yards and 2 touchdowns in a loss to the Chargers. What Carson Palmer will show up this year?   3. Will the defense play to an elite level in 2012? A big question for this team is defense and with the addition of Peyton Manning to the division it will be a big thing if the team wants to compete in the division this season. The Raiders ranked 27th against the pass without a healthy Matt Cassel and playing Peyton Manning twice while also ranking tied for 30th with points allowed per game and 27th against the run.   Those 3 questions being asked, the team did finish 8-8 on the season and finished 1 game away from winning the division. A better Carson Palmer and a full season from McFadden could lead to a playoff run for the Raiders in 2012!

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