There are more options to watch the NFL online without cable for the upcoming 2016/17 season than ever before. The Thursday Night Football schedule has been expanded and several of those games will be streamed free. There are also more options to watch NFL games from subscription streaming services. Just like last year, select pay TV companies support streaming games through the ESPN, FOX Sports,NBC Sports, and NFL Network apps, but only after logging in with your cable TV credentials. Read on to see how to watch NFL online free and without cable this season.
How to watch NFL online on iPhone and Android smartphones
Live streaming most NFL games on a smartphone requires a Verizon data plan, the only exceptions being games streamed free by Twitter. Verizon customers can stream Thursday, Sunday, and Monday night games as well as local-market Sunday afternoon games (games on your local CBS or FOX stations) and 24/7 NFL Network coverage for free. NFL RedZone is also available for a small monthly fee. Games can be accessed through the official NFL app for iPhone and Android.
Live stream 10 Thursday Night games free on iPhone, iPad, Android, and computers
As part of the expanded Thursday Night Football schedule, Twitter will stream 10 games for free on smartphone, tablets, computers, and other connected devices. The free games are weeks 2-3, 5-7, 11, and 13-16. It isn't exactly clear yet how the games will be presented and how or if they will be available on devices such as Apple TV and Roku.
Update: Twitter has released an app for Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Xbox One to watch NFL online on the big screen. There is an option to view top tweets, vines, and periscopes alongside the live video stream.
RedZone now available without cable and other streaming options
Sling TV and Playstation Vue are two subscription streaming services that include access to a lot of NFL games. Both services include ESPN in their base packages and new for this season both will offer NFL Network and RedZone. This will be the first time RedZone is widely available without a cable package or the equally expensive Sunday Ticket streaming service (see below).
Sling TV starts at $20 per month, but the $25 or $40 package is required to get NFL Network (note the $25 package does not include ESPN though). RedZone is available as a $10 per month add-on to the $25 or $40 packages. Vue's price depends on the availability of broadcast channels in your area. It is priced at $30-$45 in locations that only receive CBS live, and $40-$55 in areas that receive ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC live. RedZone is available for a one-time fee of $40, and can be added to the middle or upper-tier packages.
Both of these services are a great way to stream live NFL games without cable. Sling is the least expensive way to watch NFL online from ESPN, NFL Network, and RedZone, but Vue offers more NFL games in areas that receive all of the broadcast channels. Both are available on iPhone/iPad, Android, computers, and several streaming boxes, but only Sling is available on Apple TV. Check out their free trials and see what works for you.
NFL Sunday Ticket - streaming availability still limited
NFL Sunday Ticket, the service that gives fans access to every NFL game not on their local TV channels, is again available streaming. However, the service is not available to everyone and you must enter your address to check eligibility. Starting at $50 per month, it is expensive and targeted at fans living in a different area from their favorite team. It does not include any primetime games, only Sunday afternoon games not available on FOX and CBS in your local area. Check eligibility and see more details here. Use code 'Ringer' for a 10% discount. College students are also eligible for a 50% discount.
Antenna - another free (offline) option
Don't forget, an inexpensive TV antenna is a great way to watch NFL games on CBS, FOX, and NBC in HD for free. If you have good reception where you live it will give you free access to most NFL games (and many other sports) broadcast all year. The picture may also be better than the compressed HD live streams mentioned above.
Enjoy the NFL season, go Eagles!