The Walking Dead may have been debuting its latest season on another channel last night, but on NBC last night you could have given the name to the New York Giants. On Sunday Night Football, the Philadelphia Eagles decimated Eli Manning and crew 27-0, giving the City of Brotherly Love team its first shutout since 1996. Those new all-back outfits of the Eagles were also a dark sign for NBC: In HH overnight ratings, the primetime game got an 11.6/18 result, the worst for SNF so far this season. The previous low was Week 3, which got a 12.3/20 result on September 21 when the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Carolina Panthers by 18 points.
Could last night’s SNF game be beaten by the Season 5 debut of The Walking Dead? We’ll find out later when the final numbers come in, but first some damning math.
Right now, the pain from last night’s non-battle comes in pairs for NBC and the NFL. First of all, the game is down 9% in metered market ratings from last week’s New England Patriots-Cincinnati Bengals match-up — where New England won by 26 points. Second, the Eagles’ blowout victory is down 14% from the comparable SNF game last season. That October 13, 2013 Washington Redskins-Dallas Cowboys game got a 13.5/20 metered market result. It went on to get a 12.7/20 rating among adults 18-49 in the final numbers, with a viewership of 22.1 million with 10.67 million in the key demo. The Season 4 debut of AMC’s Walking Dead that same night pulled in a then record breaking 16.1 million total viewers with a very close 10.4 million among the 18-49s. An obvious blockbuster of its own, the zombie apocalypse series went on to best SNF a couple more times last season.
As we wait for numbers for both the Walking Dead and the NFL from last night, here are the Top 5 markets for last night’s SNF game: Philadelphia (33.1/48), New Orleans (17.1/25) Las Vegas (16.8/26) Baltimore (15.4/23), and Norfolk (14.8/22). Note the absence of NYC.