Who Will Be the Oakland Raiders’ MVP in 2012?

We’ve reached the second-worst time of the sports year (only the horrific doldrums of February are worse), as only baseball is around to keep us company.

The NBA season has ended with LeBron finally getting his ring, and now all we can do is sit around and wait for the glorious football season to return. To paraphrase Green Day, wake me up when September begins.

In the meantime, we can continue to speculate about what to expect from the 2012 NFL season, especially regarding the greatest of all football teams, the Oakland Raiders.

If you believe in Vegas odds-makers, the Raiders aren’t a very good bet to win the Super Bowl next season—online sportsbook Bovada.net currently has the Silver and Black at 65-to-1. The Titans, Seahawks, Dolphins and Redskins are all seen as more like to win the title; that’s fairly humbling.

If the Raiders want to beat the odds-makers, it’s going to come down to one man: Carson Palmer. There is no question that Palmer will be the key to the Raiders’ success (or lack thereof).

There was a time when Palmer was seen as one of the few elite quarterbacks in this league, playing well enough to warrant a $118 extension. Then Kimo von Oelhoffen fatefully rolled into Palmer’s leg in the 2006 Wild Card round, causing a catastrophic knee injury.

Palmer has never really been the same since, although he has shown glimpses of his former brilliance now and then.

In the past few years, Palmer has shown a penchant for costly interceptions, while also squeezing the ball into tight windows for incredible completions, causing many a fan to rewind the DVR and ask “Did you just see that?”

He’s been very Jekyll-and-Hyde for the last few years. Why should we believe this year will be any different?

Although Palmer has been paired with some dynamic receivers in his career (T.J. Houshmandzadeh...

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