How to watch NFL games on Christmas live online for free—and without cable
Football on a Sunday is hardly unusual. But as little as three years ago, it was uncommon for the NFL to schedule a game on Christmas Day. But over the past two years, the league has seen tremendous success with Dec. 25 matchups—and this year, it’s ratcheting up the number of games from two to three.
While the schedule may be unkind to West Coast fans, East Coasters will likely have already opened their gifts, providing them with a perfect window to catch the early contests.
It will be harder to sneak away to catch the game, mind you. Many restaurants and sports bars are closed today. And you could find yourself in a battle for your new big screen TV if the kids want to play their new video games. Fortunately, you can still catch all the action. Here’s a look at who’s playing today—and several different ways to watch the games.
Which NFL teams are playing on Christmas? And what channels are airing the games?
Every one of today’s games could have big playoff implications for at least one of the teams. Coaches are certainly hoping some Christmas magic remains when they take the field. Here’s who’s playing and when. As always, the home team is listed second.
Saturday, Dec. 25
Green Bay Packers vs. Miami Dolphins, 1:00 p.m. ET on Fox
Denver Broncos vs. Los Angeles Rams, 4:30 p.m. ET on CBS
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Arizona Cardinals, 8:15 p.m. ET on NFL Network
How can I watch my local NFL team for free—even if I am out of market?
The best way to watch any network programming for free on a big screen is with a good HD antenna. And watching most NFL games is fairly simple, since many air on broadcast networks, meaning you’ll be able to watch even if you don’t have a cable subscription. To ensure you’re getting the most reliable signal, be sure to test the antenna in multiple locations in your home.
Note that this option will not work for games on the NFL Network, which is not broadcast over the air.
How can I stream NFL games live online if I don’t have a cable subscription?
You’ve got several options:
NBC’s streaming service will give you access to several games, including all Sunday night matchups. 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 gives you access to games aired on that network. You can get a one-week free trial, followed by a $5 or $10 monthly charge.
Disney’s bundle of Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ no longer has a free trial, so you’ll have to pay $13.99 per month for all three combined (or $19.99 per month for no ads on Hulu). Including Live TV in the bundle bumps the price to $70 per month ($76 with no ads).
Hulu with Live TV
The free trial on this service is no longer offered, as well. It costs $70 per month.
After up to a two-week trial, monthly charges are $65.
Dish Network’s Sling recently increased its prices. The lower-tiered “Orange” plan now costs $40 per month. Adding the more comprehensive “Blue” plan bumps it to $55 per month. (A $5 per month increase for each.) The seven-day free trial has disappeared, but the cord-cutting service is offering 50% off of the first month’s bill.
Formerly known as DirecTV Now, AT&T TVNow and AT&T TV, this oft-renamed streaming service costs $70 per month or more after the free trial option.
This sports-focused cord-cutting service carries broadcast networks in most markets. There’s a seven-day free trial, followed by monthly charges of $70 to $100, depending on the channels you choose.
Can I watch NFL games on Amazon?
Not this year. Amazon is, for the next 11 years, the exclusive home to Thursday Night Football, but it does not carry any weekend games. Next up is the Dallas Cowboys vs Tennessee Titans on Dec. 29.
Does the NFL offer any viewing packages to watch the games I want?
Santa left three choices for you under the tree…
The NFL App lets 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.
Watch live local and out of market games and (with the premium subscription) replays. There’s a seven-day free trial, after which you’re looking at a $30 charge per season. ($80 for premium.)
DirecTV customers have access to it, but (if you meet the conditions, like living in an apartment complex or some area where you can’t get DirecTV) you can also sign up for an online version, letting you watch any NFL game live this season. There’s a one-week trial, after which it costs $73.49 per month for a four-month period or $293.36 for the entire season (or $99 for four months or $396).
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