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Jimmy Garoppolo embracing 49ers' underdog tag ahead of meeting with Ravens


Jimmy Garoppolo has two Super Bowl rings from his days in New England as understudy to Tom Brady.

Now he wants to put his own stamp on the season finale by leading San Francisco out of the wilderness years.

Garoppolo did not get on the field in either of his two trips to the Super Bowl with the Patriots.

But since being traded to the 49ers two years ago, he has stepped out of Brady’s shadow and is leading a team with the best record in the NFL and genuine hopes of a first Super Bowl victory in 25 years.

On Sunday (Sky Sports Action, 6pm) San Francisco travel to Baltimore in what could be a preview to the big game on February 2.

Jimmy Garoppolo has helped the 49ers to the best record in the NFL

Despite having the best record in the league at 10-1, San Francisco are underdogs, but the disrespect doesn’t bother Jimmy G.

He said: “It’s pretty much been like that the whole year, so we embrace it.”

Instead he is excited that for a team that hasn’t had a winning season in five years, every game has something riding on it.

“It’s really good for our whole team, the opportunities that we’re getting but it’s only good if we take advantage of it.

Garoppolo is determined to stay focused

“We have a good mind-set in the locker room. Guys aren’t looking at the game any differently than we have any other week.

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“Around Thanksgiving is when football really gets going. I’m glad we have this opportunity. We have to go and take advantage of it.”

And although Thanksgiving on Thursday provided a distraction, Garoppolo is staying focused.

“You spend a little time with the family but we have a job to do on Sunday. You prepare throughout the week as you normally do. You enjoy Thanksgiving but we have to handle our business.”

The 49ers’ defence will be tasked with trying to stop a strong Ravens offence led by the impressive Lamar Jackson

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And according to 49ers defensive coach, Robert Saleh, that business is going to be tough against Baltimore.

Saleh said: “There is nothing on tape that tells you what they are doing. You just have to play good, sound, fundamental defence and bring your big-boy pants because this is going to be physical.”

NFL on TV this week

Today – (all Sky Sports Action) San Francisco at Baltimore, 6pm. Oakland at Kansas City, 9.25pm. New England at Houston, 1.20am.

Mon/Tue – Minnesota at Seattle, Sky Sports Action, 1.15am

Tue – NFL This Week, BBC2, 11.15pm

Thu/Fri – Dallas at Chicago, Sky Sports Action, 1.20am

Sat – The NFL Show, BBC1, 11.45pm





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