NFL viewership down 7 percent for wild-card round of routs

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New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) runs against Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Julius Peppers (56) during the second half of an NFC wild-card NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers won 38-13. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) runs against Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Julius Peppers (56) during the second half of an NFC wild-card NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers won 38-13. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke) — Matt Ludtke

NEW YORK – Average TV viewership for the four NFL wild-card telecasts was down about 7 percent from a year ago — in line with lower ratings during the regular season, but also perhaps a result of four routs this time.

According to numbers released Monday by the league, the weekend's playoff games averaged about 30.3 million viewers, compared with about 32.7 million for those games in January 2016.

The most-watched game this year was on Sunday night, when the Packers beat the Giants 38-13, drawing a 21.3 household rating and 39.3 million viewers nationally. The equivalent game last year — Green Bay beating Washington 35-18 on Sunday night — got a 21.8 household rating and 38.9 million viewers.

One factor that frequently affects how many people watch a sporting event is the competitiveness, and there's been little of that so far in the 2017 postseason. The 19-point average margin of victory in the four games — none was closer than 13 — made it the most lopsided first round of the playoffs since 1981.

Last year, the average point difference in the wild-card round was 12.5. One game was decided by one point, another by two.