Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers: Essential matchups

Green Bay Packers cornerback LaDarius Gunter. Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Green Bay Packers cornerback LaDarius Gunter. Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports /
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Oct 16, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars strong safety Johnathan Cyprien (37) breaks up a pass intended for Chicago Bears running back Jordan Howard (24) in the first half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 16, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars strong safety Johnathan Cyprien (37) breaks up a pass intended for Chicago Bears running back Jordan Howard (24) in the first half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports /

Jordan Howard versus the Packers Front Seven

The Bears’ 2016 fifth-round pick hasn’t wasted much time in claiming the top spot in Chicago’s backfield thanks to the way he uses his powerful 230-pound frame to gain yards after contact.

After posting back-to-back 100-yard-plus efforts in Weeks 5 and 6, Howard came back to earth by gaining only 34 yards on 15 carries in Chicago’s 17-16 loss to the Jags.

Much of that was the product of Jacksonville stacking the box with eight defenders and also the result of several missed blocks.

Center Cody Whitehair and right tackle Bobbie Massie, in particular, were either overpowered or beat with inside moves that deprived the rookie ball carrier of favorable cutback lanes.

After five weeks of routinely dominating the opposition’s running attack, the Packers’ front seven struggled mightily against the Cowboys, especially up front in the trenches where center Travis Frederick and right guard Zack Martin continually outmuscled Green Bay’s down linemen.

Give the likes of Mike Daniels, Letroy Guion, Mike Pennel and Kenny Clark the slight edge over Chicago’s interior where the inexperienced Whitehair a work in progress.

Advantage: Packers