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The 2020-21 football season is winding down, and while the best way to catch all the games is still on conventional cable, cord cutters can still get in on the action with a few smart hacks.
The 32 teams took to the field this year in a modified season due to Covid-19. All pre-season games were cancelled, and many teams have chosen to play their home games without any fans in the stands (other teams have limited the number of fans that can be packed into the stadium for each game). The NFL has also expanded the 2020-21 playoff field from 12 teams to 14 teams, effectively allowing one more wild-card team from each conference.
The Kansas City Chiefs are the defending Super Bowl Champions, and they’ll be looking to repeat as NFL champs this year, led by star quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The latest Super Bowl LV odds have the Chiefs on top, with oddsmakers also listing the Ravens, 49ers and Saints as favorites to contend for the Super Bowl trophy.
How to Watch NFL Games Without Cable
The 2020/2021 NFL season will be broadcast across a number of networks, including CBS, NBC and FOX. CBS and FOX will air Sunday afternoon games, while you can watch Sunday Night Football on NBC. FOX will also show a select number of Thursday Night Football games.
A simple TV antenna (like this one from Amazon) will get you access to all three channels in HD quality, along with stations like PBS and The CW. Pay for the antenna once and enjoy “free cable” for as long as you have it installed. Our pick below can be mounted indoors or outdoors and delivers a range of up to 120 miles, to pick up more stations than most basic antennas.
(Note: Monday Night Football will air on ESPN, which you won’t be able to pick up through the antenna. To watch football on ESPN you’ll want to consider one of our live sports streaming options below).
How to Stream NFL Games Online
For full NFL coverage, including CBS, NBC and FOX, as well as the NFL Network and ESPN, you’ll want to try out a live TV streaming service. That’ll get you access to the three major networks, along with access to Monday Night Football on ESPN. And while FOX has most Thursday Night Football games, some are streaming exclusively on the NFL Network, which you can’t get with conventional cable or an antenna.
Many other live TV streaming services carry those local channels and ESPN, but most lack NFL Network and RedZone. Hulu with Live TV and AT&T TV Now (formerly DirecTV Now) lack both. Sling TV’s Orange and Blue plan for $45 a month gets you ESPN and, in select major markets, Fox and/or NBC, but you’ll still lack CBS, NFL Network and RedZone (the latter two were on Sling last year but have since been removed in a carriage dispute).
MOST CHANNELS: fuboTV
Your best bet to watch the NFL online is fuboTV. A monthly subscription starts at just $64.99 (that’s cheaper than most cable packages) and includes all the major networks, plus the NFL Network and ESPN. Your fuboTV deal also includes NBCSN and Fox Sports for post-game analysis.
In addition to sports, a subscription to fuboTV gets you more than 100 other channels (including AMC, Bravo, E! and Showtime) plus 500 hours of Cloud DVR Plus, to record any games or shows you want to re-watch. The best part: three screens can be logged in at once, so you won’t have to fight over the channels while the game is on.
We like fuboTV for other sports too, with access to the NHL Network, NBA TV, MLB Network, Golf Channel and more. Just in time for the NFL season fuboTV has a 7-day free trial offer right now with no commitment. Start your trial here.
BEST VALUE: Sling TV
Sling TV is the cheapest live streaming service on our list, with plans starting at just $30 a month. The Sling Blue package gets you access to FOX and NBC (in most markets), plus the NFL Network. while Sling Orange gets you ESPN, ESPN 2 and ESPN 3. Your best Sling TV deal is to combine them, with the Sling Orange + Blue package for just $45/month (see details here).
Sling TV channels also include AMC, E!, HGTV, USA and more. You can also add their “sports extra” package for 10 bucks, which gets you live streaming to NFL Red Zone, in addition to the MLB Network, NHL Network, Tennis Channel, Golf Channel and more.
Sling is offering a three-day free trial for new users here. They’re also offering a new deal that gets you your first month of “Sports Extra” for free when you sign up for one of their packages. See the deal here.
BEST NEW SERVICE: Vidgo
Vidgo is one of the newer streaming options online but it’s become a hit with both cord cutters and sports fans alike. Vidgo’s core $40 deal gets you ESPN and the NFL Network in addition to ABC and FOX. You also get access to FOX Sports, ESPN 2, ESPN U, Big Ten Network and beIN Sports, for international matches (think live coverage of La Liga and Ligue 1 soccer).
Vidgo’s $50 deal tacks on NFL Red Zone and all the PAC 12 networks for college sports. Choose a subscription based on your terms – Vidgo doesn’t require any long-term contracts or hidden fees, and you can cancel anytime. Watch with friends on up to three devices at one.
BEST ORIGINAL PROGRAMMING: CBS All Access
A subscription to CBS All Access costs just $6 per month and lets you live stream all the NFL Sunday matchups on the network. CBS is also the exclusive broadcast partner of Super Bowl LV, which takes place February 7, 2021 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. CBS All Access is currently offering a one-month free trial here.
Your CBS All Access membership also lets you stream more than 20,000 episodes and movies from the streaming service’s recently expanded lineup. The best shows to stream on CBS All Access include a slate of critically-acclaimed originals, like The Good Fight, Star Trek: Picard, Star Trek: Discovery, Why Women Kill, and a remake of The Twilight Zone, with Jordan Peele as the host and narrator. You’ll also get access to thousands of hours of content from BET, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, MTV, and TV Land.
BEST OPTION YOU ALREADY HAVE: Amazon Prime
Thursday Night Football is an American institution, and this season, Thursday night games will not only air on TV, but on Amazon Prime as well. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can stream the NFL online for free.
Of course, the free NFL live stream is just one of dozens of Amazon Prime benefits. A Prime membership gets you everything from free shipping to free Twitch streaming, plus thousands of hours of music and movie content via Amazon Music and Prime Video. Amazon is currently offering a 30-day free trial to Amazon Prime which you can access here.