As more television providers expand their offerings into offering live streams of NFL games, things have only gotten more confusing for the everyday viewer. Below, we have outlined all the ways in which you can watch every NFL game this season (legally).
*Editor’s note: There are several ways to stream NFL games illegally, but in this article we will not be discussing those options.*
Below you will see several of the following brand’s mentioned. Here are their starting prices:
|Sling TV||Starting at $25 per month||RedZone, NFL Network, ESPN, FOX, NBC|
|Hulu||Starting at $39.99 per month||NBC, FOX, CBS, ESPN|
|Fubo TV||Starting at $45 per month||NFL Network, RedZone, FOX, NBC, CBS|
|Playstation VUE||Starting at $44.99 per month||NFL Network, RedZone, FOX, NBC, CBS, ABC|
|DirecTV NOW||Starting at $40 per month||NFL Network, FOX, NBC, CBS, ESPN|
|CBS All Access||Starting at $5.99 per month||CBS|
|VPN Services||Starting at $5 per month||Out-of-network streaming access|
How to watch NFL Red Zone and NFL Network online:
The big kahuna, and probably the single greatest thing to happen to Sundays since the NFL took the day over. There are three major, reliable services that allow cord cutters to stream NFL RedZone.
- Sling TV – One of the cheapest options, Sling TV offers RedZone as an add-on to their introductory packages for $10 extra a month. While there have been reliability issues in the past, for the most part, those seem to have mostly been resolved. You will end up spending about $50+ a month for their core package as well as their RedZone add-on.
- FuboTV – What once started as a niche streaming service to help U.S. soccer fans get more access to international matches has turned into one of the best ways to watch sports online. They offer an NFL RedZone package for $9 extra a month, on top of their $39 core package, for a total of about $48 a month.
- Playstation VUE – The most expensive option, but we have found it to be wildly popular among cord cutters. They have a wide range of channel options included in their core packages, which start at $45 a month. With the $10 RedZone addition, you will end up paying about $55 a month.
All three of these add-on packages will include a subscription to NFL Network as well, meaning you can watch the Thursday Night Football games that are exclusive to NFL Network this season.
How to watch Monday Night Football games on ESPN:
Remember the good ol’ days when Monday Night Football used to be on ABC? That was nice. There was a little bit of a dead zone in the late aughts and early 2010s where ESPN was nearly impossible to watch without a cable subscription. In fact, ESPN for a long time was the only reason people kept their cable package.
Here’s how you can stream ESPN online:
- Sling TV – Again, probably the cheapest option for ESPN streams. Their entry level package includes ESPN, so you’re only out of pocket about $25 a month to get full access to ESPN through their streaming service.
- Playstation VUE – More expensive than Sling, but their entry packages are considerably more expansive than Sling’s entry-level packages. Worth exploring if you’re interested in a wider array of available channels.
- DirecTV NOW – Similar to VUE, DirecTV NOW offers a lot of networks in their entry-level packages, but are also more expensive. If you’re an AT&T subscriber, check with them to see if they have any specials, though, as they’ll run deals for cheaper NOW subscriptions.
DO NOT let ESPN+ fool you. Their standalone streaming service does not include access to NFL games, because ESPN is run by dinosaurs and can’t just give us all what we really want.
How to watch Thursday Night Football games online:
Alright, take a deep breath, things get a little confusing with Thursday Night Football (although this year feels a little less confusing than the last two). As it stands right now, Twitter and Amazon will NO LONGER be streaming Thursday Night Football, instead the league has a two-network deal, with NFL Network, and FOX.
You can stream FOX online through Fubo TV and Hulu, who both currently have dozens of local networks available through their streaming service (see the full list here).
It’s also important to remember that FOX will be broadcasting these games nationally, so anyone with a TV and a cheap antenna will be able to watch the games completely free through their television set. Many people forget, and in some cases were completely unaware, that antennas still work perfectly fine for local broadcast networks.
