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Ratings down for divisional round

Divisional Round - New Orleans Saints v Minnesota Vikings

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 14: A Minnesota Vikings fan cheers during the NFC divisional round playoff game against the New Orleans Saints at U.S. Bank Stadium on January 14, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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Continuing a season-long trend, the ratings sank for the divisional round games.

Via SportsBusiness Daily, the ratings for the four games fell to the lowest level in nearly a decade, with each game dropping in comparison to the comparable game from a year ago.

The good news, if there is any, comes from the fact that the 21.8 rating generated by the Saints-Vikings in the late afternoon/early evening slot was only 0.1 lower than the 21.9 for Steelers-Chiefs last January, even though that game was played in prime time. The bad news is that the apples-to-apples comparison -- the late-afternoon Sunday game between the Packers and Cowboys -- churned a 28.2.

The Jaguars-Steelers game played at 1:05 p.m. ET posted a 20.4, the lowest overnight rating in that window in 15 years.

For the Saturday games, the 17.4 rating coming from Falcons-Eagles was down from last year’s 18.3 from the Seahawks-Falcons contest; that’s the lowest since Ravens-Titans in that same spot drew a 17.0 in early 2009. The 16.6 overnight for the Titans-Patriots game on Saturday night was the lowest since Cardinals-Panthers in early 2009.

The NFL would say that the drop is still lower than the broader drop in TV ratings for other shows, that the games lacked national brands like Green Bay and Dallas, and that the starting quarterbacks included Nick Foles, Marcus Mariota, Blake Bortles, and Case Keenum. (Three of them won, besting Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger, and Drew Brees.)

Expect similar news next Monday, given the which-doesn’t-belong-and-why? quartet of quarterbacks (Foles, Bortles, Keenum, Tom Brady) for the championship round.