NFL Network Draws Most-Viewed Opening 'TNF' Game for Jets-Patriots

League-Owned Channel Joins Fox, ESPN to Have Best-Ever Opening Games

NFL Network averaged 8.8 million viewers for its Thursday Night Football opener between the New York Jets and New England Patriots, according to Nielsen.

The Patriots' rain-soaked 13-10 victory was the most-watched and highest-rated opener (5.5 HH rating) in the eight seasons since NFL Network began airing live games. It was also Thursday's most-watched program on cable or broadcast (the game was simulcasted on Boston's ABC affiliate and New York's CBS station). Overall, the game was the fourth-most viewed.

The is the second season of the league-owned network's expanded 13-game slate. Next week's game features the return of Kansas City Chief's head coach Andy Reid to Philadelphia, where he served as the Eagles' coach for 13 seasons.

It's been banner start to the year for the NFL's TV partners, as Fox and ESPN also posted their best-ever opening games.