With Super Bowl XLIX still a week away, we know you want to satisfy your craving for football by watching this weekend’s NFL Pro Bowl. We’re also well aware many of you either don’t want to shell out the dough for new TVs, don’t have a sports bar nearby carrying your favorite team’s games, or have one roadblock or another which prevents you from catching all the action.
If this sounds like you, keep reading and we’ll show you how to easily catch games this season using your PC or Mac.
|Team Michael Irvin vs. Team Cris Carter – Sunday 8:00 p.m. ET||For the second year in a row, the NFL’s version of an All-Star game (the Pro Bowl) features an un-conferenced format in which NFL legends Michael Irvin and Cris Carter draft their respective teams. Though noticeably void of players participating in next weekend’s Super Bowl, the Pro Bowl still features swaths of top-tier NFL talent. This year, Team Irvin (winners of last year’s game) plan to take the field led by quarterbacks Matt Ryan and Tony Romo, running backs C.J. Anderson and DeMarco Murray, and wideouts Odell Beckham Jr., Randall Cobb, and Jimmy Graham.They’ll square off against Cris Carter’s team of quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Drew Brees, running backs Jamaal Charles and Justin Forsett, and wideouts A.J. Green and Jordy Nelson.Though both teams also drafted premium talent on the defensive end, the Pro Bowl is known for weak defensive play and high scoring games. Still, seeing JJ Watt chase Tony Romo, or finding out if linebacker D’Qwell Jackson will have an opportunity to sack teammate Andrew Luck, remain decent opportunities for excitement in an otherwise dull game. Though it might not attract as many fans as the league would hope, it’s still fairly tolerable entertainment for anybody looking to get their NFL fix before Super Bowl XLIX.
Prediction: Team Carter 30 Team Irvin 27
Sunday: NFL Sunday Ticket
Starting this season, DirecTV will allow people to buy subscriptions of NFL Sunday Ticket without having to get a TV package on top of that. That’s right, no satellite dish required! You’ll be able to choose from one of three new packages at three different price levels. One allows you to stream NFL Sunday Ticket to your computer, phone or tablet. The next step up allows you to stream directly to your video game console. The highest tier permits you to stream to all of those devices. The first tier costs $200, the next step up will run you $240, and the most expensive package will charge you $330.
The differences between the packages don’t end there though. The $200 package won’t let you stream to your console, but also omits the Redzone Channel, and Fantasy Zone, which “gives live looks at fantasy plays.” The $240 level also doesn’t include the Red Zone Channel or the Fantasy Zone, but lets you do everything else while restricting your streams to game consoles. The $330 deal wipes away all those restrictions, and simply checks “all of the above” on everything.Keep in mind that blackout restrictions apply, and your eligibility for the service may vary.
According to Forbes, the service won’t be available to addresses that DirecTV feels can “easily” get their full TV + NFL Sunday Ticket packages. However, it’s unclear what DirecTV means by “easily.” For what it’s worth, the service seems to be widely available to those living in apartments. Those who live in apartment buildings might be categorized by DirecTV as people who can’t get DirecTV so easily, considering that attaching a satellite to an apartment building isn’t the simplest of endeavors, as Forbes notes.
We spoke to DirecTV, and they confirmed you won’t be able to use the NFL Sunday Ticket streaming package to watch Monday Night Football games, or Thursday Night Football contests. Sorry folks.
Sunday Night Football: NFL Mobile (Verizon)
Unfortunately, this is a mobile app that’s specific to Verizon. If you have a Verizon mobile subscription, you can download NFL Mobile, plug your phone into your computer or TV via a micro USB to HDMI cable, and watch Sunday Night Football that way. NFL Mobile will also stream the Super Bowl in 2015. On top of that, for Verizon Premium and MORE Everything subscribers, NFL Mobile has been updated to include live streams of local games that are broadcast on CBS and FOX. Therefore, it doesn’t sound like local blackout rules apply here. However, if we read differently elsewhere, we’ll issue an update. Don’t underestimate the value of this method.
If you want to go straight to the source, the NFL Network offers access to streaming and RedZone, depending on your established plan and broadcast company. RedZone is the best way to watch all the Sunday games at the same time, and will roll through when teams are close to making a scoring play, often splitting the screen between two games. If you’re a fantasy guru this is a great way to stay on top of all your games, and you’ll never miss a touchdown. You have to be able to watch the NFL Network on your provider (sorry Comcast) but you could probably convince one of your friends on Verizon to let you use their account.
Monday Night Football: WatchESPN
WatchESPN is an online-only companion service and requires a cable subscription that includes ESPN. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to have a cable package with ESPN, but you need to know at least someone who does and is kind enough to give you the username and password tied into their cable account. ESPN holds the rights to air Monday Night Football games, meaning this method is only applicable to Monday’s games, but the WatchESPN app is available for phones and tablets, so you can watch wherever you are on Monday night.
Questionable streaming sites
Keep in mind that most of the illegal streaming options available come loaded with unwanted spam and a barrage of pop-up windows. Leaning on such links can be frustrating, particularly when it comes to finding quality video and audio feeds with little buffering.
Related: How to connect your laptop to a TV
However, you must also keep in mind many of these sites illegally broadcast the content, and your computer is at a high risk of malware when using them. Nevertheless, you’ll notice the deep selection of links available to you once you find an adequate streaming site on the Web. Notorious sites — though technically legal given they only provide links to various broadcast streams instead of broadcasting the copyrighted content — fall upon the gray areas of the law.
Note: As a rule of thumb, never click on any link which asks you to download any HD Players, update your streaming software, or to install any “required” media players. These are often just spam links which could infect your computer with viruses.
An incredible resource for information about almost anything, Reddit has more than enough NFL information each week to satisfy any fan of the sport. Reddit’s loyal user base generates the site’s wealth of content, which is both a blessing, and a curse. You’ll find a slew of NFL-themed pictures, videos, and even alternative streaming sites on game days.
While Reddit is an excellent resource for anything and everything NFL, it’s incredibly easy to waste many an hour poking around the rest of the site. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Though not a video option, ESPN does offer its signature play-by-play Gamecast presentation for each NFL game every week. Just navigate to the NFL scoreboard page via the ESPN website, click the game you’d like to follow, and a Gamecast window opens. This feature shows real-time events including every completed pass, interception, sack, or long TD run. Gamecast also lists each team’s stats, every game’s box score, and provides links to all other currently playing games.