Week 6 of the NFL season is done and dusted, and the league’s viewership is…well, not all that bad for the Sunday day games.
We’ll start with the CBS singleheader, which drew 16.655 million viewers. The five game window was highlighted by Browns-Steelers and Broncos-Patriots. That’s up 2% from last year’s singleheader on Fox, which drew 16.37 million viewers for Eagles-Vikings and 49ers-Rams.
The first half of Fox’s doubleheader, featuring another five games (including Bears-Panthers and WFT-Giants), drew 12.098 million viewers. That’s down 7% from last year’s early half of the doubleheader on CBS, with the predominantly Texans-Chiefs window getting 13.00 million viewers on CBS.
The second half of the doubleheader, which was Packers-Bucs for the country, drew 22.307 million viewers. That’s a 4% increase from last year’s late slot on CBS, which was a Cowboys-Jets window that averaged 21.42 million viewers.
The league’s primetime windows weren’t as successful. The Sunday Night Football matchup between the Rams and 49ers on NBC drew 12.603 million viewers, down 15% from Steelers-Chargers last year (14.89 million viewers). Monday Night Football, featuring the Cardinals blowing out the Cowboys, drew just 11.17 million viewers on ESPN, also down 15% from last year’s Lions-Packers matchup (13.00 million viewers). Finally, there’s the rescheduled Chiefs-Bills game that aired at 5 PM ET Monday on Fox and NFL Network, which drew 12.16 million viewers. It’s ridiculous to compare that game to much of anything, but I still think it’s impressive that it drew more viewers than two of the NFL’s regular windows, given the weird start time.
Looking ahead to Week 7, I’m thinking it’s going to be a tough weekend for the league. TNF returns with a Giants-Eagles matchup that has far less luster than in recent years due to the fact that the NFC East is a flaming dumpster fire. Last year, Chiefs-Broncos drew 13.68 million viewers for Fox and NFL Network. CBS will have the doubleheader this week, and in the early window, they’ll have a tasty looking Steelers-Titans matchup. In the late window, Chiefs-Broncos and 49ers-Patriots are the featured games. Fox has a singleheader, highlighted by Panthers-Saints, Cowboys-WFT, Packers-Texans, and Seahawks-Cardinals (which airs late). Sunday Night Football will feature the Bucs and Raiders, while Monday Night Football pits the Bears against the Rams. A year ago, Eagles-Cowboys drew 21.45 million viewers on SNF, and Patriots-Jets drew 10.84 million viewers on MNF.