Disclosure: Your support helps keep our site running! We earn referral fees for some of the products & services we recommend. Learn more
Categories

How to Watch the NFL Playoffs Without Paying for Cable: Best Live Stream Options

Last Updated:

The NFL playoffs start with the wild card round on Saturday, January 14th at 4:30 pm (EST). And they will run through the Super Bowl on Sunday, February 12th at 6:30 pm.

In a hurry? Most games will air on the networks, so you could just set up an antenna. Or sign-up with one of these streaming services:

  • FuboTV: The best streaming service for international sports also provides 100+ well-selected channels. FuboTV allows you to try out its service free for 7 days.
  • Sling TV: This low-cost service allows you to select just the channel lineup you want. Save 50% on your first month of Sling TV.
  • DIRECTV STREAM: Get a great channel lineup with the best selection of RSNs in the industry. A 5-day free trial is now available for DIRECTV STREAM.

If you can’t watch your favorite sports because of your location, get ExpressVPN to access the content you deserve.

If you can’t watch your favorite movies and shows because of your location, you need a VPN. Here are our top picks from our VPN guide:

  • ExpressVPN: Established VPN provider in close to 100 countries. Smart DNS and unlimited bandwidth. Try it with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  • NordVPN: Connect to over 5,000 premium servers in 60+ countries. Comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee!
  • CyberGhost: Great low-cost service with a free 24-hour trial.

The 2021 season was the first in which all 32 teams will play 17 games during the regular season. It was also the second time in league history that these games had been played over the course of 18 weeks. In 1993, each team played 16 games over the course of 18 weeks as the league wanted to see what would happen if an extra bye week was built into the schedule.

Sign Up for a Free 7-Day Fubo Trial

The other three division champions in each conference will be seeded second through fourth and play at home in the first round of the playoffs. In addition, three wild card teams will be seeded fifth through seventh and play on the road against the divisional champions.

In the divisional round, the top two remaining seeds will play at home against the other two teams that win their opening-round games. The winners of those games meet to determine who represents their conference in the Super Bowl. As with the other playoff games, the top remaining seed is the home team in the conference title game.

Super Bowl 50
Cropped from Super Bowl 50 by Steve Jurvetson under CC BY 2.0.

2022-23 NFL Playoff Schedule

If all that made your head spin, we understand. Here is the schedule with all the information currently known. We will update it as more information comes in.

  • Sat Jan 14 4:30 pm: Wild Card Round (TBD)
  • Sat Jan 14 8:15 pm: Wild Card Round (TBD)
  • Sun Jan 15 1:00 pm: Wild Card Round (TBD)
  • Sun Jan 15 4:30 pm: Wild Card Round (CBS)
  • Sun Jan 15 8:15 pm: Wild Card Round (NBC)
  • Mon Jan 16 8:00 pm: Wild Card Round (ESPN)
  • Sun Jan 22 TBD: AFC Division Round (TBD)
  • Sun Jan 22 TBD: NFC Division Round (TBD)
  • Sun Jan 22 TBD: AFC Division Round (TBD)
  • Sun Jan 22 TBD: NFC Division Round (TBD)
  • Sun Jan 29 TBD: NFC Conference Championship (Fox)
  • Sun Jan 29 TBD: AFC Conference Championship (CBS).

You can catch the games broadcast on ESPN, CBS, Fox, and NBC via FuboTV!

Super Bowl LVII is scheduled:

Sun Feb 12 6:30 pm (EST): TBD vs TBD (Fox)

Sign Up for a Free 7-Day Fubo Trial

Unblock Your Favorite Events & Teams With a VPN

If you can’t watch your favorite events or teams because of your location, a VPN will allow you to get the access you are entitled to, plus extra security and unequalled privacy. Check out our VPN Guide for everything you need to know, including our top pick ExpressVPN.

