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Rankings predictions: Judge chase, NFL Week 3 and more


Rankings predictions for Aaron Judge’s pursuit of 61 home runs, Week 3 of the NFL season and more. After delivering a season-high audience on Thursday, how well can the Judge chase delay against Sunday Night Football this weekend?

What number of viewers will tune in to look at Judge go for #61?

The Aaron Judge home run chase lifted FOX to an MLB season-high 3.23 million viewers Thursday night, no small feat given the NFL competition. With Judge still stuck on 60 home runs, the AL record-tying 61st could come during ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball.

In two head-to-head meetings with Sunday Night Football, Sunday Night Baseball has drawn just 787,000 and 634,000 viewers — low even by football season standards. There may be little doubt that Sunday’s game will cruise past those levels, but how high can the numbers go? Up to now ten seasons, no Sunday night game has averaged even two million viewers in the course of the NFL season. Facing Sunday Night Football last season, Yankees-Red Sox drew within the neighborhood of 1.5 million viewers, though that was with no meaningful subplot.

It seems likely that the Judge factor should push the numbers comfortably past that mark — particularly with the ESPN2 “KayRod” forged adding to the audience — but with MLB dipping down from broadcast to cable and the NFL moving up from streaming to broadcast, don’t expect a repeat of the Thursday night performance on FOX.

Even so, it seems a virtual lock that Sunday will mark the seventh Yankees-Red Sox game to rank among the many ten most-watched MLB windows this season. The #10 spot is currently held by a Yankees-Mets game in July that averaged 2.12 million on ESPN.

MLB Sunday Night Baseball: Red Sox-Yankees (7p Sun ESPN/ESPN2). Prediction: 2.24M viewers.

Predicting Week 3 NFL viewership

Aaron Judge could peel just a few viewers away from NBC’s Sunday Night Football this week, but the larger drag figures to be an all-West Coast matchup. Each the 49ers and Broncos are traditional teams and Denver boasts star Russell Wilson, but each teams enter Week 3 on the shaky side — Denver after a pair of unimpressive games and San Francisco after losing their young quarterback for the season. It would be tough for the sport to match last yr’s 10.8 rating and around 20 million viewers for Packers-49ers.

NFL Sunday Night Football: 49ers-Broncos (8:20p Sun NBC). Prediction: 9.4, 17.6M.

The quarterback matchup of Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers takes center stage for potentially the ultimate time Sunday. The previous regular season meeting between these players two years ago averaged an 11.9 rating and north of twenty-two million viewers, not bad for the mostly fanless slog of that season. With NFL rankings on the rise the past two seasons, one would expect higher numbers this time around.

It seems pretty likely that rankings and viewership will surpass last yr’s 11.7 and around 23 million for coverage featuring Buccaneers-Rams. Matching last week’s impressive 14.1 and 27.4 million on CBS shall be tougher.

NFL: mostly Packers-Buccaneers (4:25p Sun FOX). Prediction: 13.6, 25.2M.

There was once a time when Giants-Cowboys was the NFL’s highest-profile rivalry. Those days are gone with Recent York having been largely irrelevant in recent times, however the Giants start this season 2-0 — giving Monday’s matchup a bit more pop than the past few years, not less than on paper. The addition of an ABC simulcast should help Monday’s game surge past last yr’s equivalent Eagles-Cowboys game, which aired on ESPN and ESPN2 alone and averaged an 8.1 with around 15 million viewers.

NFL Monday Night Football: Cowboys-Giants (8:15p Mon ABC/ESPN/ESPN2). Prediction: 10.4, 18.32M.

Additional predictions

CFB: Wisconsin – #3 Ohio State (7:30p Sat ABC): In what is going to soon be a thing of the past, ABC encompasses a Big Ten conference matchup in its Saturday Night Football window this week as Ohio State hosts Wisconsin. The Buckeyes are making their second ABC appearance this season, with their first – against Notre Dame in week one – still rating because the second-most watched game of the season with greater than ten million viewers. This week’s game won’t repeat that performance, but should pull in a solid number nonetheless. Prediction: 2.9, 5.43M.

NASCAR Cup Series: Texas (3:30p Sun USA): NASCAR barely eked out a victory over the NFL-fueled NHRA last weekend with a mere 1.1 and 1.78 million viewers — not exactly a performance that the game shall be bragging about for its marquee Bristol race. Expect higher numbers for Texas this week, as even an NFL Sunday is best than a Saturday night. Prediction: 1.2, 1.98M.

Last week’s predictions

— NFL: Chargers-Chiefs. Prediction: 6.3M viewers (Amazon Prime only); result: 11.8M.
— NFL: mostly Bengals-Cowboys. Prediction: 11.9, 22.7M; result: 14.1, 27.4M.
— NFL: Bears-Packers. Prediction: 11.6, 21.9M; result: 10.6, 19.5M.
— NFL: Bills-Titans. Prediction: 5.0, 9.21M; result: 4.25, 7.92M.
— NFL: Vikings-Eagles. Prediction: 7.5, 13.92M; result: 7.0, 12.86M.
— WNBA Finals Game 3. Prediction: 600K; result: 579K.
— CFB: Oklahoma-Nebraska. Prediction: 4.53M; result: 3.41M.
— MLB on FOX (9/15). Prediction: 1.24M; result: 1.60M.

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