The NFL issued the following Monday, and all of it comes down to one fundamental truth: If the Seahawks, who are already in the playoffs, beat the Rams at home on Sunday they will have achieved everything they set as their goal for this regular season defending their Super Bowl title.
If they lose -- or if on the one in-almost-500 chance Green Bay and Detroit tie -- the Seahawks could be the second, third, fifth or sixth seed.
There have been exactly 20 ties in the NFL in 9,556 regular-season games over the last 40 seasons, since the NFL first introduced overtime to its regular season. That makes it a 1 in 478 chance the Packers and Lions end in an overtime tie on Sunday.
One of those 20 ties was in October, Carolina at Cincinnati 37-37. There has been one tie in each of the last three seasons, the first time that's happened since 1987-89. USA Today called this "The Golden Era For NFL Ties" -- yet we are talking all of one per season for just three years.
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That's why if the Seahawks beat the Rams they almost definitely, absolutely, certainly will be the NFC's No. 1 seed.
--Coach Pete Carroll said today it's "more than a couple times" Marshawn Lynch has been affected by nausea before games. The coach said his star running back who missed the first quarter last weekend at Arizona with what the team said was an upset stomach "has a ritual" to get through it before each game, and at the start of the Cardinals game the timing of him getting through it went past the opening kickoff.
--Carroll said center Max Unger will not practice until Wednesday at the earliest and that he has been slowed in his return from a high-ankle sprain. When asked whether Lemuel Jeanpierre or Patrick Lewis, who excelled along with the rest of Seattle's offensive line when the Seahawks rolled up a team-record 596 yards last weekend in the 35-6 win at Arizona, would start against St. Louis if Unger misses his sixth consecutive games Carroll said only "we'll see."
--Left tackle Russell Okung returned to practice today after he missed all of last week's drills plus the Cardinals game with a bruised lung. Looks like Okung is going to be able to play against the Rams. Second-year man Alvin Bailey was great holding off Arizona's Calais Campbell in Okung's place -- Bailey shut him out after Campbell had three sacks of Russell Wilson against Okung and rookie right tackle Justin Britt last month.
--Carroll marveled at how rapidly cornerback Tharold Simon is rebounding from his shoulder popping out of place during the Arizona game. Even though Carroll implied there was structural damage he says Simon is making a push to play against the Rams. If he does, Seattle again has options when they go with five defensive backs, with either starting cornerback Byron Maxwell or Jeremy Lane inside as the nickel back and Simon coming in at corner.
--The Pro Bowl selections are going to be announced shortly after 5 p.m. Pacific Time tonight live on NFL Network.
Cornerback Richard Sherman is almost assured of being selected by votes of the coaches, players and fans. Sherman says he's going to be ticked if the Seahawks have "only" five players picked, but I'm not sure they'll get that many. I think it will be Sherman, Earl Thomas for sure, likely Russell Wilson as the third quarterback with Aaron Rodgers and Tony Romo -- then ???
Before you fire away: I'm not saying who should be picked. I'm just not sure the league and nation appreciates what defensive end Michael Bennett does for this defense, and invaluable middle linebacker Bobby Wagner missed five games with foot injuries.