9 Game-Changing Ways to Watch NFL Without Cable

Updated: January 11, 2024

Published on: December 30, 2023

You can watch any NFL game without cable on a Smart TV or streaming device.

Eight streaming services offer cable channels like ESPN, NFL Network, and NFL RedZone. To save money, you don’t necessarily need a streaming service subscription. Most of the NFL season is free to watch with a TV antenna.

NFL games air on ESPN and local broadcast channels, except for Thursdays, which require an Amazon Prime Video subscription. But even Thursday Night Football games are available on a TV antenna if your local team is playing.

DIRECTV STREAM, Fubo, Hulu Live TV, Sling TV, and YouTube TV carry the channels you need for live football. Paramount Plus has NFL on CBS, and Peacock streams Sunday Night Football. NFL Plus Premium offers a TV game-watching plan.

Drawing on my years of experience as a cord-cutter and my year-round testing of streaming services, here is the breakdown I typically offer to friends and family who are eager to get rid of cable but want to keep the NFL in their lives.

Quick take: Sling TV stands out as the most budget-friendly option with its Sling Orange package at $40 per month, offering ESPN and a range of entertainment networks. 

Sling TV, combined with a TV antenna, is the most cost-effective and efficient choice for NFL fans. This combination caters to the majority of NFL games. The Sling Orange package provides ESPN, covering Monday Night Football. Using a TV antenna for local broadcast channels gets you the remaining games throughout the week at no additional monthly cost. 

This synergy not only offers comprehensive NFL coverage but also ensures a significant reduction in monthly expenses compared to full-service streaming options. For a streaming-only option. Hulu Live TV, at $76.99 per month, offers a more comprehensive package with over 90 channels, including key sports channels, and local networks.  

Only DIRECTV STREAM, Fubo, and YouTube TV offer free trials. You can get a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime ($14.99 per month) or Prime Video ($8.99 per month) for Thursday Night Football.

How to Watch NFL Games Live Without Cable

Most fans need ESPN and local broadcast networks like ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX for live games.

ESPN airs 25 Monday Night Football games this season, including 23 regular season games and two playoff games. Some MNF games simulcast on ABC this season.

Smart TVs from Samsung, Sony Bravia, Vizio, and LG support most live TV streaming services. You can also use Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast, or Apple TV. Game consoles like Xbox and PlayStation support TV watching.

These live TV streaming services carry various other sports networks. ESPN, ESPNU, ESPN3, ACC Network (ACCN), Big Ten Network, CBS Sports Network, SEC Network, FS1, Longhorn Network, and PAC-12 Network cover pro and college sports.

Some of these services offer a one-week free trial with no obligation. Remember to cancel before the trial ends if you decide the service isn’t for you.

Hulu + Live TV

  • Sign up & get Disney+ and ESPN+ included
  • Unlimited Cloud DVR (9 mos.)
  • Two simultaneous streams
Hulu + Live TV$76.99/month90+
Device support: Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Chromecast with Google TV along with Smart TVs by Samsung, VIZIO SmartCast, Sony Bravia, PlayStation, XBox, Xfinity Flex and Xumo TV.

Hulu Live TV offers over 90 TV channels, including ESPN, local channels, and various entertainment and sports networks.

You can watch on up to two screens simultaneously, and Hulu provides unlimited DVR storage for recording sports, news, movies, or anything else you want. 

Local ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC are available across the U.S. Subscribers enjoy a lineup featuring CNN, ESPN, FX, HGTV, MSNBC, NFL Network, SYFY, TBS, TLC, TNT, and USA Network. 

The subscription costs $76.99 per month and includes unlimited access to ESPN+, Disney+, and Hulu’s on-demand library of movies and TV shows. There’s no more free trial, but you can review the channel lineup before deciding.


Device support: Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Chromecast with Google TV along with Smart TVs by Samsung, Sony Bravia.

DIRECTV STREAM (formerly AT&T TV) includes ESPN Networks and local channels in four packages. 

The Entertainment package, at $79.99/month, offers a mix of channels like AMC, ESPN, CNN, FOX Sports 1, Comedy Central, HGTV, Food Network, History, National Geographic Channel, and FOX News. 

While DIRECTV STREAM presents a comprehensive package for sports, including NFL Network and NBA TV, its higher cost compared to the Sling TV and TV antenna combo may not appeal to budget-conscious NFL viewers.

All subscribers receive unlimited Cloud DVR storage and 40,000 on-demand movies and shows, with the ability to watch live TV on unlimited screens at home. 

