SVG Icons

Best Ways to Watch NFL Games 2020: Stream the NFL Live with or without Cable TV

The 2020 NFL season will kick off on September 10—are you ready to catch every game from your couch?

Good for hardcore fans

NFL SUNDAY TICKET

  • Starts at $59.99/mo.
  • Every out-of-market game

Essential add-on

Amazon Prime Video | Cabletv | 2019’s Best Live TV Streaming Services

  • Starts at $8.99/mo.
  • Thursday Night Football
  • Prime Membership benefits included

Best for streaming

Sling TV Orange & Blue

  • $45/mo.
  • ESPN and NFL Network
  • Free HD antenna deal

Watch the 2020 NFL season starting September 10

Update 6/4/20: Even though coronavirus (COVID-19) has pushed back training camp, the NFL still plans to start the 2020 season on time.

We’re crossing our fingers that NFL football will stay on track all the way to the Super Bowl.

Bottom line

Sling TV paired with an HD antenna will get you most, if not all, your NFL games in 2019—and for cheap. That said, DIRECTV with NFL SUNDAY TICKET is a must-have for the fan who has to see every game this season. For more details, we break down the pros and cons of these two services, and more, below.

What channels are NFL games on?

Before we go any further, you’ll need to know that NFL games are on the following channels:

  • CBS (Super Bowl LV)
  • ESPN (Monday Night Football)
  • FOX
  • NBC (Sunday Night Football)
  • NFL Network (Thursday Night Football)

You’ll want a streaming or TV package that has all five channels to get every primetime and in-market game. If you’re okay missing some NFL football here and there, grab an HD antenna to get in-market and primetime games on your local CBS, FOX, and NBC affiliates.

NFL SUNDAY TICKET

Good for hardcore fans

Pros

  • Every. Single. Game.

Cons

  • High price
  • 2-year commitment

If it’s an all-access ticket to NFL games you’re looking for, then DIRECTV is your obvious pick. With ESPN, CBS, NBC, FOX, and exclusive access to NFL SUNDAY TICKET, DIRECTV has your NFL wants—and dare we say, needs—covered.

While you might be tempted to get DIRECTV’s SELECT package for it’s cheaper price, we want to direct your attention to the real DIRECTV game-changer: the CHOICE package.

Starting at $59.99 a month, the CHOICE package has the same ESPN, NFL Network, FOX, and CBS coverage that the lower-tier packages have with the added access to the NFL SUNDAY TICKET that they don’t.

While DIRECTV has better coverage than the Legion of Boom ever did, its dominance doesn’t stop there. You get access to almost 200 additional channels for any non-football viewing time (does that even exist?) and an amazing DVR.

If you’re wondering, “What’s the catch?,” we were too. Basically, it’s the cost and the commitment. DIRECTV, like traditional cable companies, requires long-term commitment. You’ll be signed up for 24 months of TV, and the $59 monthly price is guaranteed only for the first year.

In addition to the price hike, little fees like the $19.98 activation fee and the $9 a month Regional Sports Fee can start to add up. And don’t forget that NFL SUNDAY TICKET after the first year costs around $293.94 a season. Yikes.

So DIRECTV is expensive, but if football is your life, then we think it’s the best option.

Can I get NFL SUNDAY TICKET without DIRECTV?

The answer is yes, but probably not. The NFL offers NFL SUNDAY TICKET as a standalone service, but only for people that meet some very specific requirements. It’s available in only certain cities, areas without access to DIRECTV, and active college students.

If you’re not an active college student, make sure to check your address for your eligibility. Most of the addresses we tried returned with an unavailable sign, but if you’re one of the lucky few, you’ll get NFL SUNDAY TICKET for around $300 per season or just under $100 per season if you’re a college student.

Amazon Prime Video

Essential add-on

Pros

  • Cheap
  • 11 Thursday night games
  • Prime benefits like free shipping

Cons

  • No Monday night games
  • No Sunday games

Chances are you already have Amazon Prime. If you don’t and you want to watch Thursday Night Football games, you should seriously consider signing up. Thanks to an exclusive TV deal with NFL Network, Prime Video is streaming 11 games on Thursday during the 2020 NFL season—and for cheap.

