SEATTLE -- Seahawks Spirit is taking over Seattle as fans gear up for Saturday's big playoff game against the defending Super Bowl champs the New Orleans Saints.
The 12th Man flag was hoisted atop the Space Needle early Blue Friday, as Seattle goes blue to support the team's first playoff game in four years.
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and Captain Keith Colburn, one of the stars from The Deadliest Catch, helped raised the flag.
I've got a good feeling! said Colburn.
McGinn made a bet with New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. If the Hawks beat the Saints, Landrieu will send Louisiana seafood, gumbo and music from New Orleans. If the Saints beat the Hawks, McGinn sends Landrieu Pacific seafood, including smoked salmon, Top Pot doughtnuts and music from the Seattle scene.
He feels pretty good about his team's chances, but we've got the 12th Man, said McGinn.
We have the best fan base in the nation, said Colburn. I think the mayor and I are going to be eating shrimp here in about a week.
Early morning outside of Qwest Field, die-hard tailgaters already began staking out their claim at Hawk Alley, where tailgaters will be out in droves.
KING 5's Christie Johnson got the tailgating party started early around 5 a.m. with Hawk One, the Bing Regional Tailgating Champions, and learned a few tips of tailgating. Hawk One's rig is outfitted with vintage Seahawks memorabilia and hosts hundreds of people each game day.
Businesses were also showing off their team spirit. Top Pot Doughnuts served up special Seahawks-inspired doughnuts with blue, green and silver sprinkles. They also offered customers wearing Seahawks jerseys a free donut of their choice.
And the ultimate fans are coming out in droves. Some may know Patti Hammond as Mama Blue, who has stood by her beloved Seahawks for 35 years. Despite a losing record and resounding lack of respect across the league, Mama Bluefully expects the Seahawks to win Saturday's playoff game.
The Super Bowl champs are coming in. So, what? They're just another team. It don't matter to me. I believe in them, she says.
Fans are showing off their blue too as they share their 12th Man photos from this year and years past. Send to Your News or cc us on Twitter, @KING5seattle.
Foofball expert: Injuries, 12th Man, weather are factors
Football experts are weighing in on Saturday's playoff game. The Saints are favored to win by 10.5 points over the Hawks, but a long road trip and significant injuries to their starting lineup may equalize the playing field more.
Their biggest weapon is Drew Brees. The guy threw for 4,600 yards this year and he's done it all: won the Super Bowl last year, very experienced quarterback. And he has some weapons when it comes to receivers, said KING 5 Sports Director Paul Silvi. We know about their injuries at running back, but he also has Reggie Bush, the guy who did not play against the Seahawks in the November game. Having Bush back is something the Seahawks will have to contend with for sure.
Silvi says the Seahawks defense has said they feed off the 12th Man. The defense held off the Rams at the last home game, and the defense will be key for the game against the Saints.
I think the biggest thing is the Saints suffer the injuries at running back...Their top two running backs are gone, so that's going to be the big key for these guys, said Silvi. If the Seahawks can somehow make the Saints more one-dimensional where they don't have the running game like they had in November and throughout the season, that's really going to help the Seahawks.
CLICK HERE to read the game preview live chat with KING 5 Sports Director Paul Silvi and WWL-TV New Orleans Sports Director Jim Henderson.
The experts from NBC's Foodball Night America think the Saints will win, but former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungee says the homefield advantage may favor the Hawks in an upset.
Dude, Ilike the Saints, but there are a couple of things that help the Seahawks. Number one, that crowd, that noise. If they can really hurt the protection of New Orleans because of the crowd noise, that will help. And it's outdoors. It could be bad weather. They could get a rainy day and that may slow Drew Brees down, said Dungee. CLICK HERE for playoff gate forecast
The Football Night America experts also noted that the Saints aren't getting a lot of interceptions this year, but their aggressive defense is causing a lot of fumbles.
You can watch the Seahawks battle the New Orleans Saints in the Wildcard playoff game on KING 5 Saturday at 1:30 p.m. PT.