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How to Watch NFL Games Without Cable

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Here’s how to watch NFL games without cable and save big money. I share 10 ways to watch NFL games online and still see your favorite team each week.

If you’re a fan of the NFL who wants to cut the cord, you may be wondering how to watch NFL games without cable in 2o2o and still catch all of the action. Streaming services are the answer.

The average monthly cable bill is north of $200, but you don’t need to pay that to watch your favorite team. If you want to know how to legally watch the NFL without cable, this guide shares the best streaming providers to use for games.

Channels Needed to Stream NFL Games

 

Before determining the best ways to watch live NFL games, you need to know the channels that carry games. Here are the channels you need to get live football games:

  • CBS – shows Sunday games
  • ESPN – shows Monday Night Football
  • Fox – shows Sunday games
  • NBC – shows Sunday and Thursday Night Football

Thursday Night Football is a bit more complicated as some shows air exclusively on the NFL Network, though most simulcast on Fox and Amazon Prime. If you plan to cut the cord and love football, it’s essential to find a streaming service that allows you to watch the most action.

How to Watch NFL Games Without Cable

 

There are various ways to watch NFL games live, but not all are equal. Here are the top services to watch football this fall.

ServicePriceTrial Length
Hulu Live$557 days Free Trial
Sling TV$30-$453 days Free Trial
fubo$65+7 days Free Trial
Vidgo$40+3 days Free Trial
AT&T TV Now$55+7 days Free Trial
YouTube TV$657 days Free Trial
CBS All Access$67 days Free Trial
Amazon Prime$1330 days Free Trial

 

1. Hulu with Live TV

 

Hulu with Live TV is one of the top choices to live stream NFL games without cable and save loads of money. The service offers one base package, which costs $54.99 per month for 65+ channels.

Key for football lovers is the service gives you access to the ESPN family of channels, as well as Fox Sports. Hulu Live also provides access to local networks in most locations. The one drawback to Hulu Live is that they don’t carry the NFL Network.

However, that should only mean you’re out a game or two of Thursday Night Football that does not live stream on Amazon Prime or Fox. Hulu makes up for this by offering the SEC and ACC Networks for those who love to watch college football.

Hulu with Live TV offers a cloud-based DVR with 50 hours of recording ability. You can upgrade to 200 hours for $9.99 per month. You can also stream on multiple devices at once to help scratch your NFL itch.

Read our Hulu Live channels list to learn more.

Cost: $54.99 per month

Channels included: locals, ESPN family of channels, Fox Sports

Free trial: 7 days

Try Hulu

 

2. Sling TV

 

Whereas Hulu Live only offers one package, Sling TV allows you to fully customize your channel offerings with two base packages – Orange and Blue, each costing $30 per month. Sling Orange offers ESPN, and Blue offers Fox Sports.

You can combine the two, Sling Orange + Blue for $45 per month to receive all the base channels the streaming service offers – 50+ channels.

The one drawback is Sling TV offers minimal local networks. You receive Fox and NBC in some markets, and no CBS. If that’s not an issue, Sling has a sports add-on package for $10 per month that includes NFL Red Zone, ACC Network, and Pac-12 Network.

Sling has a basic cloud-DVR setup with only ten included hours. You can upgrade to 50 hours for $5 per month.

Read our Sling TV packages guide to learn more.

Cost: $30 for either Orange or Blue, or $45 for the combination

Channels included: ESPN family of channels, Fox Sports, Fox and NBC in some locations

Free trial: 3 days

Try Sling

 

3. fuboTV

 

fuboTV is one of the more unique services to stream NFL games without cable. The service carries up to 200 channels, but it also comes with a more expensive plan; its base plan starts at $64.99 per month.

Cost aside, the streaming provider is a good option to watch NFL games. The base package includes the full suite of ESPN channels, Fox Sports, the NFL Network, and locals in many, though not all, locations.

If you enjoy niche sports, fuboTV is worth considering as it offers various add-on packages to get access to sports like biking and tennis. fuboTV has a cloud-based DVR that allows you to record 30 hours of content. You can upgrade to 500 hours for an additional $9.99 per month.