Prime Video is the cheapest way to stream Thursday Night Football. Most folks will opt for full Prime Membership, which includes NFL Network games as well as Amazon Originals and free shipping for $12.99 per month.

That said, if you just have to watch every Thursday night game, go with a TV service that offers NFL Network like Sling TV. Or if you don’t want to pay for a monthly subscription, get an HD antenna so you can watch most Thursday night games for free on FOX and CBS.

Sling TV

Best for streaming

Pros

  • No commitment
  • Low price

Cons

  • Limited cloud DVR
  • Poor local coverage

Looking for a cheap streaming service? Sling TV is known for its affordable prices, with streaming packages starting at just $30 a month.

While cheap is great, knowing what you’re actually getting with each streaming package can be confusing. To make sure you’re getting the games you want, you’ll want to read each package’s exact channel lineup. For the record, Sling TV channel lineups are annoying.

For example, the Orange package gets you ESPN (Monday Night Football), while the Blue package has the coveted NFL Network (Thursday Night Football). We think it’s a travesty to ask any good NFL fan to choose between those, so may we suggest the Orange & Blue package? For $45 a month, you get access to NFL Network, ESPN, and local channels like NBC (Sunday Night Football) and FOX.

Pro tip: We think Sling Orange & Blue plus an HD antenna is the way to get the most bang for your buck because other streaming services like Hulu Live and YouTube TV have a lot of local channels but don’t carry NFL Network.

You might have noticed we didn’t mention CBS or ABC above. That’s because Sling TV drops the ball when it comes to streaming local channels. You’ll probably get FOX and NBC, but getting CBS or ABC is a long shot.

But Sling TV is winning over some fans by giving them a free antenna with their subscription. You’ll get the local, in-market games for free, plus Monday Night Football on ESPN and Thursday Night Football on NFL Network for cheap.

And we do love Sling TV’s Game Finder feature. It allows you to pick your favorite teams, and it will tell you when the games are airing. No more combing the TV guide, just all your favorite games at your fingertips in moments.

Sling TV has no annual or two-year commitment, so cancel anytime. You can also try it out with a free trial before signing up.

Stream NFL channels with Spectrum

Believe it or not, cable company Spectrum offers another affordable streaming option for NFL fans. Spectrum TV Choice allows you to choose 10 cable channels (including ESPN and NFL Network) and gives you local channels for $24.99 per month.

Two catches: you have to live in a Spectrum service area and sign up for Spectrum internet. All said, you’ll get more than 40 channels and be able to stream every in-market and primetime NFL game.

Read our in-depth review to see if Spectrum TV Choice is right for you.

HD Antennas

Free NFL games

Pros

  • Low, one-time price
  • Local coverage

Cons

  • No out-of-market coverage

If you’re a die-hard, paint-your-face-every-Sunday home team fan looking for a good deal, then the classic antenna might be the perfect solution for you.

But hold up. Did hearing the word “antenna” throw you into nightmares of foil-covered bunny ears? Fear no more. The antenna has changed a lot since you were adjusting them in your parents’ basement.

They’re smaller, lighter, and actually fit behind your TV—no more eye sore. They’re also surprisingly affordable. We recommend the Mohu Leaf 50. It’s easy to install and has great picture quality. Most importantly, as a one-time purchase of about $50, it sure beats out streaming, cable, and satellite TV subscription prices.

What does an HD Antenna actually get you?

An HD Antenna picks up locally broadcasted channels in your area. This means you’ll get channels like CBS, FOX, ABC, and NBC for free once you buy and install the antenna.

With this coverage, you’ll get every in-market NFL game for free. Coverage may include your local home games or nationally broadcast games, like America’s Game of the Week on Fox. Sounds like a pretty good deal to us.

NFL Game Pass

Good for game recaps

If you have the patience of Le’Veon Bell, you should consider trying out NFL Game Pass. For $99.99 a season, you can stream all out-of-market games once they’ve aired and preseason games live. There’s even a spoiler-free feature to help keep final scores a secret.

You can stream NFL Game Pass for free until July 31, 2020. Unfortunately, that’s right before the preseason kicks off, but at least you can scout out NFL Game Pass to see if you wanna draft it to your streaming TV lineup.