Get ExpressVPN Today

NFL Playoff Channels

As a general rule, playoff games featuring AFC teams are broadcast on CBS. And playoff games featuring NFC games tend to be broadcast on Fox. There are exceptions like the Jan 10th, 2021 wildcard game between NFC teams Saints and Bears that was broadcast on CBS.

Since the 2014-2015 season, ESPN/ABC has broadcast one playoff game each season. Until last year, it was always the first game of the season. This year, ESPN is slotted to air the last wildcard game.

NBC gets to broadcast a single game in primetime during each of the first two rounds, and this game is generally the one that is perceived to bring in the highest ratings regardless of which conference the teams play in.

Super Bowl LVII will be broadcast on Fox and Fox Deportes, and the game is scheduled for Feb 12, 2023 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The game will also be available on the Fox Sports app and at foxsports.com.

Streaming Services to Watch NFL Playoffs

The NFL is too popular for there not to be good options to streaming games. That’s true of the regular season and even more true of the playoffs!

FuboTV

fubotv logo

The FuboTV Pro package is $69.99 and comes with NBC, CBS, Fox, and ESPN — everything you need to watch every game!

But there’s a lot more — over 100 live TV channels with a special focus on sports with CBS Sports Network, FS1, FS2, ESPN2, Galavision, Golf, NFL Network, and a whole collection of channels from beIN Sports and TUDN. It also includes The Olympic Channel.

All FuboTV plans come with a minimum of 750 hours of cloud DVR storage and the ability to watch on up to 10 devices simultaneously.

Find out more in our FuboTV review.

Sign Up for a Free 7-Day Fubo Trial

FuboTV NFL
FuboTV offers all the channels that air NFL games.

DIRECTV STREAM

DIRECTV STREAM

The DIRECTV STREAM (formerly AT&T TV) Entertainment package comes with local feeds of national channels such as NBC, CBS, and Fox as well as standard “cable” channels like ESPN. In all, you get roughly 80 channels for $69.99 per month. There are three other plans if you want more including your local regional sports networks (RSN).

DIRECTV STREAM comes with unlimited cloud DVR (as long as you sign up online) and the ability to stream on up to 20 devices at once.

Our DIRECTV STREAM review has more details.

Get DIRECTV STREAM Free for 5 Days

Sling TV

Sling TV Logo (2021 100x50)

Sling TV is the most customizable of the streaming services but this does mean that it can be confusing to get the exact package you want. Its Blue plan ($35/mo) includes NBC and Fox. Its Orange plan ($35/mo) comes with ESPN. You can get them both for $50/mo.

You can’t get CBS directly through Sling TV. But if you pay for two months’ service upfront, they will give you a free indoor HD antenna, which will allow you to watch CBS — right from within the Sling TV interface!

The base Sling TV plans come with 50 hours of cloud DVR storage. The Blue plan comes with the ability to stream on up to 3 devices at once. But the Orange plan channels (eg, ESPN) can only be streamed on one device at a time.

See our Sling TV review for more.

Save 50% on Sling TV

Hulu + Live TV

hulu logo

For $69.99 per month, you can get Hulu + Live TV. This service adds 85 live TV channels to the base Hulu on-demand plan. It includes all the playoff channels (CBS, Fox, NBC, and ESPN) plus NFL Network.

Hulu + Live TV comes with unlimited cloud DVR (9 months of storage) and the ability to stream on up to two devices at once.

See our Hulu + Live TV review for more details.

Try Hulu + Live TV Today!

Vidgo

vidgo logo

For $59.95 a month, Vidgo provides access to ABC, Fox, and ESPN. In total, you get 100+ channels, which include NFL Network as well as NFL RedZone, which are great for the regular season. They also offer an outstanding selection of channels for NCAA sports fans.

There is one major problem with Vidgo: it does not offer NBC and CBS. You can, however, get those by signing up for Peacock and Paramount+. Note also that Vidgo does not come with a cloud DVR. It does, however, allow simultaneous streaming on up to 3 devices.

For more see our Vidgo review.

Try Vidgo Today!