Read our review of the fuboTV channels to learn more.

Cost: $64.99+

Channels included: ESPN family of channels, Fox Sports, NFL Network, locals in some locations

Free trial: 7 days

Try fubo

 

4. Vidgo

 

Vidgo is a newer player in the cable alternative space. However, it’s a suitable choice if you want t0 watch NFL games live.

Vidgo is cheaper than other services, with the base package costing just $40 per month. This gives you access to all of the ESPN Networks, Fox Sports, and the NFL Network. You also get college-focused channels like the ACC Network, the Pac-12 Network, and the Big Ten Network.

You can upgrade to the Plus package for an additional $10 per month and receive all of the regional Pac-12 channels.

There are two drawbacks with Vidgo. You only receive ABC and Fox, and there is currently no DVR. If you purchase a digital antenna, this will take care of local channels, but not having a DVR may be a deal breaker.

Read our Vidgo TV review here to learn more.

Cost: $40+

Channels included: ESPN family of networks, Fox Sports, ABC, Fox, the NFL Network

Free trial: 3 days

Try Vidgo

 

5. AT&T TV Now

 

Formerly known as DirecTV Now, AT&T TV Now is another option to watch NFL games without cable. The platform has several packages to choose from, starting at $55 for 45 channels. Unfortunately, it’s easy to spend even more as the higher-end packages run over $100 per month.

As a part of the base $55 package you receive ESPN, Fox Sports, and locals (only Fox, CBS, and NBC) in some locations. AT&T TV Now makes up for that with a robust cloud-DVR of 500 hours.

The pricing of the packages makes AT&T TV Now a tough recommendation for football. Most people will be better served by considering Hulu Live or Sling TV.

Read our review of AT&T TV Now to learn more.

Cost: $55+

Channels included: ESPN, Fox Sports, CBS, Fox, and NBC in some locations

Free trial: 7 days

Try AT&T TV Now

 

6. YouTube TV

 

YouTube TV is tough to beat for NFL games. The streaming service offers the full family of ESPN channels plus the complete Fox Sports offering. YouTube TV also carries the SEC Network and the Big Ten channel for college football fans.

You get all local channels and an unlimited DVR that lets you keep content for nine months.

This is perfect for the NFL fan who wants to catch all of the action and have peace of mind they can record content.

There is one significant drawback to YouTube TV – cost. It has one base package that recently increased to $65 per month. YouTube TV has a lot going for it, but the cost is a big detractor as you can get much of the same with Hulu Live for $10 less per month.

Read our YouTube TV review to learn more about this streaming service.

Cost: $65 per month

Channels included: ESPN and Fox Sports family of networks and all local channels

Free trial: 7 days

7. Digital Antenna

 

If you want to know how to watch NFL games for free, an antenna is your only true choice after the one-time purchase. This lets you access all local networks so you can watch games on Sunday, as well as Thursday Night Football that’s simulcast on Fox.

An antenna is the cheapest way to get NFL games or any network show. After an affordable one-time cost, you get any local content, in HD, for free.

Here are some of the best digital antennas on Amazon to consider if you need to cut the cord, with 1byone, Wsky, and Antennas Direct being among the best. If you simply want access to games broadcast in your area an antenna is a perfect solution.

Cost: affordable one-time cost

Channels included: local networks

Free trial: N/A

8. NFL Game Pass

 

NFL Game Pass is one of the best ways to watch NFL games without cable, as long as you don’t mind waiting to watch games. The service provides full games that are on-demand. Live coverage is not offered during the regular season, though it is during the pre-season.

You get access to all 256 regular season games, without commercials.

The service costs $99 per year and also includes games dating back to 2009, DVR functionality, coaches’ film, and the entire NFL Films library.

Cost: $99 per year

Channels included: N/A

Free trial: 7 days

Try NFL Game Pass

 

9. Amazon Prime

 

The NFL airs many Thursday Night Football games on the NFL Network. Many streaming providers don’t carry that channel, but they simulcast most of the games on Amazon Prime.