The Choice plan, at $108.99 per month, is ideal for basketball and hockey fans, featuring channels like ESPN, ESPN2, CBS Sports Network, FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports 2, NBA TV, NFL Network, ACC Network, Big Ten Network, ESPNews, and ESPNU. 

It also includes entertainment channels like AMC and HGTV. 

The Ultimate package, at $119.99 per month, has over 140 channels, including NHL Network. The Premier Package, at $164.99 per month, includes premium channels such as HBO, Cinemax, and Showtime.


  • Free trial
  • 1,000 hours Cloud DVR
  • 10 simultaneous streams
Elite $89.99/month255
Premier$104.99/month264 & Showtime
Device support: Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast with Google TV, Xbox One, along with Smart TVs by Hisense, Samsung, LG, Sony Bravia and VIZIO SmartCast TV. Android, iPhones and iPads with current iOS.

fubo (formerly fuboTV) offers three plans: Pro, Elite, and Premium. The Pro package costs $79.99 per month and includes over 189 TV channels, with a free trial available for any plan. 

It offers local ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX in most U.S. areas, along with ESPN, Food Network, Fox News, HGTV, Big Ten Network, and Disney Junior. 

For an additional $7.99 per month, the fubo Extra bundle adds 59 more channels, including NBA TV, INSP, Tennis Channel, MTV Live, MTV Classic, FXM, and Pac-12 Network. 

The Sports Plus bundle, priced at $10.99 per month, adds 32 more channels, featuring NFL RedZone and others. All subscribers get 1,000 hours of Cloud DVR storage and can watch on 10 screens simultaneously. fubo offers a “look back” feature to watch sporting events that aired in the last 72 hours. 

The Elite plan, at $89.99 per month, adds 65 more sports, news, and entertainment channels, while the Premier plan, at $99.99 per month, includes 231 channels, including Showtime.

With its extensive sports-centric package, Fubo can be an alternative to the Sling TV and antenna combo, especially for viewers seeking additional sports content beyond NFL.

fubo also has a library of on-demand content, including movies and TV shows, and the fubo app is available on Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, and Smart TVs. The fuboTV Elite package adds 60 more channels.

Sling TV

Blue$40/month41 (Locals included)
Orange + Blue$55/month88
Device support: AirTV Mini, Amazon Echo Show, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast along with Smart TVs from LG, Samsung, Sony Bravia and VIZIO SmartCast.

Sling TV is the most budget-friendly option for streaming NFL games on ESPN. The Sling Orange package offers 32 channels, including ESPN and ESPN2, along with entertainment networks like AMC, A&E, Bravo, and History. The subscription for Sling Orange is $40 per month.

Sling Blue, priced at $40 per month, provides 40 channels, including Discovery, NFL Network, FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports 2, MSNBC, and Stadium. However, it doesn’t include ESPN.

Sling Blue offers local FOX, NBC, and ABC stations in select U.S. markets.

For an additional $11 per month, the Sports Extra package adds 15 channels, including ACC Network, ACCNX, NFL RedZone, SEC Network, SEC Network+, MLB Network, NBA TV, and ESPNU. Subscribers can enjoy a 50% discount for the first month by signing up for a plan.

You can combine Sling Orange and Sling Blue for a total of $55 per month and further enhance your channel lineup.

All subscribers receive 50 hours of Cloud DVR storage.

Sling TV is compatible with various streaming devices, including Roku, Firestick, Apple TV, and Xbox. It also supports Samsung Smart TVs, Smart TVs running on Android TV or Google TV, and mobile apps for iOS and Android.

Sling TV offers an economical solution for NFL fans, with its Sling Orange package including ESPN at a lower cost than competitors. While Sling TV focuses on affordability, it may require an additional streaming service or add-on YouTube TV’s extensive channel offering. 

There are no hidden fees or contracts, and you can explore the latest offers for new and returning Sling TV customers.

YouTube TV

  • Free trial
  • Unlimited Cloud DVR
  • Three simultaneous streams
YouTube TV$72.99/month128
Device support: Android TV, Google TV, Smart TVs by Samsung, LG, VIZIO, Hisense, Sharp and Sony; Chromecast, Google TV, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Xbox, PlayStation and Google Nest Hub; Android and iOS devices.

YouTube TV offers 128 channels, including ESPN and local channels, for $72.99 per month. While it has only one live TV plan, it offers add-ons for sports enthusiasts.

