Thursday night’s Cardinals-Seahawks matchup on Fox and NFL Network held up pretty well overall, but was still down from a year ago.
Arizona-Seattle drew 14.770 million viewers over the two networks per ShowBuzz Daily. While that’s still good for the largest TNF audience of the year (excluding Opening Night, which aired on Thursday but technically isn’t part of the TNF package), it’s still down 4% from Steelers-Browns last year (15.4 million viewers).
Not to paint too rosy of a picture here, but TNF has been heading in the right direction over the last month. While TNF has only seen two increases this season (Weeks 2 and 5), the declines have been somewhat stemmed over the last month. Falcons-Panthers in Week 8 was down 13%. Week 9’s Packers-49ers game was down just 6%. Colts-Titans a week ago was down 10%. And now, Cardinals-Seahawks is down 4%. Incredible? Nope, of course not. A complete disaster? Nah.
Thursday night comparisons for the next two weeks are going to be all out of whack since Thanksgiving is a week early this year. On Turkey Day, we’ll be getting Texans-Lions early on CBS, Washington-Dallas in the late afternoon on Fox, and Ravens-Steelers in primetime on NBC. A year ago, Fox aired Bears-Lions early (27.09 million viewers), CBS aired Bills-Cowboys in the late afternoon window (32.64 million viewers), and NBC aired Saints-Falcons in primetime (20.81 million viewers). This year, only the primetime matchup looks better than last year’s, and it’s tough to see increases coming for those two early games.