Unlike other major sports leagues such as the NBA, NHL, MLB and MLS which were forced to postpone their seasons or change their schedules due to the pandemic, the NFL got lucky because its 2019-20 season ended back in February. The league is set to resume play on Thursday, September 10 and we have all the details on how you can stream all 250+ games this season.
The 2020-21 NFL season is already shaping up to be a bit different than past seasons since all of the preseason games have been cancelled. Instead of playing exhibition games, NFL teams started their training camps late and they will now go directly from training to week 1 of the regular season.
Thankfully though, the schedule for the NFL’s regular season remains unchanged and each team will play 16 games during a 17-week period. As usual, there will also be Bye Weeks where each team will get a week off between weeks 5 and 13 to rest and recover before returning to the fray. Bye Weeks are not determined by the teams themselves but by the NFL schedule makers which include SVP of scheduling Howard Katz, senior director of broadcasting Blake Jones, director of broadcasting Charlotte Carey, VP of broadcasting Michael North and VP of broadcasting Onnie Bose.
While the regular season will proceed as it normally does, there have been some changes made to the format of the 2020-21 playoffs. The NFL has officially expanded its playoff format from 12 to 14 teams which will allow for one more wild-card team from each conference. This means that the AFC and NFC will each have seven playoff teams but only the top seed from each conference will receive a first-round bye in the playoffs. The NFL first expanded the playoffs to ten teams in 1978 and then to twelve teams in 1990.
Although the pandemic won’t be stopping the 2020-21 NFL season from proceeding, there will be some changes made for both player and team safety. First off, there will be no fans in attendance at the stadiums of most teams with the exception of the Cowboys, Colts, Jaguars, Chiefs and Dolphins who have all announced that they will allow fans to attend games in limited capacity. For stadiums where no fans will be in attendance, NFL Films has created artificial crowd noise unique to each stadium. At the same time, so far 67 NFL players have decided to sit out of the upcoming season including the Jets’ C.J. Mosley, the Giants’ Nate Solder, the Bears’ Eddie Goldman and the Patriots’ Dont’a Hightower among others.
Whether you’ve been eagerly awaiting the start of the 2020-21 NFL season or just want to tune in to watch some football this fall, we’ll show you exactly how to watch all 250+ games live on TV or online from wherever you are in the world.
How to watch the NFL from anywhere
We have all the details on how you can watch the NFL in the U.S., Canada, UK and Australia further down in this guide. However, if you’re currently traveling or live in a country without an official broadcast option you won’t be able to watch the 2020 NFL season.
That’s where one of the best VPNs (Virtual Private Network) can really come in handy. They allow you to virtually change the IP address of your laptop, tablet or mobile to one that’s back in your home country which will let you watch as if you were back there.
VPNs are incredibly easy to use and have the added benefit of providing you with an additional layer of security when surfing the web. There are also a lot of options but we recommend ExpressVPN as our top pick due to its speed, security and ease of use. The service can even be used on a wide array of operating systems and devices (e.g. iOS, Android, Smart TVs, Fire TV Stick, Roku, game consoles, etc). Sign up for ExpressVPN now and enjoy a 49% discount and 3 months FREE with an annual subscription. You can even test it out for yourself thanks to the service’s 30-day money back guarantee. Looking for more options?
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Watch the NFL online or on TV in the U.S
In order to watch the NFL on TV this season, you’ll need a cable package that gives you access to CBS, NBC, Fox, ESPN and the NFL Network as Fox and NFL Network will show Thursday Night Football, NBC will show Sunday Night Football and ESPN will show Monday Night Football.
The NFL will also broadcast 11 games on Amazon Prime Video and Twitch this season beginning in October. If you’re looking for a free option to watch football while out and about, the Yahoo Sports app for iOS and Android will show every NFL game that is broadcast in your local TV market including Monday Night Football and Thursday Night Football games.
The NFL also has its own streaming service NFL Game Pass which costs just $99 for the whole season. However, there is a big catch as in the US, the service will only allow you to watch replays of games and not live ones.
Don’t want to sign up for cable just to watch football this season? Don’t worry as there are a number of streaming services, all at different price points, that will give you access to the channels you need to watch the NFL. We’ve listed a few of our favorites below to make things easier for you.
- Hulu with Live TV – $54.99 per month – Hulu with Live TV gives you access to almost all of the channels you need to watch the NFL this season including CBS, ESPN, Fox and NBC but not the NFL Network. The service supports a wide variety of streaming devices and even includes its own Hulu Originals in case you want a break from watching football.
- Sling TV – $45 per month – To watch the NFL with Sling TV, you’ll have to sign up for both the service’s Sling Orange and Blue plans. For the price though, you get access to almost all of the channels you’ll need to watch the NFL this season including ESPN, Fox, and NBC but not the NFL Network or CBS. However, the company is running a promotion where it will send new customers an over-the-air antenna for free if they prepay the first two months so you can also watch games on CBS. You can also add NFL RedZone to your Sling subscription by purchasing the Sports Extra pack for an additional $10 each month.