The YouTube TV base plan includes key sports channels such as TNT, TBS, SEC Network, ACC Network, ESPNews, FS1, FS2, NFL Network, and MLB Network. You can also watch CNN, Golf Channel, and FX. Subscribers receive unlimited Cloud DVR storage and can create up to 6 profiles per account for household members.

YouTube TV offers a 4K Plus add-on for $10 per month, with the first year at $5 per month. This add-on provides 4K resolution for select channels like Discovery, ESPN, FOX Sports, FX, Nat Geo, NBC Sports, Tastemade, and MLB Network. It also allows unlimited screen streaming and content downloads.

YouTube TV’s broad channel offering, including NFL Network and local channels, provides a more all-encompassing solution than Sling TV alone, though at a higher monthly cost, making it a secondary choice for those prioritizing affordability.

The service is compatible with Chromecast, Roku, Fire TV, NVIDIA Shield TV, Apple TV, and Chromecast. You can get a free 7-day trial or review the channel lineup for your area.

NFL fans have the option to bundle NFL Sunday Ticket with YouTube TV or purchase it as a standalone Primetime Channel on YouTube. The YouTube TV NFL Sunday Ticket Add-On is $299, while the standalone Primetime Channel NFL Sunday Ticket is $399. More details and pricing for NFL Sunday Ticket from YouTube TV are available.

Paramount Plus

  • Popular new movies and TV shows
  • CBS live stream & Live Sports
  • Sign up
With Showtime$11.99/moCBS Live & Showtime
Device support: Apple TV, iPhone, iPad, Android TV, Android phone, Android tablet, Chromecast, Fire TV, Portal TV, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, PCs, Samsung TV, Vizio TV, LG TV, Roku, Xbox, Xfinity, Xumo, Cox Contour box, VIDAA TV, Google TV.

Paramount Plus offers an affordable way to stream NFL games on CBS every week. The Essential plan is priced at $5.99 per month and provides access to an on-demand library with movies, live news, and full seasons of TV shows from CBS, BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, and Smithsonian Channel.

Paramount Plus also features a variety of Paramount+ Originals, including Special Ops: Lioness, Tulsa King, and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.

Subscribers to the Paramount Plus with Showtime plan can enjoy additional live sports content, such as the PGA Tour and college football on CBS, for $11.99 per month.


  • Popular new movies and TV shows
  • NBC live stream & Live Sports
  • Sign up
Premium Plus$11.99/mo.NBC live & on-demand
Device support: Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, LG Smart TV, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Samsung TV, Hisense VIDA, VIZIO Smart TV, Xfinity Flex.

Peacock offers a range of live sports, including NFL’s Sunday Night Football, Premier League, NASCAR, INDYCAR, and WWE events. 

College football fans can access Big Ten Football games by subscribing to the Peacock Premium plan for $5.99 per month, allowing them to watch SNF, movies, and TV shows. 

Peacock, owned by NBCUniversal, boasts a vast library of TV shows and programs from NBC, MSNBC, NBC Sports, and Telemundo. 

You can also stream Hallmark Channel and its sibling networks, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, and Hallmark Drama, live without a cable subscription. 

The Peacock Premium Plus plan costs $11.99 per month, offering 24/7 access to your local NBC station with local news and favorite NBC shows and sports. For more sports coverage on Peacock, refer to my review.


  • Live local & primetime games on mobile
  • Regular season and postseason games
  • Includes NFL Network
NFL+$6.99/mo.Live games & NFL Network
NFL+ Premium$14.99/mo.Adds NFL RedZone & Game Replays
Device support: iOS 13+ iPhone, iOS 13+ iPad, tvOS 13+Android 7+ Phone, Android 7+ Tablet, Android 7+; Preseason games supported on: Android TV, Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV and XBox Series S.

NFL Plus enables you to watch live, local in-market games. The entry-level plan allows you to watch local and primetime games on mobile devices, not on TV, for a subscription fee of $6.99 per month. 

It includes access to NFL Network. The Premium Plan, priced at $14.99 per month, allows you to watch games on TV and provides full access to game replays, NFL Network, and NFL RedZone. The service offers a free 7-day trial.

How Can I Watch Live NFL Games for Free?

Watching NFL games for free is a significant benefit for cord-cutters or those using a TV antenna for local channels. You don’t need a streaming service to watch in-market football games on ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC. With the right TV antenna, you can enjoy these over-the-air TV channels for free. Finding the best TV antenna for your home may require some research, but the payoff is substantial, considering the numerous free NFL games you can watch during the regular season. You don’t even need internet service to enjoy these free over-the-air channels.  

