NFL Network Intercepts 7.1 Million Viewers with Atlanta-New Orleans

Averaging 6.4 Milion Viewers, 'TNF' On Pace for Best Season

NFL Network’s Week 13 Thursday Night Football telecast was not unlucky with viewers, racking up the channel’s third-largest audience of the 2012 season.

Atlanta’s 23-13 win over New Orleans, in which Drew Brees’ record 54-game streak with a touchdown pass came to an end in a hail of five interceptions, averaged 7.1 million viewers, according to Nielsen data, a total that excluded over-the-air viewing in the participating teams’DMAs. That made TNF the top cablecast on Nov. 29.

Gauged against last season’s week 13 telecast, the 4.4 rating for Falcon-Saints with a was up 21% from Philadelphia-Seattle on Dec. 1, 2011 and 19% from that contest’s 5.9 million audience average.

Through 11 games, TNF has averaged a 4.1 U.S. households rating and 6.4 million viewers, putting it on pace to become the highest-rated and most-watched season ever for the pro football league’s in-house network.

Relative to the current campaign, Atlanta-New Orleans ranks third behind the 8.6 million who watched Green Bay-Chicago in the TNF season-opener and the 8.1 million viewers for Baltimore-Cleveland on Sept. 27.

TNF continues next week with the AFC West matchup between Peyton Manning's Denver Broncos and the Oakland Raiders on Dec. 6 at 8 p.m. (ET).