Carolina Panthers  v New Orleans Saints

Quarterback Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints jogs off the field after defeating the Carolina Panthers. (Wesley Hitt / Getty Images / December 8, 2013)

NBC won Sunday night among the major networks with its weekly prime-time NFL game, while the finale of "The Amazing Race" slowed among young-adult viewers, according to early numbers from Nielsen.

"Sunday Night Football," the face-off between the Carolina Panthers and the New Orleans Saints, drew an average of 16.6 million viewers total and a rating of 6.0 in the key 18-49 demographic, based on the preliminary numbers that typically understate live sports. Viewership among the advertiser-coveted young adults was 11% greater than last week's early numbers. 

In Nielsen's metered market, the Saints' 31-13 victory scored a household rating of 12.7. 

Overall, NBC was the top network with 13.8 million viewers on average and a 4.9 in the 18-49 age group. 

ON LOCATION: Where the cameras roll

Against the football competition, CBS aired the season finale of "The Amazing Race." The closer for the reality show's 23rd season drew a rating of 2.1 in the 18-49 age group, making it the series' lowest-rated finale ever in that category. That's down 19% from the December season ender last year. However, its total viewership, averaging 9.21 million, was a percentage point higher than the most recent spring finale. CBS' numbers are tentative because NFL games ran into prime time in a few markets. 

Fox also had a football overrun boosting its averages. After that, the network had "The Simpsons," flat with its last original episode two weeks ago with a 3.0. "Bob's Burgers" increased 31% from last week to a 2.1, while the Brian-less "Family Guy" jumped 18% to a 2.6 compared with two weeks ago and "American Dad" rose 24% to a 2.1.

On ABC, "America's Funniest Home Video" rose 25% in the 18-49 group and the fairy tale series "Once Upon a Time" increased 16%. Meanwhile, "Revenge" returned from a two-week break about flat with its last number (1.5). "Betrayal" slipped to a 0.8, tying its lowest-ever rating. 

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ryan.faughnder@latimes.com