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NFL ratings, Week 3: Sunday night steady, Thursday night down

Jay Busbee
·3-min read

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

Ratings are in for Week 3 of the NFL season, and as before, they’re a mixed bag of data from which one can draw a range of interpretations. One fact appears certain, however, for whatever reason, the nation doesn’t much like watching the Jacksonville Jaguars on TV.

‘Thursday Night Football’ (NFL Network)

There are games that you just know are going to be cringeworthy going in, and they don’t let you down in the least. Miami-Jacksonville is one of those utterly unappealing matchups that we all suffer through to get to Green Bay-New Orleans or Kansas City-Baltimore, a necessary dose of NFL scheduling reality. Just because it happens doesn’t mean we have to watch it, though ... and people tuned out of this week’s TNF in droves. “Only” 5.43 million people, on average, watched the game, the lowest rating any Thursday NFL game has drawn since October 2016 (a game that, strangely enough, also featured the Jags).

The game aired against an NBA Western Conference finals game, among other competition. While some fans may have tuned out because of political differences with the NFL, this appears much more likely to be a case of matchup ambivalence; when so many sports are on TV now, why spend time on a less-than-marquee game?

Sunday Doubleheader (Fox Sports)

After seeing large jumps year-over-year in its first two weeks, Fox hit a bit of a bump in Week 3. The early doubleheader game, led by Chicago-Atlanta, fell 15 percent over last year with 11.68 million viewers. The late game, Dallas-Seattle, saw a slight 1 percent increase with a total viewership of 22.79 million viewers. The sharp differential in viewership totals on a single channel in a single afternoon seems to indicate that matchups are the driving factor in viewership, and Cowboys-Seahawks is a far more compelling game than, say, Washington-Cleveland.

Sunday Singleheader (CBS Sports)

Multiple regional games aired on CBS to a total of 16.57 million people, up 8 percent in viewership over last year. The timeslot was CBS’s most-watched singleheader in September since 2018.

‘Sunday Night Football’ (NBC Sports)

Given the steep declines that NBC has seen in the past two weeks, anything approaching stability counts as good news for the network. Sunday’s game between New Orleans and Green Bay was one of the best of the season so far, both in terms of star power and in how the game itself played out. The result: virtually no decline in early ratings from last week’s numbers. In the key 18-49 demographic, according to Deadline, “Sunday Night Football” averaged 14.43 million viewers and won the night.

The total number of viewers came in at 17.8 million, down 4 percent from last year.

Aaron Rodgers won the night, both in ratings and against the Saints. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Aaron Rodgers won the night, both in ratings and against the Saints. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

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

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