How to watch NFL without cable

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Concise guide on how to watch the NFL without cable

The channels that broadcast NFL games

  • Sunday Day games (FOX and CBS)
  • Sunday Night football (NBC)
  • Monday Night football (ESPN)
  • Thursday Night football  (FOX, NFL Network, Amazon Prime Video)
  • Superbowl (NBC)

The channels you will want to have to watch the NFL without cable are as follows:

  • CBS
  • NBC
  • FOX
  • ESPN
  • Amazon Prime video (optional: they will broadcast all the Thursday night games that are also broadcast on FOX)
  • NFL Network (there are 3 Thursday night games broadcast exclusively on NFL Network and the Sunday game in London and 4 Saturday games)
NFL without cable
Channels provided by streaming services that you’ll need to watch football without cable

Note: Philo and AT&T Watch TV aren’t included on this chart because they don’t have any of the channels listed.  They aren’t good options if you like to watch sports.


You have lots of options for streaming football.

If you want the NFL Network:

  • $40 – Sling TV (Orange and Blue packages) – you won’t get CBS with this option, but you can watch CBS on your antenna
  • $45 – Fubo TV – does not include ESPN
  • $50 package or higher – Playstation Vue
  • $55 package or higher – DIRECTV NOW

If you don’t need the NFL Network, these packages have all the other channels listed:

  • $35 – Skystream TV
  • $40 – YouTubeTV (this is our favorite streaming company for sports)
  • $40 – Hulu Live
  • $40 – DIRECTV Now
  • $45 – Playstation Vue

Watch Football on your antenna

If your favorite NFL team is from your local area, you willl be able to watch their games on OTA (over the air) channels, CBS, NBC and FOX.

Read all about antennas here.  If you are getting rid of cable and want to watch sports, you are going to want an antenna!

NFL Game Pass

Get 5% cash back from NFL Game Pass with Ebates.

Replay every game from the season with NFL Game Pass.  They have full broadcast replays, games condensed to 45 minutes and coaches film (shows all 22 players on the field).

Notice that it says replay.  This is not for live games.

7 day free trial

One payment of $99 OR

Four payments of $29.99

NFL Sunday Ticket

This is only available to DIRECTV Customers OR non-DIRECTV customers who live in select multi-dwelling buildings where DIRECTV is not available.

College students – check and see if you are eligible for NFLSundayTicketTV U

NFL Sunday Ticket is available for out of market games only.

Understanding Blackouts and Out of Market Games

Sports blackouts come into play when a game is broadcast on a regional sports network.

Out of Market Games

Out of market games are games in which neither team playing is from your local area.  For example, if you live in Chicago and are trying to watch a Miami Dolphins vs. San Francisco 49ers game.

Location Blackouts

This means that, if you live outside the area local to your favorite team, you may not be able to see the game.  If you live near Indianapolis but want to watch a Chicago Bears game, you might not be able to view the Bears game, as you are outside the regional network.

Sometimes a game may be blacked out on a regional channel if it is being broadcast on a national network. Channels like ESPN or TNT may have exclusive rights to a game, so the game will not be broadcast on other channels.

Also, some professional sports choose to blackout games if a certain percentage of tickets to the game hasn’t sold.  They want to “encourage” fans to attend the game instead of watching at home.  (I think this just pisses fans off instead of encouraging them to do anything).

College sports are going to be the biggest issue with location based blackouts.

Device Blackouts

Some channels or events can be blacked out on streaming devices or streaming through mobile devices.  Most streaming companies will reference this, but there are few concrete examples given on their websites.

We watch a lot of sports at my house and haven’t run into this problem.  However, we live in a local area to (most) of the teams we watch.  Also, we don’t watch Pay Per View events or (many) boxing events.

According to DIRECTV Now’s FAQs, NFL games cannnot be streamed on mobile devices.

Streaming Companies

Here are links for different streaming companies and how they address blackouts. It’s important to realize that streaming companies don’t have control over blackouts.  If it was up to them, they would give you all the content all the time.

SkyStream TV claims that it doesn’t have sports blackouts EVER.

Sling TV


Playstation Vue

Hulu Live


YouTube TV

Alright, that’s it!

If you want to learn about watching ALL THE SPORTS, I’ve got you covered.

Hopefully I’ve convinced you that watching football without cable is totally doable and you’re ready to cut the cord!  Head on over to Living the Stream for our step by step guide to getting rid of cable.

If you want more help, check out my Services page.  I can create a personalized streaming plan for you or we can have a one on one consultation to talk through all  your options.

Lastly, get answers from me and other people in our Facebook group, Living the Stream: Help Desk