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But “underdog” wasn’t uttered this week around the Seahawks practice facility.

“It’s kind of funny because Pete always says, ‘Hey, I don’t care who they bring in here _ they could bring in the world champs!’ And the irony is they are really bringing in the world champs, so there you go,” Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said. “But he has been saying that from day one, and he’s been saying it for practice even.”

A Seattle upset would be quite the big deal and at least silence some of the criticism lobbed toward the Pacific Northwest after Seattle won the NFC West with a 7-9 record. Even their own fans are skeptical of what the Seahawks accomplished _ as of Friday morning there were still tickets available.

Asked if the Seahawks needed to apologize for backing into the postseason while 10-win teams like the New York Giants and Tampa Bay have cleaned out their locker, Hasselbeck looked incredulous.

“Apologize to who?” Hasselbeck said. “I’m not going to apologize for that.”

If Seattle’s going to have a chance to at least threaten the Saints, they’ll need another huge game from Hasselbeck, in what could be his final home game with the Seahawks. Hasselbeck’s 366 yards against the Saints was the fourth-best performance of his career, but Seattle settled for four field goals when touchdowns are required to keep up with the Saints offense.

It’d also help if Seattle’s defense could get a stop. Last time, the Saints scored touchdowns on five straight possessions in the second and third quarters and punted only once. Seattle did hold St. Louis to a season low 184 yards last week in its playoff clinching win, but what the Saints bring offensively is an entirely different beast.

“We’re here, we’ve got our foot in the door, now it’s time to do something with it,” Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch said. “That was just the first step. Now we’ve got to put some things together and make a run at the big show.”