If you already have Prime, this lets you watch NFL games without cable for free as you stream action directly through the Prime Video app. If you don’t have Prime, you can get it for $119 per year, which also gives you unlimited two-day shipping on orders.

Amazon does not currently air other games, so this only works for Thursday Night Football.

Cost: $119

Channels included: N/A

Free trial: 30 days

Try Prime

 

10. CBS All Access

 

CBS All Access is a standalone service for fans of the network. With the service you can watch content from CBS on-demand, and live stream shows – including NFL games airing on the network.

*Related: Love sports and want to cut the cord? Check out our guide on how to watch ESPN without cable and save $50+ per month!*

The service is good for people who may not want to deal with an antenna, or only want locally-aired games. The service is just $5.99 per month and gives access to other CBS-owned networks like Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, and the Smithsonian Channel.

Cost: $5.99 per month

Channels included: N/A

Free trial: 7 days

Try CBS All Access

 

11. NFL Sunday Ticket

 

It may seem odd to see NFL Sunday Ticket in a list of ways to stream NFL games without cable. However, it is a real option, for some people.

If you live in an area where DirecTV is not available AND you’re a student, you qualify to get the service NFL Sunday Ticket U. The service costs $73.49 a month and lets you watch every out-of-market Sunday game live.

The cost is a significant drawback, with it costing nearly $300 for the four months of the season. Unless you must watch all NFL games, there are much better options.

Cost: $73.96 per month

Channels included: N/A

Free trial: N/A

How to Watch Sunday Night Football Without Cable

 

All Sunday Night Football games air on NBC. You need either a digital antenna to get access to local channels or a streaming service that offers NBC.

A digital antenna is the most affordable option, but if you want to watch the NFL online, Hulu with Live TV or YouTube TV to guarantee the ability to watch. Sling TV may also be a choice, depending on where you live.

How to Watch Monday Night Football without Cable

 

Monday Night Football is a must for most football fans. The game airs on ESPN, so you will need a streaming service that carries the channel to stream games.

All of the streaming providers on this list, the first six, carry ESPN so it really comes down to the platform you prefer to watch Monday Night Football.

Here’s how to watch NFL games without cable and save big money. I share 10 ways to watch NFL games online and still see your favorite team each week.

How to Watch Thursday Night Football Without Cable

 

Thursday Night Football airs exclusively on the NFL Network, though they simulcast most of the games on NBC or Amazon Prime. If you don’t mind missing a couple of games, you will be fine with a digital antenna or Amazon.

However, if you don’t like to miss a Thursday night game, you will need a streaming service that offers the NFL Network. In that case, fuboTV and Vidgo are your only options.

Summary

 

It’s used to be the only way you could watch football was with a cable contract. That is no longer the case. Most streaming platforms carry ESPN and you can get local networks with a digital antenna, if they’re not offered by the streaming service.

The best part is no service requires a contract so you can cancel at any time. If you want to watch live NFL games without paying $200+ per month on cable, you can do it and pocket the savings for other needs.

 

 

How do you watch NFL games without cable? Has the thought of losing the ability to watch sports the way you like kept you from cutting the cord? What other channels do you feel like you can’t live without?

The following two tabs change content below.

John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.

Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.

Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.

40 Comments

  • Jerry Stumpf - The husbands romance coach says:

    Thank you for the informative post!

    I just got the Fire TV Stick with Alexa and last night watched the OU Indiana Football game.

    Trying to see how to get other college and NFL games so your post was well received.

    I have a second Fire TV Stick so can I use my existing account to access the same programming?
    Thanks —- in advance!

  • Rinda miller says:

    Can’t you use this with any tv or does it have to be a smart tv?

  • Angela says:

    Please help! I am trying to be smart and do some research before I cancel my cable but I feel like I’m going in circles. My husband wants Fox News, a way to watch NFL games and a way to watch local channels so he can watch SEC games. We already have Amazon Prime to watch movies/shows and Netflix for the kids. I know I have to have some sort of internet to stream these subscriptions, but I don’t know what speed I need to get to now have “buffering interruptions”. Also, Comcast is telling me that internet alone is $75/month WITHOUT taxes an fees!!! That’s outrageous. Are there other internet options that will work?

