How to watch NFL games online, with or without cable

In 2020, your options for watching NFL action online are plentiful. Almost all of them will cost you in some way, but there are several avenues for catching nearly any game you want. From now until the best team in football hoists the Lombardi trophy — the teams for which will be decided with a pair of championship games this weekend — there’s almost no game you can’t watch online.

To help keep you caught up on the action, we’ve compiled this comprehensive guide on how to stream the entire 2019-20 season online. Whether you’re rooting for your team out-of-market or trying to dodge the perils of network contract disputes, there are plenty of ways to catch more games. Put on your jersey and find a comfortable spot to kick back — here’s your ticket to streaming the NFL online every week.

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2020 NFL Playoffs

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The NFL’s 2020 playoff schedule has been set, and you’ll want to review your options for keeping up. Thankfully, the contests will mostly air on national networks Fox, NBC, and CBS, as well as one game on ESPN. By the way, the showdown for the Lombardi championship trophy — annually billed the Super Bowl — is on Fox.

As such, your streaming options for watching the 2020 NFL playoffs are covered through all of the same options we’ve discussed below. For your convenience, we included a full breakdown of the schedule below. We’ll be keeping this list updated throughout the single-elimination knockout tournament as teams advance to the final rounds. Figure out which games you’re interested in, then read on to see your best options for watching them.

Don’t forget that the Pro Bowl is being played January 26 in Orlando. This all-star mashup brings together the best players as voted on by coaches, media, and fans, with each side representing their respective conferences. ESPN is hosting the 2020 NFL Pro Bowl, so keep that in mind as you figure out your preference to watch along.

(Note: For your curiosity and convenience, we’ll leave the slate of completed games visible in this post throughout the 2020 NFL playoffs. Teams in bold have already played and won their game.)

Wild Card Weekend

Game Date Network
Buffalo Bills @ Houston Texans Saturday, January 4 @ 4:35 p.m. ET ESPN
Tennessee Titans @ New England Patriots Saturday, January 4 @ 8:15 p.m. ET CBS
Minnesota Vikings @ New Orleans Saints Sunday, January 5 @ 1:05 p.m. ET Fox
Seattle Seahawks @ Philadelphia Eagles Sunday, January 5 @ 4:45 p.m. ET NBC

Divisional Round

Game Date Network
Minnesota Vikings @ San Francisco 49ers Saturday, January 11 @ 4:35 p.m. ET NBC
Tennessee Titans @ Baltimore Ravens Saturday, January 11 @ 8:15 p.m. ET CBS
Houston Texans @ Kansas City Chiefs Sunday, January 12 @ 3:05 p.m. ET CBS
Seattle Seahawks @ Green Bay Packers Sunday, January 12 @ 6:40 p.m. ET Fox

Conference Championships

Game Date Network
Tennessee Titans @ Kansas City Chiefs Sunday, January 19 @ 3:05 p.m. ET CBS
Green Bay Packers @ San Francisco 49ers Sunday, January 19 @ 6:40 p.m. ET Fox

Super Bowl 54

Game Date Network
TBD Sunday, February 2 @ 6:30 p.m. ET Fox

Thursday Night Football

how to watch NFL games online

The Thursday Night Football schedule is always complicated for streaming. While NFL Network gets all the games, 11 of them are available from multiple outlets.

In 2018, Fox paid a reported $3.3 billion to land telecast rights for those 11 games for five years, and those available down the road. Meanwhile, Amazon shelled out big bucks for TNF streaming rights, landing the same 11 games for its Amazon Prime Video service, as well as its Twitch video service.

Unfortunately, Thursday Night Football for the 2019 NFL season has wrapped up, so you’ll have to find something else to fill your midweek void. As noted above, Fox and NFL are linked up for half of a decade on this deal, and we’ll share the full 2020 schedule as soon as we know it.

NFL Sunday Ticket (a la carte)


If you live in a dorm, apartment complex, or city that doesn’t allow for access to DirecTV, you may be eligible to buy the company’s coveted NFL Sunday ticket package without having to sign up for satellite. The standard streaming package — which currently starts at $73.49 a month under a four-month promotional period — allows you to stream out-of-market games on your computer, smartphone, game console, or smart TV, no satellite required. You can find out more about this package, and whether or not you qualify, at the link above.

