Cowboys-Patriots was most-watched regular-season NFL game in over a decade

What do NFL fans love most? Field goals, apparently. That’s one explanation for why the Week 12 matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots on Sunday was the most-watched regular-season NFL game in over a decade.

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The game received a 19.5/40 metered rating. That was the highest rating for a regular-season NFL game since 2007, according to Fox Sports.

If you look at games only broadcast on Fox, the Cowboys-Patriots matchup was the most watched game on the network since 1996.

As expected, the top home market for the contest was Boston. Curiously, Cleveland and Seattle ranked second and third, respectively. Dallas came in fourth.

The high rating is likely the result of two popular teams playing each other, though the game was also helped by a lack of other options. The only other NFL game taking place at that time was the Tennessee Titans against the Jacksonville Jaguars. At 6-5, the Titans are fighting for a wild-card spot. The Jaguars are a long shot to make the playoffs at 4-7.

Fans who tuned into the Cowboys-Patriots game were treated to a defensive battle. New England turned in a 13-9 win. The Patriots scored the only touchdown of the contest in the first quarter. The two teams combined for five field goals the rest of the way.

A ratings repeat in Week 13 isn’t likely. The Cowboys are taking on the Buffalo Bills on Thursday, while the Patriots will play the Houston Texans on “Sunday Night Football.”

If history repeats itself, the NFL will have to wait until 2031 to see numbers this high again. With any luck, that game will feature a matchup between two teams led by Tom Brady Jr. and an elderly Frank Gore.


Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

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