Former Wigan man Baines has impressed yet again this season and to many his omission from the PFA Player of the Year nominations came as a big surprise, but team-mate Howard is grateful for his efforts.
So far this season Baines has eight goals and seven assists to his name in all competitions, but Howard suspects he does not get the credit he deserves as he does not play in a "glamour position".
"With Bainesy at left-back it's not a glamour position and I think it's hard sometimes to see just how effective he is," he told the club's official website.
"He's our key cog. We've got [Marouane] Fellaini and Steven] Pienaar and those guys, and obviously Kevin Mirallas, can produce a bit of magic.
"But without Bainesy this team doesn't go. It's just hard sometimes for people on the outside to see that."
With four matches left to play including at home to Fulham next, Everton are still in with a shot of qualifying for the Champions League, but after the defeat to Sunderland on Saturday they are five points behind fifth-placed Tottenham, who have an extra match to play.
"We won't let one setback knock us," Howard continued. "We have to perform at home, we know that, and when you are on your home pitch you have to push the tempo."