Lions vs. Cowboys Draws 42.3 million viewers, second most-watched wild card game ever


In final Nielsen numbers the late afternoon Sunday wild-card weekend round matchup where the Dallas Cowboys beat the Detroit Lions drew a 23.6 household rating and averaged 42.3 million. That’s the 2nd most-watched for the wild card round. Last year’s 49ers/Packers game did better with 47.1 million and a 25.8 final household rating.

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A thrilling back-and-forth contest that wasn’t decided until the final moments, Sunday afternoon’s NFC Wild Card showdown between the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys posted a 23.6 rating and drew an impressive 42.3 million viewers on FOX, making it the second most-watched NFC Wild Card game ever.

Projected to easily take the mantle as the highest-rated and most-watched NFL playoff game of the opening postseason weekend, the game saw the NFC East division-champion Cowboys score 17 unanswered points in the second half to overcome a 20-7 deficit on their home field. The broadcast peaked at 48.7 million viewers between 7:00 – 7:30 PM ET and marked the highest-rated and most-watched television program since the 2014 Academy Awards last March.

Equally impressive, was how well the game rated in the key male demographics, notching a 13.5 M18-34, a 17.9 M18-49 and 21.3 M25-54, all three the highest ratings in their respective categories across all television programming since Super Bowl XLVIII on FOX last February.

The game also performed exceptionally well in the respective home markets, registering a 43.6 in Dallas and a 43.9 in Detroit – the highest-ever rating for an NFL playoff game in the Motor City.


The broadcast streamed live on FOX Sports GO led to the largest day for total NFL consumption in the platform’s history behind only Super Bowl XLVIII. 

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