Cheapest Way To Watch NFL Games Live Without Cable

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I’m a huge NFL fan and when I first cut the cable back in 2015 my biggest concern was whether or not I was going to miss any Giants games. Fortunately watching NFL games without cable is pretty easy and reasonably priced, if not free to do.

In this article, I’ll show you the cheapest ways to watch NFL games, what networks and streaming services you’ll need, and we’ll discuss the pros and cons of each service. When we’re done you can cut that expensive cable bill and you won’t miss a snap of your favorite team’s games.

Related: The Cheapest Ways To Watch NFL RedZone

What Channels Are NFL Games On?

The NFL broadcasts its weekly games on a variety of channels and streaming platforms. Some are local networks, some are cable TV networks and others are streaming networks.

2023 NFL Broadcast Networks & Services

  • Sunday Afternoon Games (Local) – CBS & FOX
  • Sunday Afternoon Out Of Market Games – NFL Sunday Ticket
  • Sunday Night Football – NBC & Peacock
  • Monday Night Football – ESPN
  • Thursday Night Football – Amazon Prime Video

The good news is that if you have an HD antenna, you can watch the majority of NFL games completely free (which I will discuss in the next section) but if you want to watch all available games every week you’ll need 

How To Watch Sunday Afternoon NFL Games

Watch NFL Games Free Over The Air

Of all major sports, the NFL is by far the easiest to watch on a budget because local Sunday Afternoon NFL games are broadcast completely free over the air. 

So if you’re a Giants fan living in New York like I am, then all you need to do to watch Big Blue’s Sunday Afternoon games is get an HD antenna, put it in a window that can get reception for that channel, and you can watch Sunday games all season long for free. 

If you don’t have an antenna don’t worry, they’re fairly cheap (around $20-30) and can be found on Amazon, at most electronics stores like Best Buy, or even at big box stores like Target and Walmart. 

To set up an antenna, just place it in a window, connect it to your TV and run a channel scan (instructions on that will vary by model) to see what channels you get in your area. If you have trouble receiving channels, try moving the antenna to different sides of the house and scan again.

If you live in an area that gets poor over-the-air reception, you don’t have an antenna, or just don’t want to watch over the air don’t worry, you can also stream games as we’ll discuss in the next section. 

Stream NFL Games Live Over The Internet

If watching on an antenna is not for you, local NFL Games can also be streamed live every week by subscribing to a live tv streaming service.

Live TV Streaming Services That Offer Local Channels

  • Sling TV (In Select markets*) – Starting at $40 per month
  • YouTube TV – $72.99 per month
  • Fubo – starting at $74.99 per month
  • DirecTV Stream – starting at $74.99 per month
  • Hulu with Live TV – $76.99 per month

*Sling TV provides local FOX and NBC stations only in select markets.

Watch Out Of Market NFL Games

If you’re a fan of an out-of-market team, then NFL Sunday Ticket is what you’re looking for. 

For years Sunday Ticket was only available for DirecTV subscribers and was not available for cord-cutters. Starting in 2023 however YouTube TV is now the exclusive home of Sunday Ticket… streamers rejoice!

NFL Sunday Ticket broadcasts every out-of-market game live every Sunday. So if you’re a Cowboys fan living in Florida or a Vikings fan living in California, then NFL Sunday Ticket is what you’re looking for. 

NFL Sunday Ticket costs $349 per year plus a subscription to YouTube TV for $72.99 per month. They also have a Sunday Ticket and RedZone package for $389 for the year, plus $72.99 per month for the base plan.

Watch NFL Games on Paramount+

If you are a subscriber to Paramount+ you can also watch local NFL games broadcast on CBS through the Paramount+ apps.

Paramount+ costs $5.99 per month for their Essential (base) plan and includes NFL games broadcast on CBS, some SEC and Big Ten college football games, UEFA Champions League soccer (or football if you will), as well as Movies and TV shows from CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon and more. You can also add Showtime to your subscription for $11.99 per month.

Paramount+ live NFL game coverage is limited to games broadcast in your local area, so it is essentially the same as watching it via the antenna or with a streaming TV provider, but if you follow a team that primarily shows its games on CBS

How To Watch Sunday Night Football

Just like Sunday Afternoon games, NFL Sunday Night Football can also be watched completely free over the air on an antenna. All you need is an antenna and reception to your local NBC affiliate. 

