Update: For information on watching this year’s Super Bowl check out this article: How to Watch The Super Bowl Without Cable
The NFL is one of the most cord cutter friendly sports in the U.S. during the regular seasons. In fact, it is easy to watch the NFL without cable. So, it comes as no surprise that it’s just as easy to watch the NFL Playoffs without a cable TV subscription.
In fact, every game of the 2019 NFL playoffs (2018 Season) is available on ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox using an over the air antenna. So, there is no need to have a cable subscription or a to enjoy NFL football this postseason. All of those channels are available using a TV antenna. If you want to set one up, just check out my guide on choosing a TV antenna. However, there are now several ways to stream local TV channels.
Streaming the NFL Playoffs
Several streaming services stream local ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS. The services that stream these services in the most area as follow.
Hulu Live TV This service streams live local channels in most markets in the country. Hulu has the most local TV network availability across the U.S. and provides this handy tool to see which channels are available in your area: Hulu Live TV Channels by Zipcode. I also break down which local networks are available in a given market in my Hulu Live TV review. They also offer a free trial for you to see which local channels are available.
I put the NFL Playoff schedule later in the article so you can make sure you’ll be able to watch the game using this service. Hulu also provides ESPN. This is handy for the AFC Wildcard game that airs on both ABC and ESPN. It’s basically a way to watch the game if you can’t get ABC.
DIRECTV NOW – This is another service that offers a way to stream live TV. You can check my review of DirecTV Now to see which channels are available in your area. You can also check out this 1-week free trial to ensure you have access to the channels you need.
You can also check out this post on streaming local channels for other viewing options. If none of these work you can still catch the game by using the international version of NFL Game Pass. Game Pass offers a live NFL streaming service available to people outside the U.S. All one needs to do is make your computer seem like it’s not based in the U.S. which is actually pretty easy to accomplish.
To do this you can use a SmartDNS service or VPN to simulate a French-based IP address. The details of doing this are described in my article on using a SmartDNS. I personally use StrongVPN SmartDNS to do this. The basic steps to do this are below. Make sure you set up your DNS before purchasing Game Pass. You will need to purchase it while using the foreign DNS. Bear in mind, this is the last resort. While you are paying to watch, using a Smart DNS likely violates the NFL Game Pass end user agreement. In other words, they have the right to cancel your subscription without a refund.
Setting up Smart DNS for NFL Game Pass
You get the Strong Smart DNS for free when you sign up for StrongVPN. So just doing the following should get you around the blackout.
Once the Smart DNS is set up, you can sign up for NFL Game Pass. You can use your current billing address. The SmartDNS will still open up all games since you are based abroad from the perspective of Game Pass.
NFL Playoff TV Schedule
Wild Card Weekend
Saturday, January 5
No. 6 Indianapolis at No. 3 Houston, 4:35 p.m. ET (ESPN/ABC)
No. 5 Seattle at No. 4 Dallas, 8:15 p.m. ET (Fox)
Sunday, January 6
No. 5 Los Angeles Chargers at No. 4 Baltimore, 1:05 p.m. ET (CBS, stream the game here)
No. 6 Philadelphia at No. 3 Chicago, 4:40 p.m. ET (NBC)
Saturday, January 12
Indianapolis/L.A. Chargers/Baltimore at No. 1 Kansas City, 4:35 p.m. ET (NBC)
Seattle/Dallas/Chicago at No. 2 Los Angeles Rams, 8:15 p.m. ET (Fox)
Sunday, January 13
L.A. Chargers/Baltimore/Houston at No. 2 New England, 1:05 p.m. ET (CBS)
Philadelphia/Seattle/Dallas at No. 1 New Orleans, 4:40 p.m. ET (Fox)
Sunday, January 20
NFC Championship, 3:05 p.m. ET (Fox)
AFC Championship, 6:40 p.m. ET (CBS)
Super Bowl LIII
Sunday, February 3
AFC vs. NFC in Atlanta, 6:30 p.m. ET (CBS)
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