By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — The regular season is, thankfully, over.

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I say that both as a spectator (it really drags in December, wouldn’t you say?) and as someone who’s painstakingly picked every game this season and done quite poorly in doing so.

OK, so “quite poorly” is an understatement. It was a dreadful year for me, and though I thought I could end the year on a strong note after an 11-5 showing in Week 15. But a 5-11 response in Week 16 really killed that hope rather swiftly.

When it was all said and done, I owned a pathetic 115-138-3 record, my most pitiful showing in the seven years I’ve made the mistake of trying to pick NFL games. And as a result, my overall record dropped below .500, to 870-880-42.

I feel shame. And that sound you just heard was your own mouse clicking “X” as fast as possible, thanks to my shattered reputation.

But no! Stay! I swear, I vow to refocus my efforts for the postseason so that I may salvage at least a shred of respectability to carry me through the spring and summer and ultimately convince me that I should do this again come Fall 2016.

And if I come up short? Well, you can watch me crash and burn. And isn’t that the most fun possible outcome?

Let’s make some picks!

(Home team in caps; Thursday lines)

Kansas City (-3) over HOUSTON
OK, look. Do I feel great about trusting Andy Reid and Alex Smith on the road, as a favorite, in the playoffs? No. No, I absolutely do not. In fact, it frightens me to a great degree.

Yet I fear that by picking Houston, I may be outfoxing myself. For one, I picked Houston in the 2011 divisional round, and I sat there in terror, realizing I had picked a T.J. Yates-quarterbacked team to win a playoff game. It was horrible.

Am I still scarred by that pick? Yeah, at least a little bit. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t.

But I also feel like I’m smarter because of that pick. And though I found Brian Hoyer to be a nice boy, I’m not going to hitch my wagon to him. Not against that defense. Not on this planet.

CINCINNATI (+3) over Pittsburgh
If this game were being played in the middle of December, then I’d be taking the Steelers even if they had to cover a touchdown. There was no more dangerous team at that point in time than the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, the game will be played on Jan. 9, and things have cooled quite a bit. Losses to the dreadful Ravens will have that effect.

Of course, they were saved by Fitzmagic in Week 17, and so here they are, ready to face a familiar foe that will be without its starting quarterback. In their most recent meeting, the Steelers whooped the Bengals and literally made them fear for their lives. All signs point to Pittsburgh, right?

Well, not quite. For one, Ben Roethlisberger hardly lit up the Cincy D, averaging 272 yards per game while throwing one touchdown and four interceptions. A.J. McCarron, who relieved Dalton in that Week 14 matchup, threw 2 TDs and 2 INTs that day. He’d go on to close out the season with 4 TDs and 0 INTs. That’s not bad, and unlike the Red Rocket, McCarron has at least one signature moment when playing in a huge spotlight.

Secondly, this is January. And defense presumably means something in January.

Yes, the Steelers seem to be able to score at will, but that’s hard to do when you don’t have the ball. And if the Bengals smartly utilize Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard and complement it with contributions from the un-coverable A.J. Green, Marvin Jones and Tyler Eifert against the 21st-ranked , then the Bengals can control the clock and keep the Steelers from even having the chance of going O.K. Corral on Cincy’s turf.

It’s at this point you can show me a photograph of Marvin Lewis in a night game on national TV and cause me to faint.

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Marvin Lewis (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Marvin Lewis (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Yup, there it is.

Marvin Lewis (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Marvin Lewis (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Dear God, please stop.

Marvin Lewis (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Marvin Lewis (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

I’m unconscious.

But I’m going with the better team, at home, getting points. Even though I might not physically be able to watch.

Seattle (-5) over MINNESOTA
I never really believed in Minnesota at any point this year. At what point was I supposed to, really? They beat K.C. in Week 6, coming off a bye, which was a decent win. Then they turned it into a five-game streak, beating Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis and Oakland. Yipee? Those teams were collectively 11-16 at the time of their games vs. Minnesota. A few weeks later, the Vikings would bottom out against … the Seahawks. In Minnesota.

That game was so one-sided that it’s almost not worth thinking twice about this pick. What’s changed since then? The Seahawks are getting Marshawn Lynch back, and it’s going to be frigid. I remain unsold on the Vikings.

However I will say that for as “hot” as the Seahawks may be, they too racked up wins against some weak teams late in the year. In Weeks 7 and 8 they beat the 49ers and Cowboys. Then they lost to the Cardinals. They then beat San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Baltimore and Cleveland. Then they lost to the Rams. The Week 17 domination of the Cardinals ended the season on a high note and showed the Seahawks are indeed legitimate, but I think anyone calling them a Super Bowl threat might be getting ahead of themselves.

That being said, they should have no problem going to a place where they dominated the opponent six weeks ago and do it again. And Pete Carroll’s gum-chewing will live to see another day.

WASHINGTON (+1) over Green Bay
Here is every single reason to believe the Packers can go into Washington and win a game:

  1. Aaron Rodgers
  2. That’s really it.

Watching the Packers has become an excruciating practice over the past couple of months, as a generational talent has been forced to keep his head on a swivel while trying to look for receivers who aren’t open. The nation may be slow on the uptake on this one, because Rodgers is Rodgers and the Packers helmets look the same as they always have, but the fact is that the team … stinks. The Packers stink.

They ranked 23rd (twenty-third) in passing yards. They ranked 15th in scoring. Rodgers got sacked 46 times, second-most in the NFL.

Washington scored more points. Washington passed for more yards. The Redskins allowed 18.6 points per game at home this season. The Redskins … don’t stink.

Well, they don’t stink that much. They smell better than Green Bay.

I know that’s incongruous to the gut feeling you might get upon seeing those two helmets lined up against each other, but there’s plenty of reason to believe we’ll be getting wall-to-wall Kirk Cousins “YOU LIKE THAT” coverage for six days (until the Cardinals destroy Washington’s happiness in the divisional round).

I recognize that putting my faith in the likes of Andy Reid and Marvin Lewis and Kirk Cousins is a suspect strategy on its surface. But I remain resolute in my mission for postseason perfection.

11-0, here I come.

Regular season: 115-138-3

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You can email Michael Hurley or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.