Oakland Raiders fans haven’t had much to boast about in 2012, as their team fell to a disappointing 4-12 record and only finished third in the AFC West because Kansas City were so devastatingly bad.

To make matters worse, local rivals, San Francisco, have risen up in 2012 and now genuinely look like the Superbowl contenders their roster has always promised to be, leaving the Black and Silver to watch from across the bay and mull over another bad year.

One glimmer of hope can come from Oakland’s season, however, and that is the overall performance of quarterback, Carson Palmer, who came just short of a career-best season and looks set to lead this team to greater things in 2013.

Palmer, 33, headed this Raiders side for his second season looking to better the 8-8 record delivered in 2011. However, early defeats to the Chargers and the Dolphins set in a bad run of form and three of the Raiders’ four victories this season came against the lowly Chiefs (x2) and Jacksonville.

Offensively, Oakland were not good enough, as their disappointing standing in most NFL betting odds attested, but Palmer still made ground into the history books in 2012. Despite the fact Oakland ranked 26th in the NFL for average points per game at just 18.1, they placed eighth in the regular season for average passing yards.

Under Palmer, Oakland passed 255.2 yards per game, earning the quarterback 4,018 yards to become only the second ever Raiders QB in history to throw over the 4,000 mark. Had he not had his ribs broken by Panthers linebacker, Greg Hardy, in week 16, he would have gone on to beat his career-best figures of 4,131 set for Cincinnati in 2007.

Heading into the offseason, Raiders fans who placed a bet on NFL will have been disappointed with 2012 but in Palmer there is optimism that their passing game will work in the end.

If head coach, Dennis Allen, can draft in a defensive player or two over the coming months then the Raiders could record a winning season in 2013, with Palmer at the forefront of their charge up the AFC West.

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