Detroit Lions vs Minnesota Vikings: Are you wondering how to stream NFL games for the 2019-2020 season? Or maybe you have a few questions about it. You’ve come to the right place. As a hardcore NFL fan myself, I’ve put together a detailed guide that shows you exactly how to watch NFL without cable, with no technical knowledge or experience required. You can be streaming games in just minutes (it’s easy and super fast to get started). Plus, I’m going to answer several frequently asked questions along the way in this guide. Keep reading to learn how to watch NFL games without cable TV
Watch the NFL Without Cable
If you’ve ditched your cable company in favor of one (or several) video streaming services, you can still watch all the live sports you want, including NFL broadcasts. On-demand services such as Netflix and HBO Now don’t offer live sports though, so you need to subscribe to a cable-replacement service that streams live channels. Not all these live streaming services are ideal for NFL fans, as they may be missing some key coverage networks. You should also consider the features and other content a service offers to determine which is the best value for your household.
National vs. Local Broadcasts
NFL games generally air at four time slots on different networks during the regular season: Thursday Night Football (Amazon Prime Video, Fox, and NFL Network), Sunday afternoons (CBS and Fox), Sunday Night Football (NBC), and Monday Night Football (ESPN). Note that Thursday Night Football games are exclusive to the NFL Network up until the fourth week of the regular season. Broadcasts of playoff games are split between CBS, ESPN, Fox, and NBC. Super Bowl LIV will be broadcast on Fox. The best NFL streaming services include all of these channels, or at least the vast majority of them.
Not all broadcasts are the same, however. For instance, which NFL games you can watch on Sunday afternoons depend on your local market. As these games are carried on local affiliate channels, they are also subject to the same blackout rules as on cable. The NFL matchups on Sunday nights and every other day of the week are national broadcasts, so you can watch them regardless of your location. Playoff games and the Super Bowl are also televised to national audiences.
Cable and Over-the-Air Options
One of the easiest ways to ensure complete coverage of national and in-market games is to sign up for a cable plan. Note that if you go this route, you will likely pay more than any video streaming service and will lose out on other conveniences, such as better-designed interfaces and support for more platforms. NFL Sunday Ticket is one of the few legitimate options for watching out-of-market regular-season games. With this cable add-on (exclusive to AT&T’s DirecTV cable branch), you can watch every regular-season game on Sunday afternoons, regardless of your geographic location. This is ideal for football fans who live outside of their favorite team’s home market.
Streaming cable over the air via an antenna is another option for watching local affiliate channels (such as CBS, Fox, and NBC) though your success may vary depending on your location and the strength of the signal in your home. You also need to buy and set up an antenna for this method. Sling TV is the only video streaming service on this list that integrates with over-the-air channels. Although we have not reviewed them, Sling offers bundles with this indoor RCA antenna and AirTV’s products, such as the AirTV.
Other Ways to Stream NFL Games
Paid services are not your only options to stream NFL games. For instance, you can watch in-market NFL games on Sunday afternoon as well as primetime Sunday Night Football, Monday Night Football, and Thursday Night Football broadcasts via the free Yahoo Sports app or NFL app for iOS and Android. Note that neither app supports casting of any kind and that some games require you to stream them over a cellular connection. The streaming quality of both apps was excellent in testing over Wi-Fi. Locast is a donations-supported option for streaming local channels in major market areas, such as Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, and San Francisco. Locast is currently tied up in legal battles with national broadcast channels, so it is unclear how long this will be a viable option.
If you search for any NFL matchup and concatenate “live stream” to your search query, some site likely has a stream. PCMag does not condone content piracy. Some subreddits also exist solely to provide streaming links for NFL games. Similar reddit communities that curated streaming links for other national sports leagues have been shut down, however. If you do find a reliable stream, make sure to protect yourself with the right security tools, such as ad and script blockers, privacy extensions, and of course, a virtual private network, or VPN. Many video streaming services do not allow VPN usage, which prevents you from spoofing your location to get games in a different coverage market.
If you don’t care about watching games live, NFL Game Pass from the NFL Network is an option. You can rewatch any regular-season NFL games after they air with this service and get the benefit of condensed game replays.
The Best Sports Streaming Services
If you really don’t care about watching every NFL game or are not interested in the NFL at all, there are other sports streaming services you should consider. Dazn is an excellent option for MMA and boxing fans. ESPN+, which oddly does not include ESPN’s Monday Night Football coverage, offers a good range of national and college sports.