If you don’t have an antenna or can’t get reception to your local NBC station, you have two options to stream – Peacock Premium or a live TV streaming provider.

Stream Sunday Night Football With A Streaming Provider

As with the Sunday Afternoon NFL games, you can stream Sunday Night Football by subscribing to one of the streaming services that offers local channels, specifically NBC. 

Streaming Services That Offer NBC

  • Sling TV (In Select markets*) – Starting at $40 per month
  • YouTube TV – $72.99 per month
  • Fubo – starting at $74.99 per month
  • DirecTV Stream – starting at $74.99 per month
  • Hulu with Live TV – $76.99 per month

*Sling TV provides local FOX and NBC stations only in select markets.

Stream Sunday Night Football on Peacock

Peacock Premium (NBC’s streaming platform) is the cheapest way to stream Sunday Night Football at just $5.99 per month or $59.99 per year. 

Peacock gives you access to Sunday Night Football as well as pre-season games broadcast on NBC. In January 2024 the NFL will also stream a wild-card playoff game exclusively on Peacock, which will not be available anywhere else. 

Other Live Sports Included With Peacock: 

  • MLB Baseball on Sunday Mornings
  • Premier League Soccer/Football
  • NASCAR races (NBC Broadcasts)
  • PGA Tour golf (NBC Broadcasts)
  • WWE premium live events

You can watch Peacock on your Smart TV or by connecting a streaming device like a Roku, Fire TV, Chromecast, or Apple TV or a gaming console like a Playstation or Xbox. You can also watch on your phone, a tablet, or in your computer’s browser. In other words, pretty much anywhere. 

Considering the price, I really think Peacock is a good deal for sports fans and I’m happy to recommend it. I’ve personally used Peacock on Roku and Chromecast With Google TV, as well as on my Android phone and iPad and it runs great on all of them. 

How To Watch Monday Night Football

To watch Monday Night Football without cable, you’ll need a live TV streaming service that offers ESPN. I wrote a whole article on the cheapest ways to watch ESPN, but we’ll go through them here as well. 

Live TV Streaming Services That Offer ESPN:

  • Sling TV Orange – $40 per month
  • Sling TV Orange & Blue – $55 per month
  • YouTube TV – $72.99 per month
  • Fubo – starting at $74.99 per month
  • DirecTV Stream – starting at $74.99 per month
  • Hulu with Live TV – $76.99 per month

As you can see, ESPN is available on a wide variety of streaming services, starting at $40 per month with Sling TV’s Orange plan. Unfortunately Sling TV’s Blue Plan does not carry ESPN, but their Orange & Blue combo plan does.

Money Saving Tip: Most teams only play one or two games on Monday Night Football, and some teams don’t get an MNF game at all. If you’re really squeezing every penny it may not be worth subscribing to any service just for Monday Night Football. Try listening on the radio or watching at a bar or at a friend’s house instead.

How To Watch Thursday Night Football

For a few years Thursday Night Football was available on a variety of channels, but starting in 2022 TNF is now exclusively broadcast on Amazon Prime Video

This means in order to watch Thursday Night Football you need an Amazon Prime (or Amazon Prime Video) membership and a streaming device to watch it on.

Amazon Prime Membership Options

Amazon Prime has a few membership Options that will all give you access to Thursday Night Football:

  • Amazon Prime Video Membership (video only) – $8.99 / month 
  • Amazon Prime Membership (full membership) – $14.99 / month or $139 / year
  • Amazon Prime Student (full membership, students only)* – $7.49 / month or $69 / year

* Must be able to validate student enrollment to qualify for this price

Amazon Prime memberships include free shipping on orders, discounts at Whole Foods Market, special access to savings events like Prime Day, Amazon Music as well as Amazon Prime Video’s library of movies and TV shows.

We have been Amazon Prime members since 2013 and we find that the free shipping, Whole Foods discount and Prime Video are worth the full membership. If you don’t think you’d use these then the Prime Video only subscription is the way go to, especially if you’re only subscribing during the NFL season.

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