NFL ratings: Cowboys-Patriots game inspires another strong NFL week

·2-min read

The best thing the NFL has going for it is football. People want to watch football, and people really want to watch the best-known teams. 

Sunday afternoon's Dallas-New England game, a dramatic back-and-forth overtime affair, averaged a 12.1 rating and 23.22 million viewers, which was CBS's most-watched October telecast since 2015. The broadcast slightly topped last year's Packers-Buccaneers game on Fox. That game was broadcast to the entire country, while Cowboys-Patriots went to 80 percent of the nation. 

That's an impressive total, but it still doesn't match 2019's matchup, when Tom Brady was still with the Patriots. That game drew a 16.5 rating and 29.47 million viewers. 

Other time slots weren't quite as successful but still a net gain for the NFL:

• CBS's early-Sunday London game between Miami and Jacksonville recorded a 4.1 rating and 7 million viewers — 7 million on a Sunday morning — which made it the best-performing London game since 2016. (As Sports Media Watch notes, this was only the third London game on broadcast TV during that timespan.)

• The early window of games didn't perform particularly well, with Kansas City-Washington / Chargers-Ravens finishing at a 6.9 rating and 12.41 million, up 2 and 3 percent over 2020 respectively. Numbers are not yet available for Fox's Packers-Bears game. 

• Sunday Night Football didn't have a particularly compelling matchup in Steelers-Seahawks, and the results showed it, with a 9.0 rating and 16.28 million, both season lows for NBC. Even so, those numbers were up from both 2019 and 2020. 

• Monday Night Football's Bills-Titans game totaled 12.53 million, up from last year's Cardinals-Cowboys game but down from 2019's Lions-Packers. 

Overall, every time slot saw increases over 2020, further indication that the NFL is leaving the rugged pandemic year behind. 

Sources: Sports Media Watch, network PR

FOXBOROUGH, MA - OCTOBER 17:  Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Noah Brown (85) runs after the catch during the National Football League game between the New England Patriots and the Dallas Cowboys on October 17, 2021 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA.    (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - OCTOBER 17: Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Noah Brown (85) runs after the catch during the National Football League game between the New England Patriots and the Dallas Cowboys on October 17, 2021 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @jaybusbee or contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com. 

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