The New Orleans Saints' 49-17 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on "Sunday Night Football" was the week's most-watched prime-time program, drawing an average of 21.1 million viewers on NBC, according to official live plus same day national data released Tuesday by The Nielsen Company.
The 21.1 million viewers for Cowboys-Saints marks the eighth time that an NBC NFL telecast topped 20 million viewers this season, accounting for TV's eight most-watched prime-time shows since September based on live plus same day data, NBC announced Tuesday in a news release.
In New Orleans, the game produced a 56.2 rating and a 73 share.
Cowboys-Saints topped last season's Week 10 SNF game (Houston-Chicago, 20.9 million viewers) and ranks as the most-watched, non-NFL Kickoff prime-time game featuring the Saints in 20 seasons (Cowboys-Saints, 27.6 million on ABC, 12/19/94).
The Saints' runaway victory – highlighted by four Drew Brees touchdown passes - on "Sunday Night Football" (8:31-11:34 PM ET) also posted the week's highest prime-time rating (12.3/20) and a 7.8 rating in the Adult 18-49 demographic to better by 26 percent the night's second-ranked show ("The Walking Dead," 6.2).
NBC is averaging 21.5 million viewers per NFL regular-season telecast, the network's best 10-week start since acquiring the SNF package in 2006. Prime-time TV's most-watched show this fall, Sunday Night Football has been prime-time's No. 1 show for each of the past two television seasons.