Football season means team-branded beer commercials, a kitchen full of snack supplies, and a text group full of “where are we watching the game this week?” If you’ve ditched cable--or you’re thinking about ditching cable--it’s probably at the top of your list to make sure you can still watch your team win. Spoiler alert: you can.

The NFL recognizes that its audience is shifting away from traditional cable television and looking for ways to watch games across several devices. They’ve made their content available through several channels, including streaming services like Hulu, Sling, and fubo; mobile streaming apps like NFL Sunday Ticket U; and other ways that we’ll cover in the next section.

How to watch NFL football without cable

You’ve got plenty of options to catch NFL football live without cable: TV streaming services, mobile streaming, and network TV with an antenna. If you’re such a fanatic that you also want to watch recorded games, you can get the NFL Game Pass and access the NFL’s library of 256 recorded games.

TV streaming services

If you know what you’re looking for, you can check the NFL schedule and your local listings for CBS, FOX, and NBC’s schedules, and use our streaming channel comparison chart to find your game.

In case you missed the basic NFL airing schedule for 2019, it’s here:

  • Sunday: Afternoon games air on CBS and FOX. Night games air on NBC.
  • Monday: Monday Night Football airs on ESPN.
  • Thursday: Thursday Night Football (TNF) airs on FOX, NFL Network or Amazon Prime depending on the week. Check NFL.com for each week’s TNF schedule.

[A couple of Thursday Night Football games in 2019 will only be on NFL Network, which you can stream through fuboTV or Hulu with live TV.]

So, where do you find CBS, FOX, NBC and the other channels? The best streaming services for sports lovers are fubo TV, Hulu with Live TV, and YouTube TV.

fubo TV ($54.99/month)

  • 3 networks for live games: CBS, FOX, NBC
  • NFL Network and NFL Red Zone
  • 100+ channels for real-time viewing
  • *does not offer ESPN

Hulu with Live TV ($44.99/month)

  • 60+ live channels that you can access on your mobile device or tablet as well as any smart or connected devices (Smart TVs, streaming boxes, casting sticks, etc.)
  • Channels vary by location, but you can use Hulu’s live sports website features to check your local listings.

Sling TV ($35/month)

  • Only carries NBC and FOX, and only in certain markets.
  • You can add CBS Live Stream, NFL Network, Redzone, and ESPN which are available as stand-alone services.

YouTube TV ($49.99/month)

  • Local CBS, FOX, and NBC, plus ESPN, and several other sports channels.
  • 70+ channels and unlimited DVR storage, which is an advantage over other streaming services that have limited storage.

What is NFL Sunday Ticket?

NFL Sunday Ticket began as a free service exclusively for DirecTV customers, but has expanded availability to cord cutters (or anyone who wants to watch football games on-the-go) through DirecTV NOW. It’s important to note: NFL Sunday Ticket is limited to subscribers who would not be able to get satellite television through DirecTV.

The service includes a few different options, like NFL Redzone and extended news coverage and videos, but this is largely targeted toward people interested in watching the Eagles when they live in Boston. In other words, out-of-market games.

NFL Sunday Ticket is available on existing services and devices, like Sling or Roku, but you’ll only be able to watch out-out-market games. That means if you live in Boston, you’re not going to be able to watch the Pats through NFL Sunday Ticket.

Other ways to watch the NFL

NFL Game Pass:

The NFL GamePass doesn’t live-stream games, but it gives you access to all 256 games during the regular season plus preseason games and other extras.

Repeat: there is no real-time game viewing through NFL Game Pass, but they promise that regular season games will be added “soon” after the live telecast (seems like within 72 hours).

Amazon Prime:

Thursday Night Football airs on NFL Network, FOX, and Amazon Prime. If you already have an Amazon Prime account, you can watch NFL games that are playing live by opening the Amazon app and watching on Thursday evenings.

OTA antenna:

OTA stands for over-the-air antenna, sometimes referred to as off-air antenna. It is simply the way we watch broadcast television without cable. If you’ve never heard of it before but want to learn more, we have you covered here. Basically, any television that has a built-in TV tuner and can get CBS, FOX, or NBC will be able to tune into your local NFL games.

To find your local team’s watch guide, go to nfl.com/teams and select your team. Then select “schedule.” You’ll see summaries of past games as well as date, time, location and broadcast channel for viewing the game. For example, you’ll be able to watch the Pats face the Jets on CBS.

Also an NBA fan? Need to figure out how to watch basketball games via streaming services? We got you.


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