An easy guide to finding games online, with links to popular streaming apps
Watching NFL games online has become a common occurrence. Some ways require a subscription to stream, some are free with your service, some are (cough, cough) possibly illegal, but all options can help you with the cord cutting from cable TV or to simply enjoy the game on the go. So, how do you watch NFL games online, whether for free or paid?
Here are your best options as the NFL Playoffs are underway.
NFL Game Pass from the NFL started up in 2015. This is for the fan who wants to stream and catch up on it all after-the-fact in the regular season. It gives fans access to live out-of-market preseason games, replays of every game, the NFL Films Archive, and more. This service is great if you can't catch the game live, or just want to watch other games you missed while watching a different game. Obviously the biggest drawback is that it doesn't allow you to watch games (except for preseason) as they're happening live. Still, for those who want to consume massive amounts of football online (after the games air), it's a great option as you can view it on your TV, smart phone or tablet with the NFL app (see link at the bottom to download app). Prices run $100 for a full year, but a free trail is available.
Fox is airing a lot of games this year. If you want to watch the game airing in your market, visit Fox Sports Go and sign into your TV provider to watch the game on your digital devices. Another option is to download the Fox Sports Go app (see link at the bottom to download the app), which allows you to stream live sports on your phone. The app also allows you to watch top highlights and catch up on NFL game replays on demand.
This year, most NFL games are split between the Fox (see above) and CBS networks, with ESPN and NBC (see below) getting a few games here and there. For those on CBS (and there are many), check out CBS All Access. For $6 per month fans can stream the NFL on CBS and watch their live local games on desktop and streaming media players. Currently CBS is allowing you to try it out for one free week. Take note, however, that NFL games are not available on CBS All Access on mobile phones. So you'll need to break out a different device to watch them.
For Monday Night Football you have to turn to ESPN. But in order to watch it streaming live on your laptop, tablet or TV-connected device, you have to log into your TV provider. So, if you don't have cable/TV provider, it won't work. And more bad news: you can't access it using ESPN on your mobile device. Still, it's great option if you're on the road or away from your home TV.
The NFL Network provides several ways to watch games: via the NFL App on smartphones, tablets, PS4, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Android TV. On your PC or Mac desktop or laptop, visit NFL.com/Watch to watch the NFL Network and NFL RedZone. But like several options, to access their content you have to log into your TV provider or pay a subscription to see programs and games, if you don't have a TV provider. The biggest reason for die-hard football fans to get the NFL Network is that they'll be the main TV source for several Thursday Night Football games, starting in Week 2 (Sept. 13).
Amazon Prime Video will deliver a live stream of Thursday Night Football to a global audience across devices during the 2018 and 2019 NFL seasons. Amazon Prime will stream the 11 Thursday Night Football games broadcast by FOX, which will also be simulcast on NFL Network and distributed in Spanish on FOX Deportes, once again securing the league's "Tri-Cast" model of broadcast (FOX), cable (NFL Network, FOX Deportes), and digital (Amazon Prime Video) distribution. The Thursday Night Football games will be made available to the over 100 million Amazon Prime members worldwide in over 200 countries and territories, on the Prime Video app for TVs, game consoles, and connected devices, which includes Amazon Fire TV, mobile devices and online. Just one more reason we like Amazon Prime.
Beginning in Week 4, Thursday Night Football will debut for free on Amazon-owned livestreaming platform Twitch.
Yes, this is what they're talking about when they say cord cutting. This service, which starts at $40 per month, allows you to stream TV (and football games) on your smartphone, computer, or big screen with a compatible streaming device. Available channels include ESPN, Fox, Fox Sports 1, CBS, ABC, and NBCSN. That means you'll get Monday Night Football, some Thursday Night Football, and some regular season games, depending on which city you live in. Want more football? Check out the NFL Sunday Ticket. This package gives you access to games that you may not be able to watch on broadcast channels. Say your favorite NFL team is located in another city...or your hometown team sucks. With a subscription to NFL Sunday Ticket, you get access to out-of-market games unavailable through your local network affiliates. But it's not cheap. Packages start at nearly $74 per month. In short, it allows you to stream out-of-market games on your computer, smartphone, game console, or Smart TV.
Good news, Verizon customer, you can watch local football games for free as well as nationally televised matches, including Thursday, Sunday and Monday Night Football games, the playoffs and the Super Bowl. But, of course, you'll need an app to do so, and this is only available on your mobile device. Fans will be able to stream games on the NFL Mobile app.
Again, here's a real cable cord-cutter. This live streaming service has all the mainstream local channels available: NBC, ABC, CBS and FOX. That means every NFL game up to and including the Super Bowl, are yours to watch every Sunday, based on their local availability. Cost is $40 per month, so it's not free. But you can watch it on your mobile devices, computer and TV via streaming apps.
We'll keep this one simple: NBC Sports has the rights to air Sunday Night Football games during the 2018 season. Games will be available to stream live on their NBC Sports App.
There are a few places on Reddit that can help you find NFL streams to watch games. But the best central location on the site is probably r/nflstreams. The site offers free options, up-to-date links for all games, and the best ways to use paid services. In other words, if you can't find it here, you're not going to find it.
STREAMING APPS TO WATCH NFL GAMES
To make it easy for you, here's a rundown of links to online apps to help you watch and stream NFL games online, for both Apple and Android users.
NBC Sports App
Fox Sports Go App
Amazon Prime Video App
CBS All Access App