Vidgo Football
Vidgo offers NFL Network and NFL RedZone in its base plan.

Other Options

There are other options for watching the NFL playoffs:

  • Paramount+: Offers a cheap ($4.99/mo) way to watch all the games that air on CBS. This is a particularly good addition to people who are using Sling TV or Vidgo as their primary streaming service.
  • Peacock: Streams live coverage of any game that is broadcast on NBC. This is a good addition to Vidgo. And it is only $4.99/mo.
  • YouTube TV: Another live TV streaming service — similar to Hulu + Live TV — for $64.99 a month. It provides all the channels you’ll need to watch the NFL playoffs.

NFL+

NFL+ is a subscription-based service that lets you stream NFL games to your mobile device. You can’t watch out-of-market matchups live through NFL+ during the regular season, you can only watch them on-demand after they’ve been telecast live. But the playoffs are all nationally televised, which means that post season games (including the Super Bowl) will all be available live on game day. For more information, see our complete guide to NFL+.

Sign Up for a Free 7-Day Fubo Trial

Streaming Devices for the NFL Playoffs

Sling TV NFL Android
Android phone with Sling TV and NFL shows.

It’s pretty easy to find a streaming service that will allow you to watch the NFL playoffs on your TVs and other devices. Most are supported.

Other than Vidgo, Samsung smart TVs are supported by all the streaming services. Fubo, Hulu, and Sling all support LG and Vizio smart TVs. And all the services (other than DIRECTV STREAM) support Android TV-based devices.

TV devices are supported by everyone: Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and Roku. And so are mobile devices based on Android and iOS. Similarly, you can use the Chromecast standard to cast from browsers and mobile devices to your TV.

FuboTV, Sling TV, and Hulu + Live TV support the Xbox One gaming system. Hulu also supports the PlayStation.

You will find complete lists of supported devices in our individual streaming service reviews linked to above.

Superpower Your Streaming With a VPN

For the sake of privacy, security, and access, you should be using a VPN. They are low-cost and easy to use. We’ve been using them for years and our top pick is ExpressVPN.

i Our VPN Buyer’s Guide provides a complete introduction and all you need to know to choose the best VPN for your needs.

Wrapping Up

The NFL playoffs may be the most popular sporting event in the United States. Football games, broadly speaking, generally draw millions of viewers regardless of who is playing, what time they are played, or what network they appear on.

NFL postseason contests will appear on NBC, CBS, Fox, and ESPN. They will also be simulcast on other stations and streaming platforms like Paramount+ and Peacock.

FAQs

How did Super Bowl LVI shake out?

Super Bowl games are often disappointments. But that wasn’t the case last year. The Rams and Bengals were well-matched. The handicappers gave the Rams a 4.5 point margin, which wasn’t much considering an over-under of 48.5. The final score was pretty close with Cincinnati beating the line by 1.5 points and the game coming in under by 5.5 points.

The final score was 23-20, Rams.

What NFC wild card teams have made it to the Super Bowl?

In 2020, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made it to the Super Bowl after finishing fifth in the conference. In 2007, the New York Giants won the Super Bowl despite failing to win their division. Interestingly, both of those games involved Tom Brady. In 2020, he was Tampa Bay’s quarterback while he played against the Giants in 2007.

What AFC wild card teams have made it to the Super Bowl?

In 1993, the Buffalo Bills made the Super Bowl despite not winning their division. The Pittsburgh Steelers won the Super Bowl in 2005 after earning the sixth seed in the playoffs. They became the first team to advance to the championship game despite being seeded last among AFC teams that qualified for the postseason.

Can two NFC teams go to the Super Bowl?

As the Super Bowl is played between the winner of the AFC and the winner of the NFC, only one team from this conference can go to the Super Bowl. The NFC and AFC champions are determined two weeks before the biggest event in American sports.

Can two AFC teams make it to the Super Bowl?

The Super Bowl is played between the champions of the AFC and the NFC, which means that only one team from that conference can play in that game. Although NFC and AFC teams do meet during the regular season, they never do in the playoffs except in the Super Bowl.