- YouTube TV – $65 per month – YouTube TV gives you access to CBS, ESPN, Fox, NBC and the NFL Network. With YouTube TV you get free unlimited DVR storage space to record games for later and you can stream the service on three devices simultaneously. A free 7-day trial is also available so you can test it out for yourself.
- AT&T TV Now – $80 per month – AT&T TV Now’s Max plan gives you access to CBS, ESPN, Fox and NBC but not the NFL Network. You can stream content on two screens simultaneously (or pay $5 extra to do so on three screens) and with the AT&T TV Now app you can watch live TV on the go. The service also lets you record 20 hours of Cloud DVR storage. New customers can take advantage of a 7-day trial but you’ll have to purchase one of AT&T TV Now’s packages first.
- FuboTV – starting at $54.99 per month – fuboTV gives you access to CBS, Fox, NBC and the NFL Network. The service also includes Cloud DVR so you can record games to watch them later and if you forget to record a game, the company’s 3-day replay allows you to replay nearly any game, show or movie that aired in the last three days. FuboTV even offers a free 7-day trial so you can test out the service.
NFL Network vs. NFL RedZone
NFL Network is a television channel that usually requires a separate subscription from your cable provider unless you’ve gotten it as some sort of package. You’ll probably often get RedZone with it. The two channels are very different, though. NFL Network is more like a 24/7 news channel for football. You’ll get analysis, breaking news, and original programming. It also airs some full Primetime games over the course of the season. The original programming includes shows like NFL GameDay, a year-round news show called Good Morning Football, and a nightly news show that covers top headlines called NFL Total Access.
NFL RedZone, on the other hand, is geared more towards football fans who just want to see everything happening on game day. After all, on any given Sunday during the season there are usually a dozen games being played at the same time. RedZone makes it easy to keep tabs on several at once. Using the RedZone’s Octobox, you can watch eight at once. The “red zone” in football is the area between the 20 yard line and the end zone. It signifies when a team is close to scoring points. When a team reaches that point, RedZone cuts to the local broadcast. So you can’t use this channel to watch an entire game, but you can use it to watch all the exciting points from several games. This is also a great channel if you play fantasy football because you can keep tabs on different scoring players on different teams.
SlingTV is your best bet
If you want to stream football online this year, signing up for SlingTV’s combined Blue and Orange plan is your best option to do as you get access to almost every channel you’ll need to watch the 2020 NFL season. The fact that Sling is sending out free over-the-air antennas to customers who prepay the first two months just sweetens the deal by giving you access to local regional sports networks and CBS. You can also add NFL RedZone to your plan with the Sports Extra pack for an extra $10 per month.
$45 at Sling
To maximize your NFL viewing this season you’ll need both the Orange and Blue plans from Sling. Luckily, the company is running a promotion where new customers can get an over-the-air antenna for free when prepaying for two months.
Live stream the NFL in Canada
Canadian football fans can catch every game in the 2020 NFL season by signing up for DAZN. With DAZN, you can watch football on a wide variety of streaming devices including Roku, AppleTV, Amazon Fire TV and more as well as on your computer, smartphone, tablet and game consoles. The streaming service costs either $20 per month or $150 for the year.
How to watch NFL in the UK
American football fans in the UK can watch a number of NFL games on Sky Sports this season as the network will show more than 100 live games on its Sky Sports NFL and Sky Sports Main Event channels. Sky will show at least five live games per week including every Thursday, Sunday and Monday Night Football game.
If you’re not a Sky Sports subscriber yet or aren’t interested in committing to a lengthy contract, you can also get access to the network’s content with a NOW TV pass. Now TV offers Sky Sports Day Passes for £9.99 or a Sky Sports Monthly Pass for £33.99 and the service will also let you stream NFL games on your computer, smartphone, smart TV or other streaming devices.
If you’re a die-hard NFL fan and can’t stand missing a single game this season, NFL Game Pass is also available in the UK. However, unlike in the US, the International NFL Game Pass will let you watch all 250+ games this season live as they happen as well as the Playoffs and Super Bowl LV for £143.99 per year. You can also pay for your NFL Game Pass plan in four installments of £36.00.
UK fans will also be able to watch Super Bowl LV in February 2021 for free as the BBC will show the whole game live on TV and online via BBC iPlayer.
Get a NFL live stream in Australia
Australian NFL fans have quite a few options to watch American football this season as Foxtel, 7Mate and KayoSports will all broadcast live games.
Foxtel will broadcast games via ESPN so you also need to add the Sport Package at $25 per month on top of the Foxtel Plus Pack at $49 per month to your cable package. Australian viewers will also be able to watch two games per week free over-the-air on 7Mate and some games will be available to stream on the network’s streaming service 7Plus.
If you’re not interested in signing up for Foxtel, the over-the-top service Kayo Sports will show a selection of NFL games each week via ESPN. The service costs between $25 and $35 per month depending on the package you choose but new customers can take advantage of Kayo Sports’ 14-day free trial to watch the start of the 2020 NFL season.