While this option represents one of the most comprehensive ways to watch the NFL, it does come with a few caveats. First, Sunday Ticket only grants users the ability to watch games on Sunday, without access to Sunday night, Thursday night, or Monday night contests. Local games are also subject to blackout, which means DirecTV is “restricted from showing events near where a game is played or broadcast locally.”

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Sling TV


Sling TV offers perhaps the best bang for your buck online, including options for ESPN, NFL Network, and the all-important RedZone Channel — but like a lot of online relationships, it’s complicated.

The package is broken up into two segments, including Sling Orange and Sling Blue. With Sling Orange, you can watch Monday night games on ESPN for $30 a month, but you’ll be restricted to streaming from one device at a time, and there’s no NFL Network or option to purchase NFL RedZone. At the same price, Sling Blue users get access to NFL Network, and the ability to stream to multiple devices, as well as possibly watching games on NBC and Fox (depending on where you live), but you don’t get access to ESPN. You can, however, purchase the Sports Extra package for $10 a month and have NFL RedZone. Yes, it’s convoluted, but that’s where we are now.

For the best shot at the NFL season, we recommend going for the $45 package, which gets you both Sling Blue and Orange and then adding Sports Extra for RedZone. You also get a Cloud DVR, but it isn’t available for ESPN networks. Sure, it gets a bit pricey, but you do get pretty much everything you need for NFL streaming (shy of the full Sunday Ticket package, of course), and you can always drop after the season.

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AT&T TV Now (formerly DirecTV Now)

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AT&T knows that cord-cutting is popular, so the company has followed suit with competitors in creating an online-only TV service, AT&T TV Now (formerly DirecTV Now). Prices start at $65 per month for the entry-level package, which gets you more than 45 channels — including ESPN for your Monday Night Football fix.

If you’re lucky, you might also be able to watch live Sunday football on CBS and Fox, Sunday Night Football on NBC, and Thursday games on Fox, but live local channels are only offered in select cities — you can find out if you get them with this handy tool. The package also features a Cloud DVR. Unfortunately, NFL Network-exclusive games won’t be available because AT&T has decided to drop NFL Network and NFL RedZone from all DirecTV and U-Verse offerings.

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YouTube TV

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It is currently available only in select cities, but if you’re in one of those areas, you might want to take a look at YouTube TV. For $50 a month, you’re guaranteed to have CBS, NBC, and Fox, so you’ll be able to get your NFL fix on Sunday (based around your in-market games, of course), Sunday night, and Thursday night for most games this season. It also has ESPN for Monday Night Football, but no NFL Network or RedZone. The service also comes with a cloud DVR system, but with some restrictions.

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PlayStation Vue


PlayStation Vue — which isn’t limited to PlayStation owners despite the name — offers four subscription levels starting at $50 per month for the Access package. For our purposes, though, you’ll likely want to start with the Core package at $55 per month, which includes NFL Network for Thursday Night Football, as well as a few Monday, Saturday, and Sunday broadcasts. You should also get local broadcasts of games too, depending on where you live.

Users can upgrade to The Sports Pack which comes with NFL RedZone for $10 a month. Vue also includes DVR recording capabilities (with some channel and time-limit restrictions, of course) and, along with PlayStation 3 and PS4 hardware, it’s available to stream via apps on Amazon Fire TV devices, iOS, Apple TV, Android, Chromecast, and Roku devices.

We should mention that this option will only be around through the length of the 2020 NFL Playoffs. Sony recently announced it would shutter the doors on PlayStation Vue, a change that will go into effect January 30, which means you’ll want to find an alternative to watch the Super Bowl. Be sure to consider other options on this list for catching your games.

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Hulu with Live TV

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Hulu’s live tv subscription is proving to be a favorite for a lot of cord-cutters. At $55 per month, you get access to Monday Night Football on ESPN, Sunday Night Football on NBC, and other nationally broadcasted games throughout the week on CBS and Fox. Like most other online subscriptions, your locally televised games may or may not air, depending on where you live. Unlike most other services, you also get access to Hulu’s original programming and on-demand content as part of your package. You don’t, however, get access to NFL Network or RedZone, and if you want to DVR a game you have to pay an extra $15 a month to fast-forward commercials.

