The Buffalo Bills' 37-16 loss to the New England Patriots Sunday had the third-highest rating of the season as viewership in December for the National Football League continued to climb as they seek to end a 17-year playoff drought.
The Christmas Eve game had a preliminary 41.1 rating on WIVB-TV (Channel 4), the local CBS affiliate. That was off by 1.1 points from the 42.2 rating for the Bills' 24-16 win over Miami on Dec. 17 and 0.3 points ahead of the 40.8 rating for the Bills victory over Oakland on Oct. 29.
The Bills' 13-7 victory over Indianapolis in the snow on Dec. 10 has the season's highest rating at 46.7.
With only one game left in the season, the Bills have averaged a 37.4 rating, down from 38.3 at this point last season.
However, the final game on New Year's Eve Sunday with Miami has playoff implications and has been moved to 4:25 p.m. and could pull the Bills very close to the 38.1 full-season average of a year ago despite all the negativity surrounding NFL ratings this season.