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The Ravens' starters played an excellent first half in last weekend's win over the Giants. Most of those first-stringers will be in street clothes for the preseason finale Thursday night in St. Louis, leaving us to watch the backups battle it out for the final roster spots.

Here are the five main things I will be focusing on from my cluttered living room in Hampden:

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1. Troy Smith' possible curtain call:  The Ravens' third-string quarterback will get most, if not all, of the snaps against the Rams in what could be his final game as a Raven. There are a few bubble boys I'll be keeping my eye on, but Smith is the main one. His four seasons in Baltimore have been mostly positive, and he has had his fair share of supporters (me being one of them). He's a talented player who will be on an NFL roster when Week 1 rolls around. We'll see if it's here or elsewhere.

2. Kicker v. kicker: The race between Ravens kickers Billy Cundiff and Shayne Graham has been too close to call through three preseason games. Graham has the only missed attempt — from 50 yards against the Panthers — but neither guy has made a major mistake thus far. The pressure will be magnified even more Thursday night, though. Whoever blinks will be handed their walking papers. The Ravens will be in good shape either way, but I still say Graham gets the job. (go ahead and hammer me again if you'd like).

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3. Forgotten receivers: Demetrius Williams, Marcus Smith and David Reed are the frontrunners for the final one or two roster spots at wide receiver. For Justin Harper and Eron Riley, two guys who have fallen off the radar, it's going to take a pretty remarkable performance — like going all Victor Cruz on the Rams — to avoid another invitation to the practice squad. Harper has two catches for 23 yards this preseason and Riley has none, but increased opportunities will be there against St. Louis.

4. Who will be Ray's sidekick?: The inside linebacker vacancy next to Ray Lewis is on the short list of starting spots that remain unfilled. Jameel McClain is in the driver's seat, but Dannell Ellerbe and Tavares Gooden are still in the mix. Nipping on all of their heels is Jason Phillips. Can he do enough Thursday to enter his name into the conversation?

5. The ground game: It's too early to talk about offensive identities. The preseason is for trying things out and getting in sync. The Ravens have strayed away from the run, but only so they can develop a rhythm after making all those additions to the passing attack. Still, it would be nice to see the Ravens, who are averaging 3.4 yards per carry in the preseason, have a little success when they do decide to run the ball. I expect the Ravens to pound the rock against the Rams in attempt to get out of the stadium in a hurry, so keep an eye on rookie running back Curtis Steele, a longshot to make the roster.

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