How To Watch NFL Games Without Cable or Satellite TV

·10 min read

Table of Contents

  • When Does the NFL Season Start?

  • Who’s Playing in the First Games?

  • How Much Will it Cost To Stream the Games?

  • Where To Stream NFL Games

If you’re a sports fan who’s recently cut cable, then you’ve almost certainly wondered how to stream NFL games online.

Unfortunately, because the NFL is so popular, it’s become a very hot commodity among TV networks and streaming platforms. That means, without cable, it can be a little bit difficult to piece together a solution to watch the games.

But finding an NFL live stream doesn’t have to be difficult, so long as you know how much NFL you’re trying to watch. If you’re just looking for local games, there are plenty of great streaming services that will get you the big four networks — CBS, NBC, ABC and FOX — and ESPN, which will almost certainly cover you no matter who ends up with the rights in a given year.

If you’re trying to watch as many games as possible or tune in to NFL RedZone, things get a little more expensive but not really all that tricky. We assume most viewers want to watch NFL live streams, but if you’re a fan who doesn’t mind watching the game after it’s over, there’s one fantastic option for you too.

There’s really only one caveat common to all the services: outside of one, arguably two, exceptions, there’s no way to avoid some TV or other channels as a part of the package. So ultimately, whatever you end up with, it will almost certainly be a service seeking to replace your cable subscription and will cost accordingly (though in our experience, online TV providers are typically cheaper and way easier to access and use than traditional cable).

The rest of the differences come in the shape of the number of devices, the number of simultaneous streams, the availability of DVR and cloud storage and the variability of channels and different tiers of subscriptions.

But the best way to find a service that can deliver the level of NFL you want is to check out some of our favorite streaming products and services below. Whether you just want to watch the hometown heroes or mainline every game into your veins, you’ll find options below that get you the channels you need to get those sweet NFL live streams when the next season kicks off.

One last thing before we dive into the services: Let’s answer a few FAQs about the upcoming season.

When Does the NFL Season Start?

Week 1 kicks off on Thursday, Sept. 9, at 8:20 p.m. on NBC with “Thursday Night Football.” The Dallas Cowboys play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the defending Super Bowl champs. You can expect the regular Sunday slate of NFL games starting at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 12. The Baltimore Ravens and the Las Vegas Raiders will play in the season’s first “Monday Night Football” game on ESPN and ABC at 8:15 p.m. on Sept. 13.

But that’s not your first chance to watch pro games. The first pro football game this year (and every year) is the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game. The Cowboys play the Pittsburgh Steelers on Aug. 5 at 8 p.m. on FOX.

The week after the Hall of Fame Game, beginning Thursday, Aug. 12, three weeks of preseason begin, a permanent change to the NFL schedule from four preseason games in favor of an extra regular-season game.

The preseason kicks off with a “TNF” doubleheader: the Washington Football Team takes on the New England Patriots and the Steelers play the Philadelphia Eagles at 7:30 p.m. The former game will be shown on the NFL Network and there’s no announced broadcaster for the latter game yet. In a strange scheduling twist, the majority of the league’s games for the first preseason week will be played on Saturday.

Who’s Playing in the First Games?

We did mention this above, but we also figure a list of games would be really convenient for Week 1. Here are the matchups, times and networks for every Week 1 game:

  • Dallas Cowboys vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 8:20 p.m., NBC, Thursday, Sept. 9

  • Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans, 1 p.m., CBS, Sunday, Sept. 12

  • Los Angeles Chargers vs. Washington Football Team, 1 p.m., CBS, Sunday, Sept. 12

  • Seattle Seahawks vs. Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m., FOX, Sunday, Sept. 12

  • New York Jets vs. Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m., CBS, Sunday, Sept. 12

  • Minnesota Vikings vs. Cincinnati Bengals, 1 p.m., FOX, Sunday, Sept. 12

  • Arizona Cardinals vs. Tennessee Titans, 1 p.m., CBS, Sunday, Sept. 12

  • San Francisco 49ers vs. Detroit Lions, 1 p.m., FOX, Sunday, Sept. 12

  • Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m., CBS, Sunday, Sept. 12

  • Philadelphia Eagles vs. Atlanta Falcons, 1 p.m., FOX, Sunday, Sept. 12

  • Cleveland Browns vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 4:25 p.m., CBS, Sunday, Sept. 12

  • Green Bay Packers vs. New Orleans Saints, 4:25 p.m., FOX, Sunday, Sept. 12

  • Denver Broncos vs. New York Giants, 4:25 p.m., FOX, Sunday, Sept. 12

  • Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots, 4:25 p.m., CBS, Sunday, Sept. 12

  • Chicago Bears vs. Los Angeles Rams, 8:20 p.m., NBC, Sunday, Sept. 12

  • Baltimore Ravens vs. Las Vegas Raiders, 8:15 p.m., ESPN, ABC, Monday, Sept. 13

Note: Though Week 1 broadcasts tend to be pretty set in stone because, well, nobody yet knows which are the good and fun teams to watch, we’d recommend checking the NFL’s official schedule ahead of Week 1 for any potential broadcast or kickoff time changes.

How Much Will it Cost To Stream the Games?

This is a super loaded question that we get into more below with each streaming service, but the minimum you could pay to watch at least a few games is $5 a month or a one-time purchase of $35. If you’re trying to see every single game, you could be looking at spending $100 for NFL Game Pass and you wouldn’t even get the games live. But, for the most part, you can expect to be able to watch your local team live and some of the Sunday slate of games live every week for between $35 to $70 per month, depending on exactly how many games you’re trying to watch and whether or not watching live matters to you.

