There are exactly two scenarios where I'd be sitting here thunderstruck and gobsmacked Sunday evening after the Saints game, thinking "well, THAT was a big deal..."
A) The Seahawks win! Not only would a 6-4 mark give Seattle a hammer-lock on the NFC West (with their closest competition likely STL at 4-6 after a home loss to Atlanta), but it would allow us fans to start thinking bigger than winning the division and hosting a Wild Card game. A win in New Orleans would also immeasurably change the narrative of the national football press regarding the Seahawks for the better.
B) The Seahawks not only lose, but suffer another rash of injuries. The most devastating possibility is Hasselbeck aggravating his wrist injury, leaving our playoff hopes in the hands of Charlie Whitehurst.
A mere loss, even if it's a blowout, simply wouldn't be that big of a deal. Yeah, if we get blown out, I'll be upset (like I am after every loss); Every Twelve will be. Some people are talking about this as a "must win" in terms of our chances of going beyond simply winning the NFC West, but I think that applies much more to the mentality of us Twelves than anything tangible about what might happen in the playoffs two months from now.
I really believe these are no longer the mentally fragile Seahawks we've seen at so many points in the past; even if they get outplayed Sunday, I doubt that would have ANY discernible impact on a possible rematch with New Orleans in the playoffs, or on how the Seahawks would play against any post-season opponent. Sure, we'll hear a lot of shit talked about our boys if they lose on Sunday, but I can fight through my bruised ego and hurt feelings with the knowledge that we still are in a great position to make the playoffs.
Even if Seattle loses, they'll likely be all alone in first at 5-5, because in addition to STL's tough assignment against the Falcons, the Cardinals have to go to Arrowhead and face a pissed KC team, and the Niners host the 6-3 Bucs. It's reasonable to think the whole division goes 0-4 Sunday- embarrassing on one level, but on balance good news for the Seahawks.
Obviously, the TEAM isn't looking at Sunday's game this way. That would be fucking stupid. I have no doubt they'll hit the Superdome turf with the same intensity they brought to Soldier Field and University of Phoenix Stadium, and offer up a competitive performance... But the simple fact is that our primary goal is to win our division, and a loss Sunday can really only knock us off the track towards that goal if we suffer additional, significant injuries.
I guess my message to all you Twelves this week is to take a breath, relax, and appreciate the great position the team is in now: Building towards the future, but with a real chance for success this season, regardless of Sunday's result.
If the Hawks actually win? Then, shit will have gotten mad real.
What do you think, sirs?