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ROTB Roundtable: Tyrann Mathieu, Playoff Scenarios, and Offensive Gameplans

As the Cardinals try to make their final push for the Playoffs, several questions still surround the team.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Writing Staff took their shot at answering three of these in this week's roundtable edition.

Don't forget to answer the questions yourself in the comments below!

1) What is your initial reaction to the Tyrann Mathieu injury?  How much will this impact the team (and the playoff hopes) as a whole?

Khodder: I am utterly gutted for the kid, but I don't think is will actually impact the team too badly overall on defense. While Mathieu did do a range of things on defense we can either slide Powers inside and Cason outside, or my preferred option, Arenas to come into the slot and basically do what Mathieu was. It also allows the underrated Rashad Johnson to get more time on the field. He has impressed me in the snaps he has had this year and came up with a nifty INT vs the Rams. Hopefully we get to see a lot more Johnson, some more Arenas and maybe even a little less Bell with this injury.

Long story short, gutted for Mathieu, don't think the impact will be too big.

Jesse Reynolds: Heart break. The kid has gone through so much and I feel so bad for him. I think the impact to the team will be noticeable as we may start seeing slot receivers having more success against us. At the very least we will see if Arenas is worth keeping around because is a crap kick returner.

D.L. Parsons: Terrible injury to the player. Bad loss for the team, as I agree that it will take two players to replace him. As for impact, well, it's time for the next guy (s) to step up.

Jess Root: I could tell it was serious by how the players on the field were reacting -- that is how you can always tell if the player will miss significant time. I just shook my head. The kid plain loves football. Obviously it is a loss for the team. As for the playoff hopes, I don't think his absence changes anything there. However, what it will force the team to do is use more of its defensive backs. It gives Antoine Cason and Javier Arenas opportunities to show they deserve to be on the field.

2) With these final three games remaining, what is the most likely scenario that the Cardinals make the Playoffs?

Khodder: There is not a likely scenario. Arizona and the playoffs right now is a mighty long shot. We are relying on one of Atlanta or New York (As well as New Orleans) to beat Carolina so they finish 10-6. We then need to finish 11-5 or 10-6 to make the playoffs. The hitch in that plan is that if SF also finishes 10-6 along with us and Carolina it will be the Panther and the 49ers who will go to the playoffs.

Basically it is hope. We need to go 3-0. We need to get to 11-5 and then hope/pray that we get help from the Falcons, Jets or Buccaneers in leading one or both of the 49ers and Panthers to finish 10-6.

We do not control out own destiny. And the possibility that we finish 11-5 and miss the playoffs is very real.

Jesse Reynolds: Cardinals have to win out, that's pretty much their only hope unless Carolina loses out which I think is unlikely.

D.L. Parsons: I don't see it happening. Can't expect to get much help from the Panthers' remaining opponents.Cards may be too busy reading their own press notices, and overlook Tennessee. Cards will NOT beat BOTH SEA and SF.Perhaps SF, but the Niners seem to know that, if they come in to our stadium and start out the game being pushy, physically aggressive and cocky, it usually unnerves the Cards enough to cause them to lose their cool. Cards will be this year's Best Team To Miss The Playoffs.

Jess Root: I am not optimistic. To get past the Niners, they have to finish one game better. That is tough to do when you are one game behind with three games to play -- especially when the Niners are playing the Bucs and Falcons. The Panthers are the Cards' only hope. Arizona just has to catch them. That really is the only way to go. The Cards could still lose one game and get in if the Panthers lose twice. I honestly expect 9-7. I hope for 11-5, I think 10-6 is a good possibility, but I think 9-7 is still the most likely end.

3) We've seen this offense perform from its best to its worst.  After 13 games, what do you think is the most successful offensive game-plan for the Cardinals to utilize?

Khodder: I think what we saw vs the Rams is part of it. I think it also involves what we saw vs the Falcons in terms of getting Ellington involved to the extent that his ability demands.

Balance is the key. 65 offense snaps you want 30 odd carries and 35 odd passes.

Get the ball in the hands of your playmakers. Three key guys right now are Floyd, Fitz and Ellington. Use Ellington on the ground. Get the ball in the hands of Fitz and Floyd and let them create YAC.

Help the offensive line; Short passes that generate YAC. Much easier against a team that is going to blitz, allowing you to hit your hot reads.

Take your shots. Floyd and Fitz are both guys that are going to win the majority of the jump ball situations they find themselves in. Take those shots. Give these guys a chance to go up and attack the ball in 1 v 1 coverage down the field.

Utilize the screen game.

Run multiple plays from the same look; Take deep shots from run heavy formations, use playaction.

Jesse Reynolds: Against the Rams the quick attack was very successful. Sure the numbers weren't gaudy but it nullified the pass rush and takes advantage of the size the Cardinals have at WR with Fitzgerald and Floyd. The Titans are an underrated team that has had a very hard schedule so I hope the Cardinals come ready to play.

D.L. Parsons: Continue the quick attack. It doesn't allow the pass rush to get to Palmer. This also helps the tackles. Enforce the running game. Get Ellington more touches. More of what they did against the Rams.

Jess Root: I like seeing commitment to the running game -- 30 rushes. Really, they just need to keep doing what they have been doing. They have been good enough offensively. Take shots down the field when they are there, but just keep moving the ball.