CBS was mixed, NBC was up and Fox was down in Week 3.
After somewhat of a down week last Sunday, the NFL was back up again yesterday, and all is right with the world.
The league was led by CBS' late afternoon window and NBC's Sunday Night Football. The Texans and Broncos drew a 14.9 overnight rating at 4:25 p.m. ET. While this was down six percent from last year's Week 3 late afternoon window (a 15.8 for Packers/Bears on Fox), it was up five percent from the last time CBS had this window in 2010 (a 14.2 for Colts/Broncos). Ratings being down may have to do with fatigue in some markets (The Jets/Dolphins game went past 5 p.m. ET in some cities) and with the fact that the Texans – still the league's newest franchise -- aren't yet familiar with primetime audiences.
Earlier in the day, the 1 p.m. ET CBS window drew an 11.4 for coverage featuring Chiefs/Saints and Jets/Dolphins. This was surprisingly up 20 percent from last year's 1 p.m. ET window (a 9.5 for Giants/Eagles on Fox) and up nine percent from the last time CBS had the window in 2010 (a 10.5 for Titans/Giants). This could be attributed to CBS getting two of the three overtime finishes from the 1 p.m. games.
As for NBC, despite facing the Emmys and 60 Minutes interviewing both U.S. Presidential candidates, Sunday Night Football still ruled primetime. The wild Patriots/Ravens game drew a 14.3 overnight, up eight percent from a Peyton Manning-less Colts hosting the Steelers last year (13.2 overnight). It was the highest Week 3 overnight for Sunday Night Football since Cowboys-Packers in 2008.
Fox held the singleheader window this week, and finished slightly down from CBS' window last year. The window, which featured Bucs-Cowboys and 49ers-Vikings, drew a 12.2 overnight, down just 2.3 percent from a window that featured Jets-Raiders last year. Fox did hold the advantage among pre-game shows as usual, beating CBS 3.4 to 2.7.
Week 3 NFL Ratings
12:00 Fox NFL Sunday - 3.4
12:00 The NFL Today - 2.7
1:00/4:00 The NFL on Fox (Buccaneers-Cowboys, 49ers-Vikings, Rams-Bears, Lions-Titans, Eagles-Cardinals, Falcons-Chargers) - 12.2
1:00 The NFL on CBS (Chiefs-Saints, Jets-Dolphins, Bengals-Redskins, Jaguars-Colts, Bills-Browns) - 11.4
4:25 The NFL on CBS (Texans-Broncos, Steelers-Raiders): 14.9
7:00 Football Night in America - 3.9
8:30 Sunday Night Football - 14.3