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NFL TV viewership takes heavy hit again in 2017

Viewership of NFL games is down 10 percent compared with 2016.

SportsPulse: NFL Insider Lorenzo Reyes breaks down the x-factors in each NFC wild card matchup. USA TODAY Sports

NFL TV viewership dropped again in 2017.(Photo: Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports)

Viewership for NFL broadcasts during the regular season dipped once again in 2017 --- and by a larger percentage than last year.

The average audience across the NFL's broadcast partners --- CBS, Fox, NBC, ESPN and NFL Network --- dropped 10%, according to data provided to USA TODAY Sports. While 33 of the top 50 TV programs since Week 1 in September were NFL games, this season's decline follows an 8% decline in 2016. 

NFL broadcasts had an average minute audience of 14.9 million compared to 16.5 million in 2016. 

CBS, Fox, NBC and ESPN had a smaller audience than 2016.

ESPN, which included its streaming audience, had the lowest drop among the four networks at a 7.7% decline. Fox had a 9.1% drop, NBC dipped 10.4% and CBS fell 11.2% compared to 2016. 

While the audience fell, NBC's Sunday Night Football still is on pace to be the most-watched prime time show for a record seventh year in a row. ESPN's Monday Night Football dominated the key male demographic (ages 18-49) for all 16 of its broadcasts.

Fox's “Americas Game of the Week," the network's main national game on Sundays, was again the top-most watched show this fall. CBS also easily outpaced competing programming.

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32. Browns (last week - 32): It literally doesn't seem like it can get any worse. A two-year stretch going 1-31? Should be a great NFL Films documentary one day.  Charles LeClaire, USA TODAY Sports


31. Giants (31): Their 260 rushing yards Sunday, when O-line got a kick in pants from GM Dave Gettleman, was more than triple their average entering game.  Vincent Carchietta, USA TODAY Sports


30. Texans (30): We'd wager Bill O'Brien is a huge fan of the "next man up" trope. Probably no team is primed for a bigger turnaround in 2018 than Houston.  Thomas J. Russo, USA TODAY Sports


29. Colts (29): No quarterback in NFL was sacked more than Jacoby Brissett, who went down 52 times. Andrew Luck must be dying to return to this lineup.  Thomas J. Russo, USA TODAY Sports


28. Jets (28):Welp. Give them credit for not prematurely playing QB Christian Hackenberg. Don't want to rush the guy. Let's give him 1,000 days in league first.  Maddie Meyer, Getty Images


27. Broncos (27): Ugly, ugly year in Denver. But congrats to RB C.J. Anderson, one of NFL's good guys, on notching his first 1,000-yard campaign.  Isaiah J. Downing, USA TODAY Spor


26. Bears (25): No team was less effective passing the ball in 2017. Time to get Mitch Trubisky better tutelage and better guys to throw to.  Brad Rempel, USA TODAY Sports


25. Dolphins (24):Few teams did less with more, and loss of discipline in Sunday's defeat wasn't pretty. Ryan Tannehill won't be instant Band-Aid to Miami's woes.  Brett Davis, USA TODAY Sports


24. Packers (21): News of GM Ted Thompson's transition makes it worth wondering if team will take more free agent chances as Aaron Rodgers' window narrows.  Bob Donnan, Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports


23. Bengals (26): They've never won a playoff game in 15 seasons under Marvin Lewis. But they're great spoilers, scuttling Lions and Ravens in final two weeks.  Tommy Gilligan, USA TODAY Sports


22. Buccaneers (23): Hard to sugarcoat a very disappointing season. But Bucs never quit. Their last five games (four losses) were all decided by just one score.  Jeremy Brevard, USA TODAY Sports


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