Now, without further ado, let’s check out how to stream NFL games below.

Where To Stream NFL Games

1. Hulu + Live TV

For an excellent alternative to traditional cable that gets you every channel you’d need to watch the NFL in one package, go for the Hulu + Live TV bundle. You get all four networks, ESPN and NFL Network. Seeing as all games are broadcast live on one of those channels, you should have no problem watching your local team play. Overall, for its price, Hulu + Live TV is definitely one of the best options for NFL live streams. And if you’re willing to spend only a few bucks more, you can get the same bundle plus Disney+ and ESPN+, which will get you ESPN archives, if not “Monday Night Football.”

Hulu logo; how to stream NFL games
Hulu logo; how to stream NFL games


Buy: Hulu + Live TV $64.99

2. YouTube TV

If you’re already into YouTube and/or Google product offerings, you might consider trying YouTube TV. The package includes all four networks, ESPN and NFL Network. Plus, if you love getting all the best action and key information at once, you can upgrade your subscription to include the NFL RedZone channel. Overall, it offers, more or less, the same benefits as Hulu + Live TV, give or take a few channels.

YouTube TV logo; how to stream NFL games
YouTube TV logo; how to stream NFL games


Buy: YouTube TV $64.99

3. Sling TV

We’re not going to lie: Sling TV is not the best option for watching NFL games, though it might work if you already have it. The Blue package has NBC, FOX and the NFL Network while the Orange has ESPN. You can combine the packages, but you’d still be missing ABC and CBS. So while Sling is a great option for basketball fans, it’s just not an ideal service to ensure you can always get an NFL live stream. The silver lining is that whichever route you take, you can upgrade your subscription to include NFL RedZone, so you’ll certainly have plenty of NFL coverage, just not all the individual games you might want.

Sling TV logo
Sling TV logo


Buy: Sling TV Orange and Blue $50.00

4. NFL Game Pass

If you just want to know how to stream NFL games and don’t care about other channels or watching games live, NFL Game Pass is far and away the best option. Every. Single. Game. is available to watch the minute the live broadcast ends, regardless of where you are or where the game took place. Furthermore, because the game is over, you can watch 45-minute condensed versions of games, so catching up won’t even be all that difficult. And if that wasn’t enough to satiate your NFL appetite, Game Pass also includes content from the NFL Films Archive, including “Hard Knocks” and more.

NFL Game Pass logo; how to stream NFL games
NFL Game Pass logo; how to stream NFL games


Buy: NFL Game Pass $99.00

5. NFL Sunday Ticket

For the best possible option to watch practically all NFL games live, with one notable exception, there’s only NFL Sunday Ticket with DirecTV. Unfortunately, that would require buying into DirecTV and all the headaches that would entail. Thankfully, DirecTV does offer NFL Sunday Ticket as a standalone package. But, the online-only offering is only available to those who cannot subscribe to DirecTV, for example, people living in apartment buildings with no line of sight for satellite TV or college students. You can only watch one game at a time and the package also doesn’t include the local games, which may ultimately defeat the purpose.

DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket logo
DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket logo


Buy: NFL Sunday Ticket only PRICE VARIES


Buy: DirecTV with NFL Sunday Ticket $69.99

6. FuboTV

For fans who love football and every other sport, FuboTV will likely be the best option. The basic package comes with all the essential channels — NBC, CBS, NBC, FOX, ESPN and NFL Network — but Fubo also offers more expensive packages with more channels as well as every add-on under the sun, including a sports add-on that includes NFL RedZone.

FuboTV logo
FuboTV logo


Buy: FuboTV $64.99

7. Paramount+

For a less-than-ideal but nonetheless decent option for local live games, Paramount+, formerly known as CBS All Access, will get the job done. If you haven’t guessed, this service will get you all the live, local games broadcast on CBS, which is probably enough for most people since CBS will likely be handling most of your team’s broadcasts, depending on your team and market. But that’s all you’ll be getting here in terms of NFL live streams.

Paramount+ logo
Paramount+ logo


Buy: Paramount+ $5.99

8. Amazon Prime Video

We mention Amazon Prime Video only because we suspect many readers already have it. If you do, congratulations, you can watch “Thursday Night Football” live for no additional cost. Though we wouldn’t recommend buying Amazon Prime just for Prime Video and “TNF,” it’s another option you might not have realized you already had to watch at least one football game a week. If you don’t have Prime Video and really want that one game, you can also subscribe just to Prime Video for way less than a full Prime account.

We should also note that starting in 2022, Prime Video will become the exclusive partner for “Thursday Night Football.” So now is not the worst time to subscribe. (Plus, you know, there are many other benefits to Amazon Prime).

Amazon Prime Video logo
Amazon Prime Video logo


Buy: Amazon Prime Video $8.99

9. Antennas Direct ClearStream Eclipse TV Antenna

For the cheapest way to stream NFL games without a TV package or subscription, pick up an HD TV antenna like the Antennas Direct ClearStream Eclipse TV Antenna.

It picks up signals from any direction up to 35 miles, whether through walls, buildings, mountains or reception dead zones, and you could end up with a dozen crystal clear channels, including the major networks, depending on how close you are to the source. While that will still leave you without the majority of NFL games, you’ll be able to watch your team of choice live with just one purchase, no subscription required.

Antennas Direct ClearStream Eclipse HDTV Antenna, how to stream NFL games
Antennas Direct ClearStream Eclipse HDTV Antenna, how to stream NFL games

Buy: Antennas Direct ClearStream Eclipse TV Antenna $34.99

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