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Packers activate Za’Darius Smith, Whitney Mercilus for divisional round vs. 49ers

We break down the news that Smith and Alexander are back at practice for Green Bay. Here’s what it means for the Divisional round of the 2022 NFL Playoffs.

Tennessee Titans v Green Bay Packers
Outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith of the Green Bay Packers celebrates a sack with teammate Jaire Alexander against the Tennessee Titans during the second quarter at Lambeau Field on December 27, 2020 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Friday update: The Packers have officially activated Smith and Whitney Mercilus off injured reserve, and both are expected to take the field Saturday against the 49ers.

Friday update: The Packers are expected to activate Smith off injured reserve, setting him up to play in Saturday’s divisional round game against the 49ers.

Thursday PM update: Both David Bakhtiari and Jaire Alexander are questionable to play this weekend, while Za’Darius Smith is on I.R. and will need to be activated on Saturday to play. Bakhtiari appears to be the most questionable of the group.

Wednesday AM update: Matt LaFleur spoke with 49ers media on Wednesday morning and did not sound an overly optimistic note when discussing Smith and Alexander. He said, “We will see where they are at and hopefully they can give us contributions.”

Tuesday update: Alexander was limited in Tuesday’s practice according to the team’s injury report.

The Green Bay Packers could benefit from the bye week in a big way as the No. 1 seed in the NFC, as the team could get both Za’Darius Smith and Jaire Alexander back for the divisional round against the San Francisco 49ers. Head coach Matt LaFleur is “hopeful” both will be out there Saturday. Smith and Alexander did take the practice field Tuesday.

Fantasy football implications

The implications of Smith and Alexander playing will impact 49ers players. Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk could see the team’s top corner, which would create a shuffling effect down the line for matchups. Smith’s presence would surely mean Jimmy Garoppolo has to deal with more pressure up front. The Packers have managed to hold things together defensively with solid players across the board but Smith and Alexander are both capable to wrecking a gameplan. If both are out there Saturday, Green Bay’s defense is a great DFS play.