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Fubo TV

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Yet another live TV streaming service, FuboTV is all about sports, so it makes sense it would serve up some NFL action. That said, even though its packages start at $55 per month, it has a huge hole in its coverage: No ESPN. It does, however, carry NFL Network, and depending on your area, local affiliates for Sunday games, as well as an option to add NFL RedZone for another $9 per month through the Sports Plus package. This service will mostly appeal to those into all kinds of sports, including college football nuts, but you may want to check what’s available in your area before signing up. Supported devices include computers, Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, Android and iOS devices, and Chromecast.

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CBS All Access

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If you’re not committed to a fantasy team or only watch the NFL casually, CBS All Access might be an option for you. For $6 a month, you get live access to CBS’ AFC games on Sundays. This is the cheapest subscription on the list, but that’s because you’re missing way more games than you get, and most people can access in-market games with a simple HD antenna anyway. Still, if you’re looking to tiptoe your way into football fandom, All Access is a decent starting point, and shows like Star Trek: Discovery alone could make it worthwhile for some.

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NFL mobile app

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It used to be that only those paying a hefty Verizon bill every month could get NFL streaming on their phones, but as of 2017, everyone can get in on it regardless of carrier. The NFL mobile app and Verizon’s portfolio of streaming properties — including Yahoo Sports and its go90 service — will stream “in-market and national games, including national pre-season, regular season, playoff games, and the Super Bowl nationwide to sports fans,” on mobile devices, along with highlights and other content. The biggest drawback is that, unless you can find a workaround, you’ll be stuck watching on your phone as the app blocks mirroring to your TV from most devices.

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NFL GamePass (sort of)


Launched in 2015, offers a subscription streaming option called GamePass, but it isn’t as desirable as you might think. For $100 or four installments of $30, a GamePass subscription allows you to stream any regular-season game after it’s aired, and lets you rewatch games going back to 2009. The biggest draw to watching sports is watching the game unfold in real-time, so this option doesn’t offer much for most fans. But GamePass is a great choice for fans who can’t watch games live or just students of the game, and it’s also a great place to catch live preseason games ahead of the season.

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Pay TV subscription required

These options require you (or someone who likes you very much) to have an active pay TV subscription with one of several providers, which (as noted by the Streaming Observer’s Chris Branton), includes some of the live TV streaming services mentioned above, such as Sling TV.

Fox Sports Go


Football fans with a pay-TV subscription will appreciate the Fox Sports Go app, which gives access to dozens of streamable NFL games. Compatible devices include Chromecast, Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV devices, Android TV, and both iOS and Android mobile devices. You can also watch on your browser.

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NBC Sports


NBC airs Sunday Night Football games (including the season opener on Thursday, September 5) throughout the regular season and the network also streams the games online via its app and, available with your pay-TV credentials. The NBC Sports app is available on Chromecast, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Xbox, PlayStation 4, iOS, and Android supported devices. The NBC Sports app is actually pretty sweet if your interests go beyond football, too. PGA, Premier League soccer, and the Olympics all air on NBC, so the app is pretty valuable even after football season.

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NFL Network online


If you want to go straight to the source, the NFL Network offers streaming access to its broadcast games and RedZone, depending on your cable or satellite provider. As mentioned above, RedZone’s scoring storm showing any team close to putting up points, often splitting the screen between multiple games, is the big-ticket item. If you’re a fantasy guru, this is also a great way to stay on top of all your players. You (or someone you know) will need to purchase the NFL Network from your cable or satellite provider to get it.

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WatchESPN is an online-only companion service that lets you stream live Monday Night Football. For now, you must have a paid subscription to a compatible pay-TV service to use the app, but the good news is the app has gotten a lot better in recent years, losing a lot of its stuttering ways. ESPN only holds the rights to air Monday Night Football games, meaning it won’t work for Sunday games, and, in case you were wondering, the stand-alone app, ESPN+, does not carry the NFL.

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