Philadelphia Eagles News

Underrated Matchup: Jackson Vs. Ratliff

Sure, a lot of attention will be paid attention to left tackle Jason Peters' battle against Cowboys outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware. And everyone wants to know how the Eagles will utilize their speed at wide receiver to exploit the Dallas secondary.

But a matchup that isn't being talked about, but is just as important, is the one right in the middle of the line of scrimmage between center Jamaal Jackson and Cowboys nose tackle Jay Ratliff.

"He has a high motor. A guy in the middle that's supposed to pretty much take up a lot of space, you don't normally think of him as a guy that's always active," Jackson said. "But he's always active. He's always trying to get to the ball."

A starter on the NFC Pro Bowl squad in 2008, Ratliff is seventh on the Cowboys with 34 tackles in 2009. He also has 2.0 sacks, six tackles for loss, 12 QB pressures and a forced fumble this season. If Jackson can't neutralize Ratliff, Donovan McNabb will not be able to step up in the pocket as he throws the ball. The ground game will certainly struggle to open up as well.

Head coach Andy Reid got to see Ratliff up close and personal shortly after the end of last season.

"I had a chance to have him over at the Pro Bowl this past year and he's a heck of a player," Reid said. "He is not quite as big as some of the guys, but he makes up for it in quickness and intelligence and then hustle, he is a relentless worker."

As you watch tonight's matchup unfold, keep an eye on the battle between Jackson and Ratliff. Jackson is the only player who will touch the ball on every offensive snap. Keeping Ratliff contained will be key to an Eagles win.

-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 1:36 p.m., November 8

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