NFL telecasts ranked as the top four shows in viewership among all television programs last week (October 20-26) with the CBS Sunday national telecast (mostly Colts-Steelers) topping the charts with 20.8 million average viewers. Thursday Night Football’s Chargers-Broncos matchup on CBS and NFL Network was a close second, drawing 20.2 million average viewers, followed by the Packers-Saints game on NBC’s Sunday Night Football, averaging 18.8 million viewers. The FOX Sunday afternoon telecast (mostly Eagles-Cardinals) rounded out the top four with 18.4 million average viewers.

This marks the eighth time in eight weeks that at least two NFL games have topped the weekly viewership charts.

In head-to-head competition, Sunday Night Football topped Game 5 of the MLB World Series, which averaged 12.6 million viewers.

In addition, this week’s Redskins-Cowboys game on ESPN averaged 18.8 million viewers, making it the most-watched Monday Night Football game since 2010 and the fourth most-watched Monday Night Football game on ESPN of all time.

Locally, NFL games topped the ratings in 28 NFL markets:
Program – # of NFL Markets Ranked #1
NFL Football – 28
MLB Playoffs – 2

Following is the list of the NFL markets where football was the top-rated program for the week of October 20-26:

Week of 10/20-26:
Market – Game (Date) (RTG-SHR) (Rank)
New Orleans – Packers at Saints (10/26/2014)(50.4-66) (1)
Milwaukee – Packers at Saints (10/26/2014)(44.4-61) (1)
Pittsburgh – Colts at Steelers (10/26/2014) (42.4-67) (1)
Denver – Chargers at Broncos (10/23/2014) (41.4-63) (1)**
Buffalo – Bills at Jets (10/26/2014) (41.2-66) (1)
Indianapolis – Colts at Steelers (10/26/2014)(39.0-59) (1)
Seattle – Seahawks at Panthers (10/26/2014) (39.0-72) (1)
Cleveland – Raiders at Browns (10/26/2014) (36.3-61) (1)
Baltimore – Ravens at Bengals (10/26/2014) (34.4-63) (1)
Boston – Bears at Patriots (10/26/2014) (34.0-68) (1)
Cincinnati – Ravens at Bengals (10/26/2014) (32.5-62) (1)
Philadelphia – Eagles at Cardinals (10/26/2014) (32.4-51) (1)
Minneapolis – Vikings at Buccaneers (10/26/2014) (29.8-63) (1)
Detroit – Lions at Falcons (10/26/2014) (29.5-57) (1)
Phoenix – Eagles at Cardinals (10/26/2014) (29.3–55) (1)
San Diego – Chargers at Broncos (10/23/2014) (27.6-48) (1)**
Charlotte – Seahawks at Panthers (10/26/2014) (22.6-46) (1)
Chicago – Bears at Patriots (10/26/2014) (22.3-49) (1)
Houston – Texans at Steelers (10/20/2014) (27.9-42) (1)*
Jacksonville – Dolphins at Jaguars (10/26/2014)(20.8-40) (1)
Nashville – Texans at Titans (10/26/2014) (17.7-33) (1)
Tampa – Vikings at Buccaneers (10/26/2014) (16.4-32) (1)
St. Louis – Rams at Chiefs (10/26/2014) (15.9-33) (1)
Atlanta – Lions at Falcons (10/26/2014) (15.6-36) (1)
Miami – Dolphins at Jaguars (10/26/2014) (14.3-32) (1)
Dallas – Packers at Saints (10/26/2014) (14.1-21) (1)
New York – Bills at Jets (10/26/2014) (12.1-26) (1)
Washington, DC and Baltimore – Ravens at Bengals (10/26/2014) (11.5-28) (1)

* Local affiliate & ESPN combined
** CBS & NFLN combined
Sources: NFL & The Nielsen Company

In other NFL-TV related news…

The National Football League announced that the week 11 Philadelphia at Green Bay game on Sunday, November 16 will be played at 4:25 p.m. on FOX and the Minnesota-Chicago game is now at 1 p.m. on CBS as a crossflex contest.

The originally scheduled New England at Indianapolis game remains in place on NBC’s Sunday Night Football. Both teams have a bye in week 10.

Following is the final Week 11 NFL schedule and all times are Eastern (Byes: Baltimore, Dallas, Jacksonville and New York Jets):

Thursday, November 13
Buffalo at Miami, 8:25 p.m. on NFL Network

Sunday, November 16
Atlanta at Carolina, 1 p.m. on FOX
Minnesota at Chicago, 1 p.m. on CBS
Houston at Cleveland, 1 p.m. on CBS
Seattle at Kansas City, 1 p.m. on FOX
Cincinnati at New Orleans, 1 p.m. on CBS
Tampa Bay at Washington, 1 p.m. on FOX
Denver at St. Louis, 1 p.m. on CBS
San Francisco at New York Giants, 1 p.m. on FOX
Oakland at San Diego, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
Philadelphia at Green Bay, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Detroit at Arizona, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
New England at Indianapolis, 8:30 p.m. on NBC

Monday, November 17
Pittsburgh at Tennessee, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

The NFL uses “flexible scheduling” to ensure quality matchups in all NFL Sunday time slots and to give teams a chance to play their way onto primetime and into the late-afternoon 4:25 PM ET time slot on CBS or FOX.

For the first time, flexible scheduling may be applied in Weeks 5-10. During that period, flexible scheduling can be used in no more than two weeks by shifting a Sunday afternoon game into primetime and moving the Sunday night game to an afternoon start time.

Also, for the first time, a select number of games are being “cross-flexed,” moving between CBS and FOX to bring potentially under-distributed games to wider audiences.

The NFL will continue to use flexible scheduling on Sundays in Weeks 11-17.  For each flexible scheduling week with the exception of Week 17, the NFL announces the start times of games on Sundays no later than 12 days prior to that weekend.  To ensure a Sunday night game and doubleheader games with playoff implications in Week 17, flexible scheduling decisions for that Sunday can be made on six days notice.

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