How to Watch NFL Games Without Cable FAQs:

Here are some common questions NFL fans have about watching live football games without cable TV or satellite:

Can I Watch NFL Games on Roku?

Yes, you can watch NFL games on Roku by subscribing to a TV streaming service. DIRECTV STREAM, Fubo, Hulu Live TV, Sling TV, and YouTube TV all offer cable networks and various local channels in your area.

Can you watch out-of-market games on NFL Plus?

NFL+ allows you to watch local, in-market games during the 2023 regular season. A basic subscription costs $6.99 per month, offering live streaming of NFL Network and live audio of games outside your home. It also provides on-demand football programs.

Does Yahoo Sports stream NFL games?

No, Yahoo Sports no longer streams NFL games for free as of the 2021 NFL season. The introduction of NFL+ marked the end of free streaming options previously available on Yahoo Sports and the NFL app, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Are local games blacked out on NFL Sunday Ticket?

Yes, the NFL Sunday Ticket package exclusively broadcasts out-of-market Sunday NFL games. For example, a New England Patriots fan residing in Florida can watch all regional Sunday afternoon games on FOX and CBS, while a Dallas Cowboys fan who has moved to Idaho can continue to watch games as if they were in their original location. NFL Sunday Ticket is available throughout the U.S. via YouTube or YouTube TV.

Can I pay to watch individual NFL games?

Currently, there is no streaming service that offers the option to purchase single NFL games. However, you can consider utilizing a free trial of a TV streaming service. For instance, if you wish to watch a game airing on ESPN, you can sign up for a free 5-day trial of DIRECTV STREAM. If you decide not to continue the service, you can cancel online before the end of the free trial to avoid being billed.

Can Amazon Prime members stream NFL games?

Yes, Amazon Prime members have the ability to stream Thursday Night Football games through the Amazon Prime app. Amazon has also introduced a DVR function for all live NFL games it broadcasts. Additionally, Amazon Prime will feature exclusive games during the season, starting on September 15. If one of the teams playing is in your local market, you can also watch the Thursday game over-the-air using a TV antenna.

Does the FOX Sports app stream NFL games?

Live NFL games on the FOX Sports app are accessible only to subscribers of cable, satellite, or a TV streaming service. The FOX Sports app, which replaced FOX Sports Go, provides live streams of local FOX stations, Big Ten Network, FS1, and FS2. If you prefer to watch games for free, you can use a TV antenna to tune into your local FOX station or opt for a free trial of a TV streaming service.

Watching NFL Without Cable: Recap

DIRECTV STREAMExtensive channel lineup, unlimited screens, unlimited DVRMost expensive, complex package options
FuboWide range of sports and entertainment channels, “look back” featureAdd-ons necessary for full sports coverage
Hulu Live TVOver 90 channels, unlimited DVR, includes ESPN+ and Disney+No free trial, limited to two screens simultaneously
Sling TVAffordable, customizable packages, 50% discount for first monthRequires add-ons for complete sports coverage, limited local channels
YouTube TVComprehensive channel lineup, unlimited DVR, 4K Plus add-onSecond highest cost, limited package customization
Paramount PlusAffordable, access to CBS contentLimited sports coverage, primarily CBS broadcasts
PeacockAffordable, access to NBC broadcasts, range of contentLimited to NBC broadcasts, additional cost for ad-free viewing
NFL PlusSpecialized for NFL content, mobile streaming optionLimited to mobile viewing for base plan, limited content selection
TV AntennaFree access to local broadcast channels, no monthly costReception varies by location, initial setup required


I spend hundreds of hours throughout the year conducting hands-on testing of streaming services, including Peacock, DIRECTV STREAM, Fubo, Sling TV, YouTube TV, Hulu Live TV. I do the same rigorous testing for TV antennas and TV-related hardware. Check out the review policy to see how I compare products and services.The Cord Cutting Report is a reader-supported publication, and may earn affiliate commissions when you pick a streaming service through a recommendation. Read our affiliate policy for more information.

Jim Kimble is a seasoned industry expert with over two decades of journalism experience. He has been at the forefront of the cord-cutting movement since 2016, testing and writing about TV-related products and services. He founded The Cord Cutting Report in 2016, and serves as the editor.

Major publications, including MarketWatch, Forbes, and South Florida Sun Sentinel, have interviewed Kimble for his years of expertise. He gives advice on the complexities consumers are navigating with streaming options, and over-the-air TV. Kimble has been a staff writer or correspondent for several award-winning, daily newspapers, including The Boston Globe.