How to live stream NFL Preseason 2018 without cable

nfl-preseason

Live Stream NFL Preseason Games Online (2018 Guide)

The 2018 NFL preseason is now underway, and you might need a way to watch your favorite team without cable.

No problem.

This comprehensive guide lays out all your options.

I’ll show you how to watch a number of games for free, and detail which live TV streaming services you’ll want to consider. None of these services have contracts or sneaky hidden fees.

Sling TV is probably your best bet for watching all NFL preseason games.

That’s because NFL Network will be airing 15 preseason games this year, including debuts of the top three picks of the 2018 NFL Draft.

In fact, 10 of the first 12 preseason games will air live exclusively on NFL Network. They’ll also rebroadcast the remaining preseason games. So it’s a channel you won’t want to be without.

To get NFL Network, and ESPN, you’ll have to subscribe to the Sling Orange and Sling Blue channel bundles. That costs $40 per month. It’s currently your cheapest option for all of those channels together in one bundle.

Sling TV offers a free 7-day trial. 

Runner-up picks to Live Stream NFL Preseason Games

Here’s the other thing to consider: ESPN is currently scheduled for only two preseason games that are happening during Week 2. The first game is the N.Y. Jets vs Washington on Aug. 16. The second is Baltimore vs. Indianapolis on Aug. 20.

At the moment, ESPN is not that crucial if you don’t care about those two games. That makes fuboTV worth considering as a solid runner-up if you want to live stream NFL preseason.

NFL Network is part of fuboTV’s channel lineup. It also runs a close second behind Hulu with Live TV in having the most NBC, FOX and CBS stations. fuboTV has a free 7-day trial, and you can look over its 80+ local and national channel lineup.

For regular season games, I recommended Hulu with Live TV as my top pick for live streaming because it has more local CBS, FOX and NBC stations than any other live TV service along with ESPN.

That pick still applies because NFL Network (in my opinion) becomes less important during the regular season for most people.

So Hulu with Live TV may make the most sense for you in the preseason if the games on NFL Network aren’t important to you.

Hulu with Live TV has ESPN, and 50+ other sports and entertainment channels for $40 per month. A&E, Big Ten Network, FS1 and CNN are among the most popular networks in the lineup.

You can look over Hulu’s Live TV channel lineup, or check out a free 7-day trial.

NFL Game Pass is a reliable option to live stream NFL preseason games if your favorite team is an out-of-market one.

So, if you’re a New England Patriots fan living in Los Angeles (like my brother), NFL Game Pass is a decent way to watch preseason games live. Be aware that 12 games will be blacked out during NFL preseason. You can check out a free 7-day trial or scroll down and click on the Game Pass blackout list.

Let’s dive into the NFL preseason schedule because not everyone will care about the games airing on NFL Network. Then, I’ll break down each streaming service, its channel lineup and features like Cloud DVR.

That should help you decide what streaming service to go with – if any.

NFL Preseason Schedule for 2018: Necessary Channels

Since having the NFL Network will be a bigger factor than usual in 2018, it’s useful to get a look at the most updated NFL schedule for games.

Cord cutting is often an ad-hoc solution for many. So you may want to pull together some kind of two-pronged approach (e.g. Sling Blue for NFL Network, and a TV antenna for local NBC, CBS and FOX coverage.) That would run you about $25 per month for Sling Blue and the cost of your TV antenna.

NFL Preseason officially starts on Thursday, Aug. 2. Preseason kicks off with the Chicago Bears taking on the Baltimore Ravens in the annual Hall of Fame Game.

That matchup airs on NBC, 8 p.m. ET.

The 65-game schedule has 8 nationally televised games. Most games will be broadcast on local NBC, CBS and FOX stations. Here’s a collapsible list of games. Just click on the “NFL PRESEASON 2018 TV SCHEDULE: By The Channels” bar below so you can look over upcoming games and decide what channels you’ll really need for NFL preseason.

