How to watch Week 1 NFL football games live online for free—and without cable

September 12, 2021, 2:39 PM UTC

After a season that many fans would rather forget, the NFL returns to some semblance of normalcy this weekend with the start of the 2020-2021 season.

While fans were largely absent last year, most teams will offer full capacity seating in stadiums this year, bringing an energy back to the game. It’s a risk, given the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19. Even Dr. Anthony Fauci, who was eager to watch the season himself a few months ago now says he doesn’t think it’s smart to attend in-person games.

Many fans won’t heed that advice, though. (They’ll have more to choose from, too. This season has an extra 16 games compared to other years.) And still more will be watching from home. If you’re one of those and don’t feel like braving the local sports bar this weekend, we’ve got a look at who’s playing this week—and several different options for viewing the games.

Which NFL teams are playing this week? And what channels are airing the games?

The Super Bowl LV champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicked off the 2021 season on Thursday with a 31-29 victory over to the Dallas Cowboys. But the real start for many fans comes Sunday, with a full schedule

Here’s a look who’s playing this week. (The home team is listed second.)

Sunday, Sept. 12

Seattle Seahawks vs. Indianapolis Colts, 1:00 p.m. ET on Fox

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans, 1:00 p.m. ET on CBS

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Atlanta Falcons, 1:00 p.m. ET on Fox

Los Angeles Chargers vs. Washington Football Team, 1:00 p.m. ET on CBS

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Buffalo Bills, 1:00 p.m. ET on CBS

San Francisco 49ers vs. Detroit Lions, 1:00 p.m. ET on Fox

Minnesota Vikings vs. Cincinnati Bengals, 1:00 p.m. ET on Fox

New York Jets vs. Charlotte Panthers, 1:00 p.m. ET on CBS

Arizona Cardinals vs. Tennessee Titans, 1:00 p.m. ET on CBS

Cleveland Browns vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 4:25 p.m. ET on CBS

Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots, 4:25 p.m. ET on CBS

Denver Broncos vs. New York Giants, 4:25 p.m. ET on Fox

Green Bay Packers vs. New Orleans Saints, 4:25 p.m. ET on Fox

Chicago Bears vs. Los Angeles Rams, 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC

Monday, Sept. 13

Baltimore Ravens vs. Las Vegas Raiders, 8:15 p.m. ET on ABC and ESPN

How can I watch my local NFL team for free—even if I am out of market?

The best way to watch any sort of network programming for free on a big screen is with a good HD antenna. And NFL games are one of the easiest to view if you don’t have a cable subscription, since they air on all of broadcast networks. To ensure you’re getting the most reliable signal, be sure to test the antenna in multiple locations in your home.

How can I stream NFL games live online if I don’t have a cable subscription?

If you’re not near a TV, you have several options:


NBC’s streaming service will give you access to Sunday night games and others aired on that network. You can get a seven-day free trial, followed by a $5 or $10 monthly charge. (The free version of Peacock does not include live sports.)


CBS’s streaming service will give you access to games aired on that network. You can get a one-month free trial, followed by a $6 monthly charge.

This free service lets you watch local broadcast channels with no monthly fees or contracts. The hiccup is: It only services select part of the country.

Hulu with Live TV

You can try the service free for a week. Once that’s up, you’ll pay $65 per month.


After a two-week trial, you can expect monthly charges of $65.

Sling TV

Dish Network’s Sling lower tiered “Orange” plan will run you $35 per month. Adding the more comprehensive “Blue” plan bumps the cost to $50-per-month. You’ll have a 7-day free trial first – and right now, the cord cutting service is dropping the first month’s bill to $10.


Formerly known as DirecTV Now and AT&T TVNow, AT&T’s streaming service will run you $70 per month and up. There is no longer a free trial option.


Disney’s bundle of Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ can be enjoyed for free for seven days, after which you’ll pay $12.99 per month for all three combined

Fubo TV

This sports-focused cord cutting service carries broadcast networks in most markets. There’s a seven-day free trial, followed by monthly charges of $65-$80, depending on the channels you choose.

Can I watch NFL games on Amazon?

You can! Amazon Prime subscribers will be able to watch 11 games this year (including the Minnesota Vikings vs. New Orleans Saints on Christmas Day). The online retailer has struck a deal with Fox to air select Thursday night games. You’ll have to wait a bit before you can, though. The first co-aired game occurs Oct. 8, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers facing the Chicago Bears. They’ll be featured in the Prime Video section and Amazon will also offer the NFL Network pregame show before each game at 7:30 p.m. ET.

If you don’t have Prime, you can sign up for a 30-day free trial.

Does the NFL offer any viewing packages to watch the games I want?

In a sense…


The NFL App will let you stream games that are being broadcast locally in your market on Sundays. If you want to watch an ‘out of market’ game, you’ve got two choices.

NFL Game Pass

There are couple hitches with this service. You can’t use it to watch live games, but you can watch anything once its main broadcast ends. There’s a seven-day free trial, after which you’re looking at a $100 charge per season.

NFL Sunday Ticket

DirecTV customers have access to it, but if you’re not a subscriber and live in an area where it’s not available, you can watch any NFL game live, online or on TV for $73.49 per month or $293.36 for the entire season.

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