No Patriots, better ratings? Chiefs-Texans draws huge numbers for CBS

Shalise Manza Young
Yahoo Sports Columnist

This weekend was the first time in a decade that the New England Patriots were not playing on the NFL’s Divisional weekend.

While that was not what Patriots fans wanted, it was likely a welcome reprieve for NFL fans outside of that team’s base — at least that seems to be the case, if CBS’ ratings are any indication.

Biggest audience in four years

On Monday, CBS Sports’ PR arm tweeted out viewership numbers from Sunday’s Houston Texans-Kansas City Chiefs game on its network.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes celebrates during Sunday's win over the Houston Texans. (AP/Jeff Roberson)

According to CBS, the AFC game had 35.396 million viewers, up 21 percent from last year’s Los Angeles Chargers-Patriots game, which New England won, 41-28.

CBS also broadcast Tennessee Titans-Patriots in 2017, and Texans-Patriots in 2016.

The Pittsburgh Steelers-Denver Broncos game in the 2015 Divisional round on CBS drew 43.0 million viewers.

Big ratings for other games

The weekend’s other three games also drew large audiences.

According to Fox Sports, which broadcast the final game of the weekend, Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers on Sunday night, the peak viewership was 42.292 million, making it the most-watched of the four and the most-watched broadcast of any kind since Super Bowl LIII last February.

The first game of the four, Minnesota at San Francisco, was also NBC’s most-watched divisional-round game in four years, with 29.3 million TV-only viewers; when digital streams are added in, that number goes to 30.1 million.

In both the Minneapolis and San Francisco markets, 75 percent of all televisions on during Vikings-49ers were turned to the game.

CBS aired two games this weekend, as it also had Saturday night’s Ravens-Titans game. According to the network, that game averaged 29.412 million viewers and peaked at 31.087 million, the highest ratings for any AFC divisional playoff game on any network in three years.

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