Coming off a weekend of more national anthem protests by NFL players and up against the much-hyped Season 8 debut and 100th episode of The Walking Dead, last night’s Sunday Night Football went full Super Bowl redux but lacked the drama of the big game– and any on-field drama at all.

Once more the New England Patriots beat the Atlanta Falcons, but in  a 23-7 victory this Week 7 battle became a near non-event. The Falcons dropped their third game in a row and seem unlikely to repeat any OT Super Bowl LI matchup in February, and Atlanta never really had a chance Sunday against Tom Brady and the gang in foggy Foxborough.

Despite the blowout, the SNF ratings on NBC snagged a 12.6/21 in metered market results. Coming off less than stellar weeks this season, that’s a rise of 16% from the early numbers of last week’s New York Giants 23-10 victory over the Denver Broncos.  Last night’s MM numbers were the best any NFL primetime game has performed this season since Week 1.

Now maybe that’s because Justin Timberlake made it official he’ll be providing the halftime entertainment for Super Bowl LII. More than likely the NFL and NBC should thank that prospect of a Super Bowl redo as well as the almost always big draw and no-protesting Patriots.

With the 2017-2018 season facing near double-digit ratings declines from last year, last night’s game was also up 9% from the tepid October 23, 2016 6-6 tie between the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks. To add to the context, that game also faced and was beaten by a TWD premiere, with the series’ near-tied all-time high of the Season 6 double-death season opener.

Coming days after the NFL decided not to change its rules around the national anthem, President Donald Trump took to social media this morning to register another protest of his own:

In the end, last week’s 8:30-11:15 PM ET SNF matching up the Giants and Broncos went on to draw a night-winning 5.6/19 among adults 18-49 and 16.16 million viewers overall, down a tick from the week before. Last year’s Week 7 Cardinals-Seahawks game ended up with a 6.0/19 in the key demo and an audience of 17.71 million.

As always, we’ll update with more SNF numbers later plus NCIS: Los Angeles, Shark Tank and Family Guy ratings and those TWD numbers too. As for what we know of SNF right now, last night’s game peaked in the second quarter with a 13.9/22 in the 9-9:30 PM ET slot