NFL PRESEASON 2018 TV SCHEDULE: BY THE CHANNELS

All Times Eastern

Thursday, Aug. 2
Hall of Fame Game: Chicago Bears vs. Baltimore Ravens (Canton, Ohio), 8pm, NBC
WEEK 1
Thursday, Aug. 9
Cleveland Browns at New York Giants, 7pm, NFL Network
Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers, 10pm, NFL Network
Friday, Aug. 10
Atlanta Falcons at New York Jets, 7:30pm, NFL Network
Detroit Lions at Oakland Raiders, 10:30pm, NFL Network
Saturday, Aug. 11
Minnesota Vikings at Denver Broncos, 9pm, NFL Network
WEEK 2
Thursday, Aug. 16
New York Jets at Washington Redskins, 8pm, ESPN
Friday, Aug. 17
Buffalo Bills at Cleveland Browns, 7:30pm, NFL Network
Saturday, Aug. 18
Jacksonville Jaguars at Minnesota Vikings, 1pm, NFL Network
Oakland Raiders at Los Angeles Rams, 4pm, NFL Network
Cincinnati Bengals at Dallas Cowboys, 7pm, NFL Network
Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Chargers, 10pm, NFL Network
Baltimore Ravens at Indianapolis, 8pm, ESPN
WEEK 3
Thursday, Aug. 23
Philadelphia Eagles at Cleveland Browns, 8pm, FOX
Friday, Aug. 24
Detroit Lions at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 8pm, CBS
Green Bay Packers at Oakland Raiders, 10:30pm, NFL Network (Joined Live in Progress)
Saturday, Aug. 25
Kansas City Chiefs at Chicago Bears, 1pm, NFL Network
Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers, 4pm, NFL Network
New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Chargers, 8pm, CBS
Sunday, Aug. 26
Cincinnati Bengals at Buffalo Bills, 4pm, FOX
Arizona Cardinals at Dallas Cowboys, 8pm, NBC
WEEK 4
Thursday, Aug. 30
Cleveland Browns at Detroit Lions, 7pm, NFL Network
Denver Broncos at Arizona Cardinals, 10pm, NFL Network
NFL PRESEASON 2018 SCHEDULE
All Times Eastern.
Thursday, Aug. 2
Hall of Fame Game: Chicago Bears vs. Baltimore Ravens (Canton, Ohio), 8pm, NBC
WEEK 1
Thursday, Aug. 9
Carolina Panthers at Buffalo Bills, 7pm
Chicago Bears at Cincinnati Bengals, 7pm
New Orleans Saints at Jacksonville Jaguars, 7pm
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Miami Dolphins, 7pm
Cleveland Browns at New York Giants, 7pm, NFL Network
Pittsburgh Steelers at Philadelphia Eagles, 7pm
Los Angeles Rams at Baltimore Ravens, 7:30pm
Washington Redskins at New England Patriots, 7:30pm
Tennessee Titans at Green Bay Packers, 8pm
Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs, 8:30pm
Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers, 10pm, NFL Network
Indianapolis Colts at Seattle Seahawks, 10pm
Friday, Aug. 10
Atlanta Falcons at New York Jets, 7:30pm, NFL Network
Detroit Lions at Oakland Raiders, 10:30pm, NFL Network
Saturday, Aug. 11
Los Angeles Chargers at Arizona Cardinals, 10pm
Minnesota Vikings at Denver Broncos, 9pm, NFL Network
WEEK 2
Thursday, Aug. 16
Philadelphia Eagles at New England Patriots, 7:30pm
Pittsburgh Steelers at Green Bay Packers, 8pm
New York Jets at Washington Redskins, 8pm, ESPN
Friday, Aug. 17
Kansas City Chiefs at Atlanta Falcons, 7pm
New York Giants at Detroit Lions, 7pm
Miami Dolphins at Carolina Panthers, 7:30pm
Buffalo Bills at Cleveland Browns, 7:30pm, NFL Network
Arizona Cardinals at New Orleans Saints, 8pm
Saturday, Aug. 18
Jacksonville Jaguars at Minnesota Vikings, 1pm, NFL Network
Oakland Raiders at Los Angeles Rams, 4pm, NFL Network
Cincinnati Bengals at Dallas Cowboys, 7pm, NFL Network
San Francisco 49ers at Houston Texans, 8pm
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Tennessee Titans, 8pm
Chicago Bears at Denver Broncos, 9:05pm
Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Chargers, 10pm, NFL Network
Baltimore Ravens at Indianapolis, 8pm, ESPN
WEEK 3
Thursday, Aug. 23
Philadelphia Eagles at Cleveland Browns, 8pm, FOX
Friday, Aug. 24
New England Patriots at Carolina Panthers, 7:30pm
New York Giants at New York Jets, 7:30pm
Denver Broncos at Washington Redskins, 7:30pm
Seattle Seahawks at Minnesota Vikings, 8pm
Detroit Lions at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 8pm, CBS
Green Bay Packers at Oakland Raiders, 10:30pm, NFL Network (Joined Live in Progress)
Saturday, Aug. 25
Kansas City Chiefs at Chicago Bears, 1pm, NFL Network
Houston Texans at Los Angeles Rams, 4pm
Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers, 4pm, NFL Network
San Francisco 49ers at Indianapolis Colts, 4:30pm
Atlanta Falcons at Jacksonville Jaguars, 7pm
Baltimore Ravens at Miami Dolphins, 7pm
New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Chargers, 8pm, CBS
Sunday, Aug. 26
Cincinnati Bengals at Buffalo Bills, 4pm, FOX
Arizona Cardinals at Dallas Cowboys, 8pm, NBC
WEEK 4
Thursday, Aug. 30
Miami Dolphins at Atlanta Falcons, 7pm
Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals, 7pm
Cleveland Browns at Detroit Lions, 7pm, NFL Network
New England Patriots at New York Giants, 7pm
New York Jets at Philadelphia Eagles, 7pm
Washington Redskins at Baltimore Ravens, 7:30pm
Carolina Panthers at Pittsburgh Steelers, 7:30pm
Jacksonville Jaguars at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 7:30pm
Buffalo Bills at Chicago Bears, 8pm
Dallas Cowboys at Houston Texans, 8pm
Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints, 8pm
Minnesota Vikings at Tennessee Titans, 8pm
Green Bay Packers at Kansas City Chiefs, 8:30pm
Denver Broncos at Arizona Cardinals, 10pm, NFL Network
Los Angeles Chargers at San Francisco 49ers, 10pm
Oakland Raiders at Seattle Seahawks, 10pm
* credit: tvinsider.com

