Cowboys vs. Raiders Projected to Be Most-Watched Regular-Season NFL Game Since 1990

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVNovember 26, 2021

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 25: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys makes a pass during the third quarter of the NFL game between Las Vegas Raiders and Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on November 25, 2021 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

CBS Sports is projecting that the Thanksgiving game between the Dallas Cowboys and Las Vegas Raiders was the most-watched NFL regular-season game on any network since 1990.

Based on preliminary numbers, CBS is estimating that 38.531 million people watched the game:

CBS Sports PR @CBSSportsGang

The <a href="https://twitter.com/NFLonCBS?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFLonCBS</a> Thanksgiving Day Game Scores Big With Viewers, Projects as Most-Watched NFL-Regular Season Game on Any Network Since 1990<br><br>Full Release: <a href="https://t.co/sKg4wCVTWJ">https://t.co/sKg4wCVTWJ</a> <a href="https://t.co/pISjA81lXP">pic.twitter.com/pISjA81lXP</a>

CBS was likely aided by the fact that it was an entertaining and tightly contested game in which the Raiders beat the Cowboys 36-33 in overtime on Daniel Carlson's fifth field goal of the game.

In addition to an estimated viewership of over 38 million, CBS noted that the Cowboys vs. Raiders game was the most-streamed NFL regular-season game ever on Paramount+.

It is also projected that Cowboys vs. Raiders had 26 percent more viewers than last year's Thanksgiving game between the Cowboys and Washington Football Team.

While Las Vegas jumped out to a 17-6 lead and led for most of the game, the Cowboys stayed in it throughout and made things interesting.

The fourth quarter was especially entertaining since the teams combined for five scores, including two in the final two minutes.

After Dallas tied the game at 30 on a 32-yard passing touchdown from quarterback Dak Prescott to tight end Dalton Schultz and by a two-point conversion pass to Schultz, Vegas took a 33-30 lead on a 56-yard field goal by Carlson with 1:52 remaining in regulation.

Dallas drove deep into Raiders territory and had a chance to score a game-winning touchdown, but they had to settle for Greg Zuerlein converting a game-tying 45-yard field goal with 19 seconds left.

While the Cowboys won the coin toss and got the ball first in overtime, they punted after a three-and-out, and the Raiders got into field-goal position when Cowboys defensive back Anthony Brown committed a 33-yard pass-interference penalty on Raiders wide receiver Zay Jones.

Six plays later, Carlson made a 29-yard field goal for the win, capping the most exciting game of the holiday.

Dallas (7-4) will now look to bounce back next Thursday at the New Orleans Saints, while the Raiders (6-5) will look to build on their win when they host Washington one week from Sunday.