Final take

If you’re a hardcore fan, get the DIRECTV CHOICE package with free NFL SUNDAY TICKET for a year.

If you’re okay missing some out-of-market games, we recommend pairing Sling TV Orange & Blue with an HD antenna. You’ll save some serious cash and get local channels to boot.

How to watch NFL games FAQ

What is NFL SUNDAY TICKET?

NFL SUNDAY TICKET is a service offered through DIRECTV that gets you access to all out-of-market NFL games. Yeah, you heard us right. All. The. Games.

If you’re thinking, “But isn’t there more?,” DIRECTV created NFL SUNDAY TICKET MAX just for you. NFL SUNDAY TICKET MAX adds NFL RedZone and DIRECTV FANTASY ZONE to all your out-of-market games.

What is NFL RedZone?

NFL RedZone is your guaranteed one-stop shop for all NFL touchdowns. It broadcasts every team inside the red zone every Sunday afternoon, so you catch all the biggest moments.

Can I watch the NFL on Amazon Prime?

During the 2020 season, Amazon Prime will stream 11 of the Thursday Night Football games for $8.99 to $11.99 per month.

Can I watch the NFL on Hulu?

Yes, you can stream NFL games if you’re signed up for Hulu + Live TV. With Hulu Live, you can stream channels like CBS, FOX, and ESPN, but it’s missing the NFL Network, so you won’t get everything.

How can I watch NFL games without cable?

You can get your local team’s in-market coverage with an HD antenna, or you can snag Monday and Thursday night games with streaming services like Sling TV or Amazon Prime Video.

Is there a way to watch all NFL SUNDAY TICKET without DIRECTV?

For most of us, the answer is no. For a lucky few, the answer is yes.

DIRECTV just started offering NFL SUNDAY TICKET as a standalone service, but you have to fit some very specific criteria. You must live in certain cities, have an apartment that cannot access DIRECTV, or be a student at specific universities.

So we think you should test if your location checks out before you get too excited.

How much does NFL Game Pass cost?

NFL Game Pass costs $99.99 a year, or four installments of $29.99. While that is a high one-time fee, it does get you all live preseason games and full-game replays for out-of-market regular season games.

Can I watch NFL Network online?

Yes. If you have a TV subscription you can log on to the NFL app or head to NFL.com/watch with your streaming service or TV provider login and stream right away. If you’ve already cut the cord, then you can watch NFL Network through a live TV streaming service like Sling TV.

What streaming services offer NFL coverage?

With NFL games on ESPN, FOX, CBS, NBC, and the NFL Network, chances are most streaming services will get you some NFL coverage.

If you’re looking specifically for NFL Network, stick to fuboTV or Sling TV. If ESPN covers your needs, then Hulu Live, YouTube TV, or Sling TV would all be good picks. If you want our opinion, Sling TV is the best pick since it gets you both.

Can I watch NFL online for free?

No, you can’t watch NFL games free online. While the NFL mobile app is free to download, you have to log in with your streaming service or TV provider info to get your live in-market and primetime games.

The only way to get truly free games online is to get a free trial from a streaming service. (You could try to pirate NFL game, but we would never recommend that, now would we?)

Can I stream the NFL playoffs?

Yes, the NFL mobile app allows you to stream all 11 playoff games, but, again, you have to have a TV provider login.

Is there a way to watch all NFL games with DIRECTV?

DIRECTV offers NFL SUNDAY TICKET, which will get you every out-of-market NFL game. Combining the DIRECTV CHOICE package—which comes with free NFL SUNDAY TICKET for a year—with a basic HD Antenna for local network coverage should get you access to every NFL game.

How can I watch the NFL Playoffs?

The best way to watch the playoffs is with an HD antenna (like this one), which should get you CBS, FOX, NBC, and ABC (and all the playoff games) for a one-time payment of $20 to $50. Fair-weather fans need not spend a grip of cash to watch the playoffs (we kid, we kid).

Don't miss an update

Stay updated on the latest products and services anytime anywhere.

This site is a U.S. Consumer site. You can learn more about our site and privacy policy here.