The 31st annual “American Music Awards” gave ABC its strongest Sunday of the season, although the event — facing November sweeps competish for the first time — continued its ratings decline.

Fox won the third Sunday of the month in adults 18-49 behind football and “The Simpsons,” while three hours of Jerry Bruckheimer crime dramas paced CBS to a victory in total viewers.

Based on preliminary nationals from Nielsen, Sunday’s telecast of the “AMAs” averaged a projected 5.4 rating/13 share in adults 18-49 and 12.7 million viewers overall, down slightly from January’s record low perf (5.7/13 in 18-49, 12.9 million). Show was preempted for pro football in Boston, hurting its averages.

The “AMAs” was shifted to November from January this year in part to distance it from the Grammy Awards, which air in February. It also gave ABC event programming for the sweep.

Net was a solid No. 2 on the night with its best Sunday showing since the Academy Awards last March.

Grammys on top

For the first half of the 1990s, the “American Music Awards” consistently outrated the “Grammy Awards” on CBS among young adults, but the Grammycast has prevailed in each of the past six years.

Elsewhere Sunday, a roughly 40-minute NFL overrun led into Fox’s primetime, and “The Simpsons” followed at 8 as the evening’s No. 1 program in 18-49 (prelim 6.1/15, 12.7 million viewers overall). Net’s “Arrested Development” (prelim 2.6/6 in 18-49, 5.7 million) continues to perform weakly at 9:30, retaining just 65% of its “Malcolm in the Middle” lead-in (4.0/9 in 18-49, 9.0m).

CBS was third in 18-49 and second in 25-54, paced by a two-part repeat of “CSI” from 9 to 11 (prelim 4.7/11 in 18-49, 14.1 million), subbing for scratched movie “The Reagans,” and “Cold Case” at 8 (3.2/9 in 18-49, 13.9m).

NBC’s “Law & Order: CI” at 9 (4.3/10 in 18-49, 12.6m) was in a virtual tie with the “CSI” repeat, and was clearly affected by its crime competish, posting season-low scores. Peacock’s “Dateline” did well at 7, matching its best 18-49 score in a year (prelim 3.0/8, 10.7m) and defeating CBS’ “60 Minutes” (2.3/7 in 18-49, 12.6m) in all under-55 categories.

Reliable national ratings for cable programs won’t be issued until today, but ESPN’s Cowboys-Patriots football matchup likely scored boffo numbers.