    • John Schmoll says:

      Unfortunately I’m not certain of what Internet options that are out there since it varies so much by where you live. I do know that most of the streaming options recommend in the 25 Mbps neighborhood if you’ll have multiple devices streaming at the same time.

      For what you’re looking for TV wise, I’d look at DirecTV Now or Sling TV as the best options.

  • Diane says:

    Should I buy an Amazon Fire Stick for each television?

    • John Schmoll says:

      It’s actually a portable device Diane, so you don’t *have* to. We have two as our two TVs are at opposite ends of the house and we like to take one with us when we travel. You can get by with one if that’s your preference.

  • Donna says:

    Can you get local channels using a regular big rooftop antenna. That is all I have right now for tV. I have been very frugal since digital tv came out. But very limited as to what I can watch. But I do get about 25 local channels.Thanks!
    Donna

  • Donna says:

    Im sorry, in the above post from “Donna” , I needed to know if I could get local channels using a firestick, if I have a regular old antenna on the rooftop. Just to make things clearer. Thanks again, Donna

    • John Schmoll says:

      Not a problem Donna. 🙂 No, the Amazon Fire Stick will not allow you to get local channels. The best way is to get an indoor, digital antenna. There are many good brands out there that cost no more than $50-60 as a one-time cost. If you’re looking for a way to get cable channels, without a contract, I’d recommend DirecTV Now as a good option.

  • Katie gordon says:

    Hello John, I am so confused on what to do. I am 81 years old and I am wanting to cut the cord to cable. I am currently paying $192 for the bundle. I Can you please advise me as what to do I do need Internet so I would probably keep that through Comcast. Can you please advise me as what to do I do need Internet so I would probably keep that through Comcast. I was thinking about getting the fire stick. I would like to get my local channels so wasn’t sure what to do about that. I hope you can help me. I thank you in advance. Katie

  • Kristen Atchison says:

    Antennas do not work at all where we live, tried two different brands, big no go. Any other was to get local TV?

    • John Schmoll says:

      It is possible to get locals with a few of the streaming providers. You might want to check out PS Vue, YouTube TV or DirecTV Now. This post should be helpful as well.

  • Cindy Lipkint says:

    Really great and thorough information! Much appreciated. Any chance you can provide me the same type of help with the NHL? My husband is a born & bred NY Rangers fan, but since we dropped DirectTV, we no longer get the MSG channel and some of the other East coast feeds. Any help is appreciated. Thank you!

    • John Schmoll says:

      Glad to be of help Cindy! FuboTV would be the best option to get the MSG Network. DirecTV Now also gets you the MSG Network, but it’s $55 per month vs. $45 for FuboTV. Another option could be Sling TV. Sling does not have MSG, but you can get the NHL Network as a part of their “Sports Extra” package that would run a total of $35 per month.

  • Jeff says:

    Some of your responces are simple but not realistic for some of us. I have an OTA antenna but only local channel we can pick up is ABC, which of course doesn’t offer NFL. We cannot get CBS, NBC, FOX or ESPN. I tried SlingTV but same thing, no CBS, FOX, NBC offered.

    • John Schmoll says:

      I understand your frustration Jeff, but it’s virtually impossible to give a solution for all situations as there are just so many different possibilities. Some can get all locals, some can only get 1-2, and some are too rural to get anything – those only scratch the surface and there are MANY other possibilities. That being said, that’s why we linked to all of our reviews within this article. Spend a few minutes and read them and it’s likely you’ll find something that works for you. For example, Hulu Live provides access to locals and offers much of what Sling does.

  • Barb says:

    We cannot get Fox, nbc or CBS sports on hulu. It tellsworth me successful activation but it never comes on. I ordered the antenna you recommended and disable cable shows all of the antennas are within 35 miles. Hoping it gets us the football games.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Sorry to hear that Barb, have you contacted Hulu for help yet? I’m assuming they should be able to help, especially with the CBS Sports since it’s an actual cable channel. The antenna should allow you to get both Fox and NBC at the very least.