Below is the complete Thursday Night Football schedule:
- Week 2, Sept. 13: Ravens at Bengals, 8:20 p.m., NFL Network
- Week 3, Sept. 20: Jets at Browns, 8:20 p.m., NFL Network
- Week 4, Sept. 27: Vikings at Rams, 8:20 p.m, FOX/NFL Network
- Week 5, Oct. 4: Colts at Patriots, 8:20 p.m, FOX/NFL Network
- Week 6, Oct. 11: Eagles at Giants, 8:20 p.m, FOX/NFL Network
- Week 7, Oct. 18: Broncos at Cardinals, 8:20 p.m, FOX/NFL Network
- Week 8, Oct. 25: Dolphins at Texans, 8:20 p.m, FOX/NFL Network
- Week 9, Nov. 1: Raiders at 49ers, 8:20 p.m, FOX/NFL Network
- Week 10, Nov. 8: Panthers at Steelers, 8:20 p.m, FOX/NFL Network
- Week 11, Nov. 15: Packers at Seahawks, 8:20 p.m, FOX/NFL Network
- Week 13, Nov. 29: Saints at Cowboys, 8:20 p.m, FOX/NFL Network
- Week 14, Dec. 6: Jaguars at Titans, 8:20 p.m, FOX/NFL Network
- Week 15, Dec. 13: Chargers at Chiefs, 8:20 p.m, FOX/NFL Network
- Week 15, (Saturday) Dec. 15: Texans at Jets, 4:30 p.m., NFL Network
- Week 15, (Saturday) Dec. 15: Browns at Broncos, 4:30 p.m., NFL Network
How to watch NFL games on NBC, CBS, and FOX
As stated above, it’s important to remember that these major networks are all available through your broadcast antenna, which allows you to watch all games on these three major networks completely free.
If you don’t have a TV, or are more interested in a digital stream, there are several great options for NBC and FOX:
- Hulu Live – Most people aren’t aware that Hulu offers a live streaming service for $50+ a month. You can get local streams of your local networks through their service in most major markets.
- Fubo TV – One of the best parts of Fubo is their expansive list of local broadcast networks, meaning you can most likely access these networks through their service in your market.
- Sling TV – Similar to the above, but with fewer local broadcast networks, Sling TV has dozens of local broadcasts, and in some markets allows you to stream FOX and NBC.
- Playstation Vue – PSVue has a pretty good range of local broadcasts, including NBC and FOX in dozens of markets.
As for CBS, there are two options:
- CBS All Access – To the chagrin of streamers everywhere, CBS was the first major broadcast network to build a standalone streaming service for their network. This service offers CBS for $6 bucks a month, which isn’t that expensive, but still having all these services can be a little complicated.
- Fubo TV – Fubo somehow got CBS to agree to allow Fubo subscribers access to local CBS broadcasts, meaning most local games will be available through Fubo (with some very strange blackouts that we can’t get anyone to explain to us).
How to watch out-of-network NFL games online
Alright, all of that is well and good if you live in a television market of the team you want to watch, but what if you’re out of market and want to stream the game online?
This is a little bit trickier, but not an impossible task.
With a tiny bit of tech savvy, you can sign up for a VPN service (poke around, there are dozens of them), that will allow you to set “home” location in the television market where the game you want to watch is streaming. This will trick the streaming service into giving you access to that game.
While this isn’t illegal by any stretch of the imagination, some streaming services consider it a violation of their terms of service. Despite this, we have yet to learn of anyone who had a streaming service cancel their subscription due to the use of a VPN
(Side note, services like Netflix clamped down on the use of VPNs, but this hasn’t necessarily been a mainstream decision by most services yet).
Another option is to pay for a RedZone subscription as listed several sections above. That way you’re sure to catch at least the exciting parts of your favorite team’s game. And who doesn’t love the octobox.
How to watch NFL games on your phone
Alright, another deep breath. This one is also kind of confusing.
We’re actually still waiting to see this live in action for the 2018-19 season, but as it stands right now, it appears CBS has nabbed extended mobile rights, straight from the teeth of Verizon, who had a stranglehold on them for the past several years.
You’ll need a CBS All Access subscription to get access to live streams of NFL games on CBS on any cellular device. Verizon customers will still have access to games online as well, but it appears the NFL is interested in rapidly expanding out of exclusivity in the coming years.
Don’t be surprised, though, if you’re paying for a service like Sling TV, and are unable to watch a Sunday NFL game on your phone.