How does the wild card round work?

The top seed in each conference gets a bye to the second round of the playoffs. The other six teams (seeds 2 through 7) are matched up against each other based on their seed with the best team playing the worst team, the second best playing the second worst, and the third best playing the third worst. It’s simpler than it sounds:

  • 7th seed at 2nd seed
  • 6th seed at 3rd seed
  • 5th seed at 4th seed.

Which teams are betting favorites to win the Super Bowl?

As of August 2022, the favorites to win the Super Bowl are roughly as follows (it depends upon the exact handicapper and sports book):

  1. Buffalo Bills (+600)
  2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+700)
  3. Kansas City Chiefs (+1000)
  4. Green Bay Packers (+1100)
  5. Los Angeles Rams (+1100)
  6. Los Angeles Chargers (+1500)
  7. San Francisco 49ers (+1600)
  8. Denver Broncos (+1600)
  9. Dallas Cowboys (+1900)
  10. Baltimore Ravens (+2100)
  11. Cincinnati Ravens (+2100)

There has been major movement thus far. The Buccaneers started at +2600. That’s probably due to the return of Brady. The Chargers have also seen their chances go up (from +2400) due to an impressive draft. A number of other teams have seen their odds go down but not nearly as dramatically.

Which teams are expected to make it to the playoffs?

Until we get further into the 2022 season, let’s go with our picks from 2021:

  • In the AFC, the favorites to make the playoffs include the Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, and Tennessee Titans. The Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots, and the Los Angeles Chargers are also among AFC squads who experts believe have a good chance of playing in the postseason.
  • In the NFC, the favorites to play in the postseason include the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Arizona Cardinals, and Green Bay Packers. The Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints, and Dallas Cowboys also have a strong chance of making the playoffs this season.

What teams made the playoffs in 2021-22?

The seven NFC teams to make the cut were:

  1. Green Bay Packers (13-4)
  2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13-4)
  3. Los Angeles Rams (12-5)
  4. Dallas Cowboys (12-5)
  5. Arizona Cardinals (11-6)
  6. San Francisco 49ers (10-7)
  7. Philadelphia Eagles (9-8).

And the seven AFC teams were:

  1. Tennessee Titans (12-5)
  2. Kansas City Chiefs (12-5)
  3. Buffalo Bills (11-6)
  4. Cincinnati Bengals (10-7)
  5. Las Vegas Raiders (10-7)
  6. New England Patriots (10-7)
  7. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7-1).

What were the results of the 2021-22 NFL season?

  • Sat Jan 15 4:35 pm: Raiders (19) at Bengals (26) (NBC)
  • Sat Jan 15 8:15 pm: Patriots (17) at Bills (47) (CBS)
  • Sun Jan 16 1:05 pm: Eagles (15) at Buccaneers (31) (Fox)
  • Sun Jan 16 4:40 pm: 49ers (23) at Cowboys (17) (CBS,Nickelodeon)
  • Sun Jan 16 8:15 pm: Steelers (21) at Chiefs (42) (NBC)
  • Mon Jan 17 8:15 pm: Cardinals (11) at Rams (34) (ABC,ESPN)
  • Sat Jan 22 4:30 pm: Bengals (19) at Titans (16) (CBS,Paramount+)
  • Sat Jan 22 8:15 pm: 49ers (13) at Packers (10) (Fox,Fox Deportes)
  • Sun Jan 23 3:00 pm: Rams (30) at Buccaneers (27) (NBC,Peacock,Universo)
  • Sun Jan 23 6:30: Bills (36) at Chiefs (42) (CBS,Paramount+)
  • Sun Jan 30 3:05 pm: AFC Championship — Bengals (27) at Chiefs (24) (CBS)
  • Sun Jan 30 6:40 pm: NFC Championship — 49ers (17) at Rams (20) (Fox)
  • Sun Feb 13th 6:30 pm: