Watching the 2019 NFL season without cable is easy. This guide will cover how to legally stream every NFL game online this season without needing cable TV.
NFL games will air on the following channels:
- Sunday local market day games will air on Fox and CBS.
- Sunday Night Football will air on NBC.
- Monday Night Football will be on ESPN. ABC will typically carry a simulcast of the game in the local market of each team.
- Thursday Night games will air games on NFL Network. However, those games will be simulcast on Fox and Amazon Prime in weeks 4 through 15 (There are no Thursday games in weeks 16 and 17.)
This article covers watching these games and even how to watch NFL games outside of your TV market. Read on for all ways to watch the NFL online this season.
Best Options to Watch NFL Live Online (For Most)
Stream the NFL Live on Hulu
The best way for most people without cable to watch the NFL this year is by getting a subscription to Hulu Live TV. They provide ESPN and local Fox, NBC, and CBS networks live in most areas of the country. To make sure Hulu offers the live broadcast channels in your area, you can use this tool: Hulu Live TV Channels by Zipcode.
They also have ESPN which will provide access to Monday Night Football. NBC will air Sunday Night Football. Fox will air every Thursday Night Game except for week 2 and week 3.
To summarize, here are the NFL games you can watch with Hulu Live TV:
- Your local teams Sunday day games on Fox and CBS
- Sunday Night Football on NBC
- Monday Night Football on ESPN
- Thursday Night Games on Fox
The only channel missing is NFL Network. The nationally televised games exclusively on NFL Network are as follows:
- Thursday Night Football on weeks 2 and 3
- The Week 6 London game between the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, Oct. 13
- The Week 9 London game between the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, Nov. 3
With Hulu, you’ll be able to watch the team in your television market on Fox, NBC, or CBS in most areas of the country, Sunday and Monday Night Football, and Most Thursday Games. You will only miss out on 4 Nationally televised games all season.
Watch NFL Games on YouTube TV
YouTube TV is also a way to get ESPN, and local CBS, NBC, Fox in some markets. Like Hulu, it’s missing NFL Network. However, the local channel is market dependent. I recommend checking out our review of YouTube TV and trying their free trial to see if it will meet your NFL needs this season.
Similar to Hulu, YouTube TV provides access to:
- Your local teams Sunday day games on Fox and CBS (If local channels are available in your area)
- Sunday Night Football on NBC
- Monday Night Football on ESPN
- Thursday Night Games on Fox
YouTube TV also lacks NFL Network so you would miss the 4 games that exclusively air on that network.
Watch each NFL Team without Cable
Up until now we’ve explained how the an NFL fan can watch football each week. The table below links a guide for watching each team without cable whether you live in that teams market or not.
Watch NFL Games for Free
Your local NFL team’s games will be available to watch for free, over the air. That means you need a TV antenna. Furthermore, Sunday Night Football is on NBC and Fox will air all the Thursday Night Football with the exceptions of Week 2 and Week 3. You will need NFL Network for Thursday Night Games on those 2 weeks.
That means the only games you will are Monday Night Football, which air on ESPN. Of course, if your local Market team is playing on Monday night Football, the game is typically syndicated on your local broadcast affiliate.
Ultimately, you can watch quite a bit of football for free with an antenna.Living in Baltimore, I can watch all 16 regular season Ravens games, and their postseason games as well with my Mohu Sky 60 antenna. Whether your local NFL team is playing home or away, on Monday Night Football, Thursday Night Football, or Sunday Night Football, your local affiliate should be broadcasting the game over the air (OTA). I’ve written a guide so you can choose the best TV antenna for your needs.
Additionally, since broadcast TV is less compressed, the picture will be of much higher quality than what you are used to with cable and satellite TV. I’d much rather watch football OTA. Watching on cable or satellite feels grainy by comparison.
You can read our HD antenna guide for more information on choosing an antenna. Also, If you are having trouble getting CBS, CBS All Access will be streaming NFL games airing on CBS in over 150 local markets.
Other Ways to Watch NFL Games Online
If the NFL Network is a must then you may want to try Sling TV. However, they do not carry Fox and NBC in nearly as many markets as Hulu does. ESPN is available through Sling TV’s Orange Package, while NFL Network is available on their Blue Package. Both packages cost $45 per month and will give you Monday and Thursday Night football via ESPN and NFL Network without requiring a cable TV or satellite subscription. You can sign up here and get a free Roku, or you can try their 7-day free-trial.
The Blue Package also offers live FOX and NBC in select markets. Be sure to check out my review of Sling TV for more information.
Sling TV offers the following for football fans :
- Monday Night Football through ESPN on their Orange Package
- NFL Network on the Blue Package to catch the Thursday Night Games
- Sunday Night Football on NBC through the Blue Package in Chicago (WMAQ), New York (WNBC), San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose (KNTV), Los Angeles (KNBC), Philadelphia (WCAU), Dallas/Fort Worth (KXAS), Washington DC (WRC), Miami/Fort Lauderdale (WTVJ), San Diego (KNSD), Boston (WBTS) and Hartford/New Haven (WVIT)
- Sunday Day Games on FOX through the Blue Package in Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte N.C., Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Gainesville, Fla., Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Pa., Phoenix, San Francisco, Tampa, Fla. and Washington D.C.
NFL Game Pass
While the options I’ve given thus far covers nationally televised games and your local market team’s games, for out of market games, there is NFL Game Pass. NFL Game Pass costs $99 for the season for U.S. customers. This provides all games, all season, but there is a catch. You can’t watch live on devices in the United States. However, you can watch every NFL Game live on Game Pass using this method.
Here are the delay rules for NFL Game Pass for those living in the United States:
Sunday morning and afternoon games (9:30am ET, 1pm ET & 4pm ET) are available at the conclusion of all Sunday 4pm ET games, and Sunday night, Monday night, Thursday and Saturday NFL games are available following the conclusion of the applicable game telecast. However, if you are accessing NFL Game Pass through a free trial, Thursday night games will not be available until 3 days after the telecast.
Those are the major details, but there are some other possible options for mobile devices and some select online streaming of NFL games. There is also an online option for NFL Sunday Ticket for folks in certain living situations. I cover all of this in the rest of the article.
Watch Out of Market NFL Games
The NFL announced that is will stream all 256 NFL regular season games, all preseason games, playoffs and Super Bowl for the 2019-2020 season with NFL Game Pass.
Currently, NFL Game Pass will be available on iPad, iPhone, Android Tablets and Phones, Xbox One, Roku, and Apple TV to a few.
In the past NFL Game Pass was only open to people living outside the US. Now it appears people living within the U.S. will be able to enjoy NFL streaming as well. Unfortunately, there is a slight blackout delay. If you read the fine print on the NFL Game Pass Website . . .
*NFL Game Pass includes live access to most preseason games. Such live preseason games do not include all nationally-broadcast preseason games and any preseason games televised in a user’s local market. Preseason games that are not available live in NFL Game Pass will be made available on-demand in the NFL Game Pass archives shortly after the conclusion of the original telecast. NFL Game Pass does not include live regular season, playoff, and Super Bowl game broadcasts. Access to these games is available within NFL Game Pass on an on-demand basis in the NFL Game Pass archives after such games have aired on broadcast television. Sunday morning and afternoon games (9:30am ET, 1pm ET & 4pm ET) are available at the conclusion of all Sunday 4pm ET games, and Sunday night, Monday night, Thursday and Saturday NFL games are available following the conclusion of the applicable game telecast. NFL Game Pass is unavailable during the telecast of the Super Bowl. Some 2009 regular season games are not available. NFL Game Pass is only available to users within the United States, Bermuda, Antigua, the Bahamas, any U.S. territories, possessions and commonwealths (including American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands), and Mexico.**Some live Preseason games may not be available live on phones, but will always be available in the archives.
Now that we’ve all gone cross-eyed, I’ll sum up what that means in English. Essentially, for the regular season, you have to wait until the 4 pm EST Sunday games are completed before you can watch the 1 pm and 4 pm Sunday games.
Any Night games (whether Sunday, Monday, Thursday or Saturday) will be available at the conclusion of the game. Preseason games will be live, except if they are televised in your local market. Then they will be available once the telecast has concluded.
NFL Game Pass will provide the following functionality and more . . .
- The ability to connect to multiple devices
- Turn scores on and off to avoid spoilers
- Condensed game versions that are about 30 minutes long
- Full replay of every game from 2009 until present day
- Coaches Film
- DVR Controls
Watch Monday Night Football Online
Monday Night Football airs on ESPN. If you are solely interested in watching Monday Night Football, the services below offer ESPN.
From our article on How To Watch ESPN without cable:
- Sling TV Orange
- AT&T TV Now (Formerly DirecTV Now)
- Hulu with Live TV
- YouTube TV
- Yahoo Sports App (Mobile Only explained below)
Watch Thursday Night Football Online
If you are just interested in catching Thursday Night Football, then the NFL Network is what you need. While other networks air certain Thursday games, NFL Network will air all of them. Below are the services where you can find the NFL Network.
Thursday Night Football on Amazon
Amazon Prime will be showing all the Thursday Night games simulcast on Fox this season through their Prime Video App. They will also be streaming these games live on Amazon-owned Twitch, which means you don’t need to buy an Amazon Prime membership to watch these games. So, if you are like me and Amazon Prime, you get to watch most Thursday Night games for free.
NFL On Mobile Devices
The Yahoo! Sports app will let you watch local and prime time Games through the Yahoo Sports App, but only on mobile devices.
The Yahoo! Sports app provides access to all of the below NFL material:
- In-game highlights
- Game Previews
- Pre-season live videos
- Regular season live videos, including Sunday afternoon in-market local games (there’s no access to out-of-market games) and Thursday, Sunday and Monday night games.
- All 11 playoff games
- Super Bowl 54
- The Pro Bowl
The app is available on iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. Unfortunately this app currently only works on mobile devices. The app shuts down when attempting to mirror your phone to Apple TV or Roku.
Typically, NFL Sunday Ticket is only available to Direct TV subscribers. However, there are situations where NFL Sunday Ticket is available to you online without subscribing to Direct TV.
During last years NFL Season, NFL Sunday Ticket Online was available to people living in select apartment buildings, attending one of the 10 select universities, or living in select areas within the metro areas of New York City, Philadelphia, or San Francisco.
This year they are expanding that offering to “select multi-dwelling unit buildings nationwide.” They have also expanded the offering to more Colleges and Universities. You can verify eligibility on their website.
Blackout rules still apply, so you will still need an antenna to catch games within your local market.
You Don’t Need Cable to Watch the NFL
That’s the takeaway here. There are plenty of ways to watch NFL football without paying an arm and a leg for cable or satellite TV. Your local NFL team’s games can be seen on an OTA antenna along with Sunday and most Thursday Night Football. If that isn’t an option, then Hulu Live TV is a great option to watch all your local and prime time games.
Verizon Wireless customers can watch Thursday Night Football online for free along with the Sunday and Monday Night Game as well. If you have Sling TV, you have access to Monday Night Football live on ESPN. The options are plentiful.
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