We have clarity with the playoff picture now. Four teams remain in each conference. The Seahawks will start next weekend's divisional-round games when they play the Saints at 1:35 p.m. A lot of people, me included, feel the Seahawks matchup very well with the Saints. Las Vegas has the Seahawks as at least a touchdown favorite.
Now consider the Mother of All Doomsday Scenarios: What if the Hawks don’t even reach the Super Bowl? How will their otherwise terrific season, which found them either setting or tying nine team records, be judged?
It will be judged harshly by a sports community where attention spans are short, and memory banks are long.
Seahawks fans might be unfamiliar with the experience of watching substantial favorites unraveling in the postseason, but those who followed the Mariners and SuperSonics know all about stunning collapses.
McGrath also wrote a column saying the Seahawks need to forget their earlier victory over New Orleans, because the Saints won't. You can check that out here.
For today's paper, I wrote about Golden Tate. At times, it seems his name should be changed to Humble Brag. His college coach, Charlie Weis, contends Tate is not arrogant.
“I wouldn’t call him arrogant because arrogant, I think, has a negative connotation,” Weis said. “I’d say he’s cocky and confident.”
Weis takes great pleasure in busting Tate's chops. They remained friendly after Tate left Notre Dame and Weis has a bunch of nice things to say about Tate.
Obviously, Tate's future as an unrestricted free agent following this season is one of the questions hanging over the Seahawks. Tate said being a free agent is "way, way, way in the back" of his mind.
"It’s something I won’t think about until the season is over with,” Tate said. “That’s something I’ll let the people upstairs worry about. I’ll let my agents do their work. That’s why I hired them. My job is to play football. I’m trying to keep it as simple as possible. Play football and do my job, and let the rest work out.
“We have a chance to be very, very special. I don’t want to selfishly take away from myself or this team by worrying about what’s going to happen next year or what’s going to happen ... will I be here or not? I’m just playing football right now.
"I’ve done what I needed to do to set myself up, regardless if it is here or elsewhere," Tate said. "So, I’m just going to show up to work every day and try to prove myself some more. We’ll see."
One thing that didn't make it into the story: I asked Tate, who is the third Golden in his family, how the name came about.
"Nothing really crazy about it; the first one was named Golden and they passed it down," Tate said. "I just figure someone was wasted at some point."
Couple housekeeping things:
> Pete Carroll is on 710 ESPN at 9:30 a.m. He speaks with reporters in a brief press conference afterward.
> We'll have a live chat at 3 p.m. See you there.
> Syndicated columnist Norman Chad is not among those rooting for the Seahawks.
> 710 ESPN says the Saints and Seahawks will look different this time around.
> ESPN.com writes about Marshawn Lynch not talking and the subsequent fine he received.
> Seahawks.com says it's not all about the Saints for Seattle.
> Can the Saints beat the Seahawks in CenturyLink?
> Sean Payton says the Seahawks are on a roll and present a great challenge for New Orleans.
> A Times-Picayune columnist says the Saints' win Saturday was their grittiest since taking the Super Bowl title.
> Saints tight end Jimmy Graham does not have pleasant memories of New Orleans' visit to Seattle earlier this season.
“It was embarrassing, humbling. It was all of the above, I guess you could say,” Graham said. “I certainly won't ever forget that moment. And now we have a great opportunity to prove ourselves against one of the best teams in the NFL. It's gonna be a battle, that's for sure.”
> The Saints' secondary is beat up, which could be a major problem for them Saturday.
> Payton was also pleased with the Saints' road win.
Around the league:
> The San Francisco Chronicle writes that Colin Kaepernick's "coolness in the clutch" led the 49ers to their win in Green Bay.
> A first-look at the Panthers-49ers sequel.
> SI writes that the Chargers could be sleepers.
> NFL.com with what we learned Wild Card weekend.