NFL picks: Week 13

New Orleans Saints vs. Detroit Lions — Sunday, Dec. 4, 1 p.m.

It was 3rd and goal for Green Bay early in the second half of their last game. If the Lions’ defense stopped the Packers, they would be faced with a 10-0 deficit instead of a 14-0 deficit.

Aaron Rodgers’ pass flew out of the end zone — an incompletion and a victory for the Lions’ defense. That is, until Ndamukong Suh decided to put himself before the team.

Suh was kicked out of the game and his penalty allowed Green Bay a new set of downs, which they did not squander.

They went up 14-0 and the Packers never looked back — the Lions were deflated.

Not only did Suh’s penalty cost the Lions the game, it may have cost them the season. After their game at New Orleans, they still have games at Oakland and at Green Bay. It’s hard to win games when your most important defensive player is off the field.

By the way, New Orleans hasn’t lost at home this year and Drew Brees is on pace to break the single-season passing yards record.

The Pick: New Orleans

Houston Texans vs. Atlanta Falcons — Sunday, Dec. 4, 8:20 p.m.

It really is a shame that Matt Schaub is out for the season, because this game would have been extremely intriguing had Schaub been leading Houston to their first playoff run in team history. The Texans will still make the playoffs, barring a collapse, due to their formidable defense and their two-headed running attack.

If Atlanta can beat Houston this weekend they should have a pretty time with sowing up the NFC wildcard — other than a week 16 matchup at New Orleans. A loss to a team led by starting quarterback T.J. Yates would be a devastating for an Atlanta team that has won five of their last six games.

The Pick: Atlanta

New York Giants vs. Green Bay Packers — Sunday, Dec. 4, 4 p.m.

The Giants are no stranger to defeating teams striving for perfection. This time, however, the game is far less important and the Giants are far less talented. Ravaged by injury and a brutal schedule, the Giants are looking at a four-game losing streak and a .500 record.

We saw last week that Eli Manning can rack up yards with the best of them, but the Giants’ defense, for years anchored by their pass rush, is failing them. That is a recipe for disaster against Aaron Rodgers and his 34-4 touchdown-interception ratio.

The Pick: Green Bay