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Caputo: Three Lions Players Who Will Most Determine Whether Matthew Stafford’s Contact Extension Is Worth It

1. Riley Reiff – The NFC North has tremendous pass rushers in Green Bay’s Clay Matthews, Chicago’s Julius Peppers and Minnesota’s Jared Allen. Reiff will get a baptism under fire as the Lions’ starting offensive left tackle.

2. Brandon Pettigrew – With Reggie Bush signed as a free agent, the apparent return to health of Ryan Broyles and Nate Burleson and the deep threat of Calvin Johnson, the middle of the field figures to be open for a lot of catches for the Lions’ starting tight end. Will he be the sure-hand Brandon Pettigrew of 2011 or the one who dropped the ball so much in 2012?

3. Ndamukong Suh – I know, I know, he plays defense. But the point is the Lions can do little more to help Stafford than play great defense. That means giving him the ball more at the 50 rather than his own 15. Suh, and the defensive line, hold the key to the Lions’ defensive performance.

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