NFL Playoffs Mark A First Down -- Mostly Down

The first round of the NFL playoffs showed little drama--and that translated to lower ratings than the year before.

Collectively, preliminary Nielsen data showed that the four games were off 5 percent to a 17.1 household rating and 32 share--that was down 5 percent from last year's 18.0/33 number.

The best-rated game was the Pittsburgh Steelers' 31-17 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on CBS, which earned a 19.9 rating/34 share. Fox's Sunday game--in which the Carolina Panthers overwhelmed the New York Giants 23-0--earned a 16.8 rating/36 share.

The third-best game was ABC's New England Patriots' 28-3 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in prime time on Saturday. It delivered a 15.7/26--down 8 percent from last season's game. ABC's other game, in daytime on Saturday, witnessed the most competitive contest--the Washington Redskins getting by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17-10.

The next round of games--the semifinals for each conference--generally sees a rise in ratings from the early-round games.



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