At 8-6, the Buccaneers are still very much in the hunt for a place in the postseason out of the NFC. With the team's recent success, they have had three late-season games flexed; the Bucs' Week 14 and 16 games against the Saints were moved from 1 p.m. to 4:25 p.m. and the team's Week 15 matchup with the Cowboys was flexed to primetime.
A behind-the-scenes look at the Buccaneers' game against the Cowboys.
When the Buccaneers took on the NFC-leading Cowboys in Week 15, Tampa Bay and Dallas drew one of the largest audiences of any Sunday Night Football game this season.
In total, NBC reported that the game averaged a Total Audience Delivery of 24.3 million viewers, which is the second-highest audience for a Sunday Night Football game all season, trailing only the Cowboys' Week 14 game against the Giants. The game peaked at 25.3 million viewers between 11 and 11:15 p.m.
The Total Audience Delivery number reflects impressions across all of NBC's platforms. There were 24.2 million viewers who watched the game strictly on TV, which is the third-highest Week 15 primetime rating since 1995. The Bucs' game against Dallas saw a 34 percent increase from last year's Week 15 primetime game when Arizona met Philadelphia.
While the Buccaneers fell, 26-20, in the final minutes of the game, Tampa Bay's up-and-coming team is certainly drawing national interest. NBC expects the game to be the most-viewed primetime TV show of the week when the final numbers are released.