Packers: Robert Tonyan returns vs. 49ers in Week 12
Tight end Robert Tonyan will make his return from injury in Week 12.
The Green Bay Packers are close to 100 percent healthy. Both players who were listed as questionable for Sunday night’s game against the San Francisco 49ers — tight end Robert Tonyan and fullback Danny Vitale — are officially active for the game.
The Packers will be without backup guard Cole Madison, who was placed on injured reserve on Saturday.
With Tonyan making his return, rookie tight end Jace Sternberger is inactive.
San Francisco will be without running back Matt Breida and edge rusher Dee Ford, but star tight end George Kittle makes his return from injury. Considering the Packers’ struggles covering tight ends this season, Kittle gives the 49ers offense a huge boost.
There’s more good news for San Francisco, too, as wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Emmanuel Sanders are also both active. Not only will the Packers need to be able to defend the run in tonight’s game, but they’ll also need to create pressure up front, led by Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith.
If 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has time to throw, it won’t matter how effective their run game is. As with time to throw, the 49ers will regularly be able to get receivers open given the talent they have on offense.
It’ll be interesting to see how defensive coordinator Mike Pettine plans to cover Kittle, and who he has Jaire Alexander and Kevin King match up with. Sanders had a quiet game in Alexander’s coverage earlier this season when he was with the Denver Broncos. Pettine may plan to use Alexander on Sanders again this week.
The 49ers are without a few key players, but they will be pleased to get three talented pass catchers back. The Packers are close to full strength, and that will be important in such a difficult road game.