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The last pre-season game of 2009 is set in Atlanta this Thursday night and for some careers on are the line. While Ray Lewis and Ed Reed should play very little there are plenty of players that are fighting for their professional lives this week.

Let’s take a look at some of the battles that will help shape the roster of 53.

Running Back: The three headed monster should be well rested as Ray Rice, Willis McGahee and Le’Ron McClain are set. But who is the 4th back? 2009 sixth rounder Cedric Peerman may be sent to IR which leaves Jalen Parmele and Matt Lawrence to fight it out. Both have had their moments in pre-season. I’ll give the nod to the shift Parmele who broke a nice run against Carolina. Fullback Jason Cook may be sent to the practice squad.

Wide Receiver: Four are in. Mason, Clayton, Washington and Williams. Even the team’s website acknowledged that Washington may have leapfrogged Williams for the number #3 spot in the slot.As for the rest, Eron Riley, Ernie Wheelwright,Jayson Foster,and Yamon Figurs should all be gone. Justin Harper may have a shot to stick simply because they have no other options and he does posses good size but inconsistent hands. There is still the possibility that Baltimore will sign a vet that gets cut this week. All eyes are on Reggie Brown from Philadelphia.

Offensive Line: The young, athletic line of Gaither, Grubbs, Yanda, and Oher is joined by pro bowler Matt Birk. Even though he’s had a shaky pre-season Oniel Cousins should stick and Chris Chester is a great utility man that can play Guard and Center in a pinch if needed. However I also like Joe Reitz and David Hale has opened eyes as well.

Linebacker: The deepest position on the team. But which of these players stays? Antawan Barnes, Jason Phillips (hurt by injuries), Danell Ellerbee, and Prescott Burgess. It’s too close to call and I’ll pay close attention as all of these players should get plenty of field time to state their case.

Secondary: I think Evan Ogelsby will be looking for a new team as well as K.J. Gerard who got some early buzz from the Sun but never did anything with it. Frank Walker has looked awful so far but he may be the physical corner they have. But if you don’t hit anyone what does it matter? He needs to be at least adequate to get in. Derrick Martin made the switch to Safety and he also has to be seen as a bubble boy but in the end he may be safe too.

Kicker: Steve Hauschka could have slammed the door on this competition but missed a chip shot against Carolina. Graham Gano appears to be totally out of the mix but the specter of Matt Stover still won’t go away. A strong showing would sew it up.

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