With the, there are plenty of ways to follow the most popular sport in the US. Getting a cable subscription is the simplest solution. It allows you to watch your local team and a bunch of other teams without worrying about which channels are available.
For cord-cutters, live NFL football streaming options get a bit more complicated. Your best bet is to subscribe to a, but the sheer number of channels that carry live games — , as well as the national feeds of NFL Network and ESPN — means football fans might have to make a compromise. (Editors’ note: and CBS are both owned by ViacomCBS.)
The only way to get a full football experience is to have a whole litany of channels from your TV provider, and that can be costly. Sunday NFC games are largely on Fox, AFC games are on CBS and Sunday night football is on NBC. Monday night football is only on ESPN. Though Fox has most Thursday night games, there are several that are NFL Network-only (and streaming on Amazon Prime Video and Twitch).
With all that in mind, we offer our recommendations for the best way to watch NFL without cable.
Best for everything: YouTube TV
Last year our streaming service pick for NFL fans was PlayStation Vue at $55 a month, but. That leaves cord-cutters with two more expensive options.
At $65 per month each, aand check all the NFL channel boxes. Local channels CBS, NBC and Fox are included in many markets, as are ESPN and the NFL Network, so you can watch Monday night, Thursday night and Sunday night.
Want RedZone for following your fantasy team? That’s available on either service as part of an add-on for an extra $11 per month. YouTube TV users can add the Sports Plus add-on by clicking on your profile and going to “Settings” then the “Membership” tab. FuboTV users can go into My Profile and choose “Manage Add-ons” for its Sports Plus offering.
Both YouTube TV and FuboTV’s Family plan allow for three simultaneous streams, with YouTube offering unlimited cloud DVR and FuboTV offering 500 hours of storage. The two services are widely available too, with apps on iOS and Android, the web and on TVs through Roku, Chromecast, Android TV, Apple TV and Fire TV.
If we had to choose between the two, we’doverall. While FuboTV does get points for broadcasting the Fox Thursday night games in 4K, YouTube TV has access to Turner channels like TNT, TBS and uj, as well as PBS, and a superior DVR.
FuboTV’s base plan, called Standard, is available for $60 per month and offers the same channels as the Family plan so it may be an option for football fans who want to save a bit. But since it offers a paltry 30-hour DVR and just two simultaneous streams, we think the extra $5 is worth it. Also, the Standard plan is incredibly difficult to find for new customers on FuboTV’s site.
Many other live TV streaming services carry those local channels and ESPN, but most lack NFL Network and RedZone.and (formerly DirecTV Now) lack both. Orange and Blue plan for $45 a month gets you ESPN and, in select major markets, Fox and/or NBC, but you’ll still lack CBS, NFL Network and RedZone (the latter two were on Sling last year but have since been removed in a carriage dispute).
The chart below sums it all up. The base price is listed after the service name, while a dollar sign indicates that the channel is available for an additional fee.
NFL channels on live TV services compared
|Channel||Sling Orange ($30)||Sling Blue ($30)||Hulu with Live TV ($55)||AT&T TV Now ($55)||YouTube TV ($65)||FuboTV ($65)|
Budget alternative for NFC fans in big cities: Sling Blue
Those looking to save some cash might want to check out Sling Blue for $30 a month. While it lacks ESPN and NFL Network, meaning you’ll miss out on Monday Night Football and some of the early season Thursday Night Football games, in select markets you’ll be able to get Fox and NBC. The catch is that those markets are mainly in big cities, so if you live outside one of those areas, Sling Blue might not be for you.
Fox, of course, broadcasts most NFC and Thursday night games, while NBC has Sunday Night Football. CBS, which broadcasts the bulk of AFC games, isn’t included on Sling at all. Of course, an.
Budget alternatives: CBS All Access, Locast or an antenna
There are some apps that offer CBS’ slate of Sunday AFC games live, including CBS All Access for $6 per month. Depending on where you live, however, your local CBS station (and those NFL games) might not be available. CBS offers livestreaming services in many markets; you can check for yourself if your area has live CBS streaming here.
, meanwhile, is 100% free. It’s currently offered in only 23 cities, however, and not all will have CBS, Fox and NBC.
And as we mentioned above, an over-the-air antenna connected to your TV provides another free option, no streaming required,.
Local and prime-time games will also be available to watch for free on your iOS or Android phone or tablet through the Yahoo Sports app. Some games, like next Thursday’s Bengals and Browns matchup on NFL Network, will require you to be on a cellular connection and not on Wi-Fi due to “rights restrictions.” Keep that in mind if you’re on a limited data plan.
Thursday Night Football: NFL Network, Fox, Amazon Prime and Twitch
Thursday Night Football is probably the most complicated part of the NFL streaming schedule. Most games will be available on the NFL Network, Fox, Amazon Prime Video and Twitch.
A handful of Thursday games, however, are being shown exclusively on NFL Network. This included Week 2’s Bengals-Browns tilt as well as Week 3’s Dolphins vs. Jaguars game, and Week 4’s Broncos and Jets game. The Week 15 and Week 16 Saturday doubleheaders are also NFL Network exclusives.
The Christmas Day matchup (or “Thursday Night Football on a Friday”) between the Vikings and Saints in Week 16, however, will be shown on all platforms: Fox, NFL Network, Amazon Prime Video and Twitch.
As mentioned above, if you want the NFL Network you’re going to need FuboTV or YouTube TV or use the Yahoo Sports app.
A frequent fan-favorite method of following all the NFL action, RedZone is a way to catch every big play around the league. The cheapest road to RedZone is through YouTube TV or FuboTV and getting either of their respective $11 per month sports add-ons.
If you’re fine with watching on your phone, the NFL offers RedZone as an in-app subscription for $35 for the season. While one of the cheapest options for getting RedZone, as The TV Answer Man points out, it is a bit tricky to find this option and you will only be able to watch through the NFL app on your iPhone or Android phone.
Once in the app, click on the profile icon in the upper right corner. You’ll see a section labeled “Subscriptions” with a line for NFL RedZone. Tap “Access” and you should be able to sign up.
What about Sunday Ticket?
NFL Sunday Ticket is still largely limited to DirecTV satellite subscribers, though those who live in buildings that can’t add a satellite dish can get a streaming version to watch football starting at $294 for its To Go package, or $396 for a Max package that includes the RedZone channel (a student version is also available for $100). You can check your address on the Sunday Ticket site.
The problem here, however, is even if you’re eligible it doesn’t include your local games. You can only watch Sunday games that aren’t being broadcast on CBS, Fox or NBC in your area.