  • Patricia Nice says:

    I cancelled my direct tv and got a Clearstream 4k hdtv antenna. Actually through Wal- Mart online. That way if had to return could go to local store.( check web sites for prices because they vary greatly. My cost for the antenna and you will need an amplifier (mine is a Channel Master Titan 2) total for the 2 around $150.00, Price to have installed $175 which was reasonable, (He actually was employed with a cable company so I had a lot of faith he knew what he was doing) others were charging 2x that amount. This will pay for itself in a very short time. The closes towers are about 60 miles away. I get about 68 plus channels. Which includes local channels, ABC,CBS,NBC, FOX.The colors are very vibrant and clear. I also have the fire stick with Alexa remote. So far all is running smoothly. Hope this helps someone. I did a lot of research before any purchase so far this is working for me.

  • Gail says:

    I have 4 TV’s. Do I need 4 separate fire sticks? TV’s are all watched at same time but different channels.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Good question Gail. You would only need 4 Fire Sticks if you plan on someone watching each TV at the same time. They’re plug and play and easy to move so if you’re not planning on that then you don’t necessarily need 4 sticks. Amazon does only allow you to stream on three devices at once though, so you will want to keep that in mind.

  • Beth Simpson says:

    Thanks for al this information, it is extremely helpful. Can you get turner classic station with a firestick? How about MSNBC

    • John Schmoll says:

      Glad to be of help Beth! You wouldn’t be able to get those through the Fire Stick, but a streaming platform like Hulu Live would be a great option for those channels.

  • Sasha says:

    Wonderful information here. I have a question. We purchased a Firestick and a Roku streaming device for use on separate TVs. Will I be able to use my Hulu + LiveTV account on both at the same time?

  • Andrea says:

    We have 3 hdtv’s and currently have Verizon tv/cable bundle and are paying tooo much $196. We do tape a lot of local shows daily, occasionally 5 at the same time. We cannot switch to companies like DISH since we have lots of trees that interfere with the satellite reception. We also enjoy our local sports channels and don’t want to give up our pro and college football games, hockey, basketball. We live in the Pittsburgh, PA area. Can you offer suggestions where we won’t have to give up multiple taping capabilities on local channels and sports games but not pay these exorbitantly high fees? Keeping my fingers crossed there’s a solution out there. Thanks in advance.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Ouch, sorry to hear that Andrea. Hulu Live is going to be your best bet. They offer locals in nearly every market, plus a good selection of sports channels. You may not be able to record 5 channels at once, but they carry a lot of network shows on a 24 delay through their legacy service so that could take care of much of what you want. Their DVR offers 50 hours of recording, but you can add an extra 150 hours for $14.99/month taking the total cost to $60/month.

  • Barbara says:

    Like everyone else, just trying to find options to cut the cord! Very helpful website!

  • Don Silversmith says:

    Thanks for this article. Any word yet if DirecTV Now will offer the NFL Sunday Ticket to all customers (I think last year it was selective markets).
    I cut the cord but have no problem getting DirecTV Now if they offer the NFL Sunday Ticket. Unfortunately I can’t get an answer from their service reps, online, over the phone or in person as they are confusing the NFL Network (just dropped by DTV Now) with the Sunday NFL Ticket. Thanks!

    • John Schmoll says:

      Of course, happy to help Don! I’m not certain on that unfortunately. If I were to guess, I’d guess they won’t be offering it to many markets unfortunately.

  • Eileen says:

    We recently moved to Tampa, FL. My husband absolutely must be able to watch the Bears games live. I’d rather not give DirecTV a fortune so he can watch 16 football games. Do you know of any other way to get the games, other than NFL Sunday Ticket?

    • John Schmoll says:

      There’s no way to guarantee to get all 16 games without Sunday Ticket. Your best bet would be the NFL Game Pass, but the games are tape delayed.

  • Paige Woodward says:

    This article doesn’t seem to specify this….but how can one get an out of market game on their smart tv WHILE it’s being played, or LIVE? We live in NC and want to be able to watch the Minnesota games online in an area where Directv is not offered, and we want to see them as they are being played and on Sundays. Is this possible? Thank you in advance! 😊

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