How to Watch NFL Preseason Games with an Antenna

The best way to watch NFL preseason games for free is by using a TV antenna.

This year, live games on NFL Network will be blacked out in the participating teams’ over-the-air station markets. Having an antenna won’t help you if your local team has a game that’s being broadcasted on NFL Network during preseason games.

That said, a TV antenna will still be super useful for most of the NFL preseason and regular season. Here’s what you need to do to start using a TV antenna to watch football.

Just check a site like AntennaWeb.org to see if you can get your local FOX or NBC affiliate stations. All you have to do is plug in your zip code or address to see what broadcast towers are in your area.

If you can get FOX, CBS and NBC with an antenna, you could wind up getting many of the preseason and regular season games for free in uncompressed HD quality. Plug in your antenna, scan for channels and you’re ready for some football!

Interested in learning more about TV antennas? Read my months-long study that led to my review of The Best Indoor TV antennas of 2018, and How to Choose the Best TV Antenna & DVR. This video also shows you how you can set up your own DVR using a software hub that I really like called Plex.

fuboTV: How to watch NFL preseason with NFL Network

If ESPN isn’t as important to you – or, if you have another way to access the WatchESPN app – then you should consider fuboTV because it has NFL Network in its channel lineup.

fuboTV ranks pretty close to Hulu with Live TV in terms of having the most local NBC, CBS and FOX stations.

Subcribers to fubo get 80+ channels and 30 hours of Cloud DVR. There’s an add-on Sports package that has NFL Red Zone. If you can’t watch a game live, fubo also has a “lookback” feature, which serves as an on-demand option for sports that aired in the last 72 hours.

Fubo subscribers can sign in to roughly 30 apps, including FOX Sports Go and NBC Sports. You can look over its channel lineup to see what local NBC, FOX and CBS stations are offered in your area.

Read my review of fuboTV for more details about its service. Fubo has apps for Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV devices, Apple TV, Chromecast, iPhone and Android.

fuboTV has a free 7-day trial, and your first month is $10 off the regular monthly price of $44.99.

Sling TV: Budget Option to Live Stream NFL Preseason Online

If you only want ESPN or NFL Network – not both – then Sling TV can be an inexpensive option.

Sling Orange has ESPN as part of a 30 channel bundle for $25 per month. The Orange plan has AMC, CNN, History, A&E and a couple of movie channels like EPIX Drive-IN and IFC.

Sling Blue has local FOX and NBC stations in a number of places across the U.S. The Blue plan has NFL Network, FS1, FS2 and regional sports networks from FOX and NBC. It also costs $25 per month on its own.

Like I said earlier, if you want both ESPN and NFL Network, you’ll need both Sling Orange and Sling Blue, which costs $40 per month. For 50 hours of Cloud DVR, you’ll have to pay another $5 per month.

If you are considering trying out Sling TV for a little longer, the company has a number of promotions worth a look. You can get a free Roku Express or a discount on a Roku Premiere+ or AirPlay TV + Adapter Bundle when you prepay for a brief subscription. You can cancel online whenever you want to end service.

Sling TV has a free 7-day trial, and works on Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and most other major streaming devices.

CBS All Access: Live Stream NFL Preseason games on CBS

You may depend on more than one streaming solution to watch NFL preseason games without cable. CBS All Access offers a couple different options to live stream NFL preseason games airing on CBS. The streaming service costs $5.99 per month, and offers a live TV feed for local CBS stations.

