How to Stream NFL Games Without Cable


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If you want to watch NFL football in 2022, but you don’t want cable, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that there are a ton of options for watching games without tying yourself up to Cox or Time Warner. The bad news is that different games are spread over a number of different services, so it can be confusing to figure out how to watch the specific games you want to see.

This season, NFL games will be broadcast on Fox, CBS, ESPN, NBC, Amazon Prime Video, and The NFL Network, but which games you can watch generally depends on where you live. If you’re into your local team, you’ll be able to catch all or most of their games, but if you’re a fan of a non-local team, it’s possible to see all of its games, but it isn’t going to be cheap.

The (nearly) free option

Unless you’re super-hardcore or a fan of a distant team, you can watch all the NFL football you’d ever want for nearly nothing. With the purchase of a $25 digital antenna, you can watch almost every regional game that you’d be able to see if you had cable, without paying for any streaming service—as long as you live close enough to the stations broadcasting the games to tune in.

Sunday AFC games will be shown on CBS. Sunday NFC games will be on Fox. Sunday night games will be shown on NBC. As long as you are within range of a local station broadcasting these networks, you’ll be able to watch these games (and local channels, plus a ton of other weird crap that is still being broadcast over-the-air as a bonus) just by installing a digital antenna.

You will not be able to watch Monday Night Football, Thursday Night Football, or NFL Network games without cable or streaming. You won’t be able to watch any out-of-region games either.

Streaming services for NFL Football

Sling

Sling is the most budget-conscious NFL Football streaming service, but it’s missing a ton of games. Sling offers two services: Sling Orange and Sling Blue. Both are $35 a month or you can combine them for $50. Blue offers the NFL Network, Fox, and NBC games (NFC Sunday afternoon games, Sunday Night Football, Monday Night Football) and Orange offers ESPN’s games. You cannot watch NFC games (CBS) through Sling.

Hulu, Fubo, and YouTube TV

Hulu + Live TV, Fubo, and YouTube TV all have subscription tiers that let you watch local games from Fox and CBS, NBC’s Sunday night game, and NFL Network games, but none let you watch out-of-region football or Thursday night football. Hulu and Fubo will run you $70 a month. A YouTube TV subscription is slightly cheaper ($55 a month for the first three months, $65 after). These streaming services are very much like cable, and while the football packages are the same, the other channels and content offered differ from service to service.

All three of these options offer a $10 or $11 add-on for NFL Redzone, a service that lets you watch touchdowns from every game. I find Redzone annoying and unwatchable, but some people like it.

Paramount Plus

A Paramount Plus subscription gives you access to local games that are broadcast on CBS for $5 a month.

Peacock

For a $5 a month subscription, you’ll be able to watch NBC’s Sunday Night Football broadcast, and no other NFL games.

Amazon Prime

Amazon Prime is the only way you can watch Thursday Night Football games on your TV, although these are the only games you’ll be able to watch through the service. An Amazon Prime Video membership is $9 a month, but the service is included as part of Amazon Prime’s $139 per year or $15 a month charge which also gives you free shipping on Amazon items.

NFL+

The newly-launched NFL+ service costs $4.99 a month and lets you watch every regional game and the elusive Thursday night game, but it comes with a huge catch: You can only stream to your mobile device and you cannot cast to your television. You also can’t watch out-of-region games.

NFL Sunday Ticket

If you want to watch NFL games from non-local teams, NFL Sunday Ticket is the only (legal) option for you. But it’s not cheap and requires a subscription to DirecTV, which makes the whole “not having cable” thing kind of moot. Still, add an Amazon Prime sub and you’ve got every single NFL game at your fingertips.

Sunday Ticket lets you watch every out-of-region game for $293.94 for the entire season, and DirecTV lets you watch local games (except Thursday night games.). The higher-tier subscription, NFL Sunday Ticket Max, is $395.94 and adds NFL RedZone and DirecTV Fantasy Zone, a new fantasy football channel.

Seriously, just get a digital antenna

If you’ve read the above and you’re thinking, “This is really complicated. I just want to watch a damn football game,” I agree. But installing a digital antenna is simple. It won’t show every game, but it will show most of them. Also: it’s free, and your team’s Monday Night Football appearance will be playing at the bar down the street, anyway.

 

 



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