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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Dec 27, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Chicago Bears tackle Charles Leno (72) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 27, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Chicago Bears tackle Charles Leno (72) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Charles Leno Jr. versus Nick Perry/Clay Matthews

Though Brian Hoyer has produced four 300-yard games with no interceptions in place of the injured Jay Cutler, Jacksonville limited the journeyman signal caller to 6.16 yards per attempt and prevented him from finishing off drives.

As a result, the Bears settled for field goals on drives that reached the six, the nine and 18 yard line.

That is the formula for Green Bay’s success this week as they will need Clay Matthews and Nick Perry to get to Hoyer and, at the very least, force him to rush his delivery particularly when he gets inside the red zone.

The 31-year-old quarterback has shown patterns of getting flustered and throwing behind his receivers when he’s under heavy duress.

Both starting outside linebackers must win their matchups against Chicago’s bookends Charles Leno Jr. and Bobbie Massie, who have been vulnerable to the speed rush this season.

Massie, however, has grown more comfortable in manning his right tackle spot and given up fewer pressures in recent weeks. Leno, on the other hand, remains the team’s most vulnerable piece among Hoyer’s bodyguards.

The California-born blindside protector is known for his long arms, soft body and a general lack of awareness particularly versus stunts that he has shown an inability to pick up with any consistency.

Furthermore, Leno lacks the type of forceful punch to stop pass rushers in their tracks or even knock them off balance on pass plays.

Look for Matthews to bounce back from a sub-par showing and combine with Perry to penetrate the left side with inside and outside moves as both players will continually be flipping positions throughout the ball game.

Leno was responsible for four hurries and a sack last Sunday and is a far cry from Tyron Smith. Both Packers’ edge rushers should be able to pad their stats Thursday night.

Advantage: Packers