The Verge reported back in June that CBS struck a deal with the NFL to live stream games until 2022. Users can also use the CBS app on their TV or their smartphone to watch live NFL games that are broadcasted on the network.

CBS All Access has a free 7-day trial and thousands of TV shows on-demand including originals like “Star Trek: Discovery” and “The Good Fight” along with some cool reboots like “Magnum P.I.”

Stream the NFL preseason on PlayStation Vue

PlayStation Vue is still a favorite for NFL fans looking for another alternative to cable.

The entry-level channel bundle for PlayStation Vue is now $45 for about 48+ channels. The Access bundle has local NBC, FOX and CBS stations in many parts of the U.S. ESPN is included.

To get NFL Network, you’ll have to subscribe to the slightly large Core channel bundle for $50 per month. There’s unlimited Cloud DVR.

Sony offers a 5-day free trial and Vue works on nearly every streaming device.

DirecTV Now: Watch NFL Preseason Online without Cable

DirecTV Now offers roughly 60+ channels, including ESPN and many locals like NBC, FOX and CBS for $40 per month.

There’s no NFL Network, but there’s Cloud DVR in case you want to record games that can’t watch live.

DirecTV Now is a decent option for streaming on a smartphone. The service works on Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and you can live stream NFL preseason games on the web as well. DirecTV Now offers a free 7-day trial.

YouTube TV: Local Channels for Streaming NFL Preseason Online

When YouTube TV launched, the company emphasized a local-first approach. So you should have an excellent shot at getting local NBC, CBS and FOX stations in your neck of the woods. ESPN is part of YouTube TV’s 50+ channel lineup, and you’ll get unlimited Cloud DVR. There’s no NFL Network.

YouTube TV offers a free 7-day trial, and works on Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast and Android TV devices like NVIDIA Shield.

NFL Game Pass: Live Stream NFL Preseason Out of Market

NFL Game Pass is ideal for people who have a favorite team that’s located out of their local market. For regular and post-season games, you can watch them as soon as they’re over.

You can also listen to regular season games as they happen, but you’ll have no video.

Game Pass costs $99 per year, and you can make quarterly payments. There’s apps for Roku, Apple TV, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. On mobile, you’ll have NFL Game Pass apps for iPhone, iPad and Android smartphones and tablets.

NFL Game Pass has a free 7-day trial, and you can review the list of preseason games that they won’t air live due to blackout restrictions. Some people also use NFL Game Pass to watch live regular season games using a VPN. You should read my guide: How to Watch NFL Online Without Cable in 2018 for the details on that.

What’s the Best Way to get an NFL Preseason Live Stream?

I’ve just thrown a lot of information at you, but there’s no need to be overwhelmed.

Let’s do a quick recap of what we’ve covered, and cull the list of choices a little bit. Now that you’ve taken a look at the NFL preseason schedule, you should have a better idea of what you’ll need.

  • Sling TV can get you NFL Network, ESPN and some locals including NBC, CBS and FOX (depending on where you live). That would run you $40 per month because you’ll need the Sling Orange and Sling Blue plans. Cloud DVR is an extra $5 per month. You could opt to get just one of the plans – either Sling Orange or Blue – for $25 per month. Remember, Sling Orange has ESPN; Sling Blue has NFL Network and local NBC, CBS and FOX stations. Sling TV offers a free trial for a week.

 

  • fuboTV has NFL Network and is about tied for second-place in terms of having the most local NBC, CBS and FOX stations. There’s no ESPN, but so far the network only has two NFL preseason games scheduled so far. Subscribers can log into key sports apps like FOX Sports GO and NBC Sports, too. fuboTV has a free 7-day trial, and new customers get the first month for $10 off after the trial ends. The regular rate is $44.99 per month.

 

  • Hulu with Live TV is my pick for the NFL regular season, but lacks NFL Network for preseason. It has ESPN and the most local NBC, CBS and FOX stations among all the live TV streaming services. You can log into a few dozen apps including FOX Sports Go, and WatchESPN. Cloud DVR is included (50 hours), and you also get Hulu’s vast on-demand library that people normally pay $7.99 per month for. So, if you don’t need NFL Network, Hulu is the best pick for preseason and regular season games. Hulu with Live TV has a free 7-day trial.

Don’t forget the value of an antenna for getting locals, especially if a streaming service that you like doesn’t offer the local channels you need. For more tips on cord cutting, head over to the main page of The Cord Cutting Report. So now that I’ve explained all your choices, I want to hear from you. How are you going to live stream NFL preseason? Tell fellow readers in the comments below.



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