How to watch NFL games online, with or without cable

In 2019, 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 the opening kickoff of the preseason to the Super Bowl.

To help, we’ve compiled this comprehensive guide on how to stream the entire 2019/2020 season online. Put on your jersey and find a comfortable spot to kick back — here’s your ticket to the NFL.

Note: Thanksgiving games are unfortunately not a part of Thursday Night Football, and are instead aired on Fox (Bears vs. Lions at 12:30 p.m. ET), CBS (Bills vs. Cowboys at 4:30 p.m. ET), and on NBC (Saints vs. Falcons at 8:20 p.m. ET). To get the games, you can either use an HD antenna or sign up for one of the live TV streaming services listed below to potentially stream your local broadcast channels.

Preseason games

Before we get into the real action (as in the games that count) it’s worth discussing preseason for those looking to get ready for Fantasy Football, or those who are simply ready for some action of any kind. Games will be spread throughout all major networks that air regular-season games (CBS, NBC, Fox, and ESPN) as well as multiple games on NFL Network and on the NFL Gamepass app (though local games may be blocked out).

You can see a full schedule here for every pre-season game here, and then follow below for multiple ways to stream said games, no matter which network is airing them. NFL Network will also offer live or re-airings of all 65 games for those games which aren’t aired on national networks.

Cord-cutting options

Thursday Night Football

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.

Below is a list of all the TNF games planned for the 2019 season, including those on Fox (available for many with an HD antenna), Amazon Prime Video, and Twitch, as well as the full NFL Network TV schedule. (All games scheduled at 8:20 p.m. ET unless otherwise noted.)

NFL Network Fox/Amazon/Twitch
9/12: Buccaneers @ Panthers N/A
9/19: Titans @ Jaguars N/A
9/26: Eagles @ Packers 09/26: Eagles @ Packers
10/3: Rams @ Seahawks 10/3: Rams @ Seahawks
10/10: Giants @ Patriots 10/10: Giants @ Patriots
10/13: Panthers @ Buccaneers (9:30 a.m. ET) N/A
10/17: Chiefs @ Broncos 10/17: Chiefs @ Broncos
10/24: Redskins @ Vikings 10/24: Redskins @ Vikings
10/31: 49ers @ Cardinals 10/31: 49ers @ Cardinals
11/3: Texans @ Jaguars
(9:30 a.m. ET)
N/A
11/7: Chargers @ Raiders 11/7: Chargers @ Raiders
11/14: Steelers @ Brown 11/14: Steelers @ Brown
11/21: Colts @ Texans 11/21: Colts @ Texans
12/5: Cowboys @ Bears 12/5: Cowboys @ Bears
12/12: Jets @ Ravens 12/12: Jets @ Ravens
12/21: TBD N/A
12/21: TBD N/A
12/21: TBD N/A

As you can see, while there are great options for cord-cutters to watch most of TNF this year, you’ll have to get creative if you want to watch the back quarter of the season.

How to watch NFL games online, with or without cable

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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How to watch NFL games online, with or without cable

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 $25 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 $40 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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How to watch NFL games online, with or without cable

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 $50 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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How to watch NFL games online, with or without cable

It’s 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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How to watch NFL games online, with or without cable

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.

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How to watch NFL games online, with or without cable

Hulu’s live tv subscription is proving to be a favorite for a lot of cord cutters. At $45 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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How to watch NFL games online, with or without cable

Yet another live TV streaming service, FuboTV is actually 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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How to watch NFL games online, with or without cable

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

How to watch NFL games online, with or without cable

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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How to watch NFL games online, with or without cable

Launched in 2015, NFL.com 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. Obviously, the biggest draw to watching sports is watching the game unfold in real time, so this option doesn’t really 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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