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NFL Detroit Lions

5 Detroit Lions Players Who Need to Perform Well in 2013

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5 Detroit Lions Who Need to Produce

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions are going into the 2013 season hoping that it doesn't end the way the 2012 season did. Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson had one of the most killer connections in the league, but they failed to get into the end zone more than five times.

Detroit made the playoffs in 2011 with an electric offense and middle-of-the-pack defense, but they looked good enough to the point that a playoff appearance in 2012 wasn't too farfetched.

However, the Lions played far under par and didn't nearly live up to the elevated expectations they were given. After a 4-12 season, things looked grim for them and their fans. Will the Lions go back to their old ways or bounce back and put the 2012 season behind them?

Stafford and Johnson have created a deadly combination of quarterback and receiver, but how will that translate in 2013? Will they turn things around and get Johnson into the end zone more than 10 times? Will Stafford throw for more than 5,000 yards again? What about more than 30 touchdowns?

The good thing about starting a new season is a fresh start for everyone. Stafford now has all of his weapons back that were injured in 2012-- Ryan Broyles and Nate Burleson. He doesn't have to lean on just Megatron as much anymore.

Oh, and for the lackluster run game from last season, it's been fixed temporarily. Signing Reggie Bush in the offseason was one of the best and most needed moves that Detroit could make. While Bush could regress, the Lions are hoping the offensive line does everything in their power to ensure his success with Mikel LeShoure as his solid backup.

While the Lions' 2013 season has high expectations once again, some guys need to step their game up for that to happen. Here are five guys who face make-or-break seasons in 2013 for the Lions.

Connor Muldowney is a columnist for Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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Bill Bentley

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Bentley was drafted last year with hopes that he would be the cornerback that everyone in Lions' silver and blue desperately wanted. He spent the 2012 season injured and had just 15 tackles, but he showed few flashes that he can be 'the guy'. He will need to do well this season if he wants to keep his starting spot and prevent the Lions from shopping around.

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Brandon Pettigrew

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Pettigrew had 59 catches for nearly 600 yards last season-- pretty solid numbers for a tight end. However, it wasn't the catches, but the drops that kept the big tight end from upping his stats even more. He desperately needs to hold onto the ball if he wants to remain a target on this team.

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Jahvid Best

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Former first-round pick from 2010, Jahvid Best was supposed to come in and be the running back of the future. He's quick, agile and has the breakaway speed needed to score TDs in today's game. However, after a few concussion problems and setbacks, he may never see the field again. If he doesn't play this season, I believe his career will be over. That's tough luck for such a great athlete.

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Jason Jones

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Jason Jones is listed as the starting left-side defensive end for the Lions. Backed up by Willie Young, he is going to have to have more than the 10 tackles and three sacks that he had for the Seattle Seahawks in 2012 if he wants to remain with the Lions longer than 2013.

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Nate Burleson

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Eleven-year veteran Nate Burleson suffered a severe leg injury last season that forced him to miss 10 games. He has been a solid No. 2-type receiver his entire career and has the ability to put up about 800 yards on 80 catches when healthy. If he stays healthy this year, he won't be going anywhere.