Schwartz shares take on Bears' success, praises Stafford

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Schwartz shares take on Bears' success, praises Stafford

The Lions are coming off a huge overtime win against the Philadelphia Eagles last weekend and according to their head coach Jim Schwartz, that victory gives his team a chance this week to get back to .500. Former NFL executive Pat Kirwin and I caught up with Jim Schwartz on SiriusXM NFL Radio to discuss the (2-3) Detroit Lions Monday Night match-up against the (4-1) Chicago Bears.

During the interview, Schwartz discussed some of the reasons why the Bears are having early success in 2012.

"They are a big play defense," Schwartz said when asked about Chicago's 17 turnovers defensively along with their 18 sacks. "They have a lot of guys who can make plays."

Schwartz was quick to list the Bears playmakers like Charles Tillman, Lance Briggs, Brian Urlacher and the front four defensive linemen for Chicago. But for Schwartz, there is one reason why the Bears are winning.

I think the biggest difference in their start this year, in their 4 wins, is theyve gotten leads, Schwartz said."Theyve also been able to hold that lead and thats the formula for their defense to create turnovers. Schwartz explained further saying, Playing with a lead has forced teams to throw to catch up where they (Bears) have let their pass rushers go.

Schwartz clearly believes his team cannot afford to fall behind Monday Night against Chicago.

I think its important not to play from behind because it plays into their hands. If we can get the lead we can take away that advantage of them pinning their ears back.

It will be interesting to follow tonight, especially because the Lions played from behind last week against Philadelphia. The Lions passed the ball 48 times while not giving up a single sack. Schwartz credited his quarterback, saying, A lot of that is Matt Stafford getting rid of the ball quick and moving around. Matt was being smart and throwing it away.

Something has to give tonight from a protection stand point if the Lions do play from behind. The Bears' front four is much more accomplished with their 18 sacks than Philadelphias seven sacks for the year. By the Eagles not sacking Stafford once, it now has been 4 weeks in a row they have not registered a sack.

Rangers win riveting goaltending duel over Blackhawks in overtime

Rangers win riveting goaltending duel over Blackhawks in overtime

Antti Raanta stopped all 26 shots he faced for his first shutout of the season and Nick Holden netted the winner as the New York Rangers beat the Blackhawks 1-0 in overtime on Friday night.

The Blackhawks, playing without Jonathan Toews, Brent Seabrook and Corey Crawford, are now 1-2-1 in their last four games. Nevertheless, they remain atop the Western Conference with 38 points.

Scott Darling stopped 36 of 37 shots in the loss.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Two seasons ago Darling and Raanta battled for the Blackhawks’ backup spot. Friday marked their first head-to-head matchup, and it was stellar.

The Blackhawks thought they broke the scoreless tie six minutes into the third period, when Marian Hossa got one past Raanta. But the Rangers challenged for offside and officials agreed, nullifying the goal.

Blackhawks preparing for EPIX all-access look leading up to Winter Classic

Blackhawks preparing for EPIX all-access look leading up to Winter Classic

The 2017 Winter Classic featuring the Blackhawks and Blues is right around the corner.

Players from both sides already squared off in a game of NHL 17 to generate some hype into the game, but nothing compares to behind-the-scenes footage of the two teams leading up to it.

Beginning Dec. 16 at 9 p.m., EPIX will air a one-hour episode each week that provides an all-access look inside the lives of the Blackhawks and Blues, on and off the ice.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

The game will be on Jan. 2 at 12 p.m. on NBC, with the final episode airing Friday, Jan. 6.

Here's a two-minute preview involving the Blackhawks, who are labeled "A Good Bunch of Guys."