NFL Network Poised To Set 'TNF' Ratings Mark

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With one game to go, NFL Network is on the verge of setting a Nielsen record for its Thursday Night Football coverage.
Through seven games, NFL Network's TNF has averaged 6.4 million viewers, according to Nielsen data, up 19% from the record 5.4 million mark for its first seven game telecasts in the 2010 season.
The pro football league's in-house network, which may be expanding its game slate as early as next season, saw its ratings dip below its season average with its two most recent telecasts. Its Saturday night coverage of the Dallas Cowboys' throttling of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers averaged 5.6 million watchers (excluding viewers on over-the-air stations in the participating teams' DMAs), which was still up 27% from the 4.4 million from Carolina-Pittsburgh in 2010.
The Dec. 15 telecast of Atlanta's blowout of Jacksonville garnered 4 million viewers on average, down 18% from the 4.9 million that watched San Diego-San Francisco last season. The most recent Thursday night contest was the NFL Network game telecast that dropped below its counterpart from last season.
The service, which now counts a high-water mark 58 million homes, concludes its game schedule on Dec. 22 with the AFC South champion Houston Texans looking to improve its playoff position against the Indianapolis Colts, which averted a winless campaign by topping the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.