The Best Ways to Watch NFL Games
It’s time, folks—football season is here. Whether you live and die with your favorite team or just like watching the Super Bowl each year, you need a reliable way to watch NFL games.
There are hundreds of cable packages and streaming options out there, but we’ve done the research for you. We’ll tell you which packages and providers are worth your time and money when you’ve got NFL on the mind.
The Best Cable and Streaming Options to Watch NFL Games
|Provider||Best For||Recommended Package||Type of Service||Price|
|1. DIRECTV||Best of the Best||CHOICE||Satellite||$45.00 per month*|
|2. AT&T U-verse||Best Fiber Option||U300||Fiber||$60.00 per month†|
|3. PlayStation Vue||Best Streaming Option||Core||Streaming||$49.99 per month|
|4. AmazonBasics Ultra-Thin HD Antenna||Best Budget Option||N/A||Broadcast||$27.99|
|Best For||Best of the Best|
|Type of Service||Satellite|
|Price||$45.00 per month*|
|Provider||2. AT&T U-verse|
|Best For||Best Fiber Option|
|Type of Service||Fiber|
|Price||$60.00 per month†|
|Provider||3. PlayStation Vue|
|Best For||Best Streaming Option|
|Type of Service||Streaming|
|Price||$49.99 per month|
|Provider||4. AmazonBasics Ultra-Thin HD Antenna|
|Best For||Best Budget Option|
|Type of Service||Broadcast|
Date effective 9/18/2018. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*For 12 months with a 2-yr contract, paperless bill, & autopay. Price increases for months 13–24.
† For 12 months with a 1-yr agreement & Autopay.
Are you ready to start watching some football? We know we are. Here are the best cable and streaming options for watching the NFL this season (and beyond). Let’s go!
- NFL SUNDAY TICKET for the most comprehensive coverage
- Availability almost anywhere in the US
- One of the best DVRs in the business
- Requires a 2-year contract
- Provides satellite dish hardware that’s not to everyone’s taste
When it comes to NFL content, DIRECTV is our first-round draft pick. The satellite provider offers all the standard NFL channels you could ask for, plus add-on packages like the NFL Network and local sports channels.
If that’s still not enough for you, you can opt for NFL SUNDAY TICKET and get access to every out-of-market game, every Sunday—yes, every single one. The best part? You get a year included with any CHOICE package or above. There’s also RED ZONE CHANNEL® that lets you watch every touchdown play from every game across the league.
DIRECTV has other perks, too: the channel selection is quite good, the prices are competitive, and the Genie DVR is powerful and packed with cool features. Since it’s a satellite provider, you can get DIRECTV basically anywhere and keep it anywhere. That means no more worrying about switching providers when you move.
The only major downsides are the required contract and the clunky satellite dish—apart from that, you can’t go wrong with DIRECTV.
- One of the highest channel counts of any provider
- Affordable pricing
- NFL Network, NFL RedZone, and more
- Availability is more limited than other options
- DVR is fair at best
If satellite TV is not your thing, that’s ok. Maybe you’re worried about interference (don’t be). Or maybe you don’t want to mount anything to your roof (that’s fair). The good news is NFL games come on fiber networks too.
Enter AT&T’s other TV service: U-verse. U-verse is a fiber service that offers enormous channel counts at affordable prices—as long as it’s available in your area.
It has all the standard NFL channels, including ESPN, NFL Network, NFL RedZone, and local broadcasts. You also get access to as many as 550 additional channels to fill your time during the off-season.
Our recommended package, U300, offers 470+ channels and comes at a price you’ll be happy with. It’s definitely worth checking out if U-verse is in your area.
- The best deal for streaming live sports
- Available on most major platforms
- Free of DVR storage limits
- Higher cost per channel in some packages than cable or satellite TV
- Less variety than traditional TV plans
PlayStation Vue is a streaming service from Sony that’s designed for cord-cutters that still want the live TV experience. And what’s more important to watch live than your team?
Now, if you don’t own a PlayStation, you might be wary of subscribing to a service with PlayStation in the name. Fear not—PlayStation Vue is available on all the expected platforms, including iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku, and more. You can also stream through a web browser to watch NFL online.
Pricing is anywhere from $44.99 to $79.99 per month. NFL fans will want to grab at least the $49.99 Core package, which offers NFL Network and other sports channels in addition to the standard ESPN and basic channels.
Why choose PlayStation Vue over other streaming options? Other options either fail to offer the channels you need to catch NFL games or they cost more for the same level of content. If you’re looking to stream NFL games live, PS Vue is the way to go.
- Offers free local NFL games (once you pay for the antenna)
- Works nearly anywhere
- Fits neatly behind TV with its thin shape
- Channel selection limited to the basics
- Reception can be finicky
- Games generally limited to local NFL teams
Another great option for cord-cutting NFL fans is to buy an HD antenna. HD antennas grab local broadcast channels—like ABC and FOX in HD—free of charge.
Antenna prices vary, but the well-reviewed and very affordable AmazonBasics Ultra-Thin Antenna should be within anyone’s budget. It beats paying for cable, that’s for sure.
Broadcast TV offers a surprisingly good NFL experience, especially if you mostly root for the local team anyway. You’ll get access to the Sunday games on CBS and FOX, as well as all the Thursday Night Football games on CBS and NBC—all for free. In many cases, local games on ESPN and NFL Network are simulcast to local stations, so you can probably catch those too.
What to Look for in an NFL TV Plan
1. Dedicated NFL Channels
While many games air on ESPN, FOX, and other basic channels, you’ll find the best coverage on NFL-specific channels like NFL RedZone (touchdown highlights) and NFL Network. These channels also have commentary and highlights that you won’t find elsewhere. Any package you’re looking at should have these channels included if you want to make sure you don’t miss anything.
2. Reliable DVR System
It might be hard to accept, but odds are you won’t catch every game when it airs. You’ll probably need to record some games to watch later. That’s where a good DVR like the DIRECTV Genie comes in.
You want a reasonable amount of storage and, maybe more importantly, a high number of simultaneous recordings. This will let you record games and your regular shows at the same time—this is especially important if your spouse or roommate is a fan of a different team!
FAQs about NFL Plans
Is NFL SUNDAY TICKET available on DIRECTV NOW or AT&T U-verse?
NFL SUNDAY TICKET is available with DIRECTV NOW, but there are some heavy location restrictions. Right now, it’s limited to areas where regular DIRECTV service is unavailable. There’s also a student package available if you can prove you’re a college student. Otherwise, you’re stuck with satellite DIRECTV if you want NFL SUNDAY TICKET.
Get your game on.
Whether you’re a die-hard NFL fanatic or just a casual Bills fan (you have our sympathies), having a reliable way to catch all your games is crucial. These four options should give you plenty to work with to get your game day in order—you’ll have to plan the game-day party yourself though.
Dave is a freelance writer with a passion for tech and how it improves our lives. His work has been published on a variety of sites around the web.