Dec 31, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens tight end Isaiah Likely (80) dives for a touchdown as Miami Dolphins safety DeShon Elliott (21) defends during the first half at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Week 17 of the 2023 NFL season was powered by gains for both CBS windows and a dynamite Monday Night Football window (on Saturday).

The CBS national window, which featured the Chiefs’ win over the Bengals going to nearly the entire country, averaged 26.166 million viewers. It’s the network’s most-watched Week 17 window in 12 years (with the caveat that before 2021, Week 17 was the final week of the regular season and CBS and Fox traditionally have each aired a doubleheader).

The news was similarly positive for the early window, headlined by t he Ravens’ demolition of the Dolphins. 17.929 million viewers watched that window, the most-watched regional Week 17 window for CBS since 1998.

Between the two windows, CBS averaged 21.958 million viewers, the network’s most-watched Week 17 since 1998.

Season to date, CBS is averaging its best viewership since 1998, the year the NFL returned to the network, with an average of 19.549 million viewers.

On Tuesday, we discussed the Monday Night Football matchup between the Cowboys and Lions, which averaged 26.11 million viewers to cap off MNF’s best season since the package moved to ESPN in 2006.

NBC’s Sunday Night Football broadcast of the Packers’ win over the Vikings averaged 18.14 million viewers. Due to the Christmas holiday last week, there wasn’t a directly comparable game. NBC aired its Sunday Night Football game on Saturday afternoon, with Peacock exclusively airing a game in primetime. On Christmas Eve, NFL Network aired a primetime game. Week 17’s SNF matchup was up compared to all three. The game was also up from Steelers-Ravens a year ago.

Fox had a disappointing six-game singleheader window, averaging 15.50 million viewers. That is down from last year’s singleheader window, and up from last week’s, which aired on Christmas Eve.

Amazon’s Thursday Night Football package concluded with yet another increase, though it fell short of the double-digit increases seen in nearly every week of the season. The Browns’ playoff-clinching win over the Jets averaged 10.29 million viewers, a single-digit increase from last season and a slight jump on last week. The package, as revealed yesterday, finished up 24% in 2023.

The regular season closes with Week 18. On Saturday, ESPN will air a doubleheader simulcast on ABC. Steelers-Ravens starts the weekend at 4:30 p.m. ET and will be followed by Texans-Colts at 8:15 p.m. ET with a playoff spot on the line. Both CBS and Fox will air Sunday doubleheaders. Each network has three games in the 1 p.m. ET window. The CBS early window is headlined by Jaguars-Titans, while the Fox early window is highlighted by Vikings-Lions. Later in the afternoon, CBS has Bears-Packers, Eagles-Giants, and Chiefs-Chargers, while Fox has Cowboys-Commanders and Rams-49ers along with two more games. In primetime, the AFC East will be up for grabs on NBC’s Sunday Night Football with the Dolphins hosting the Bills.

[Data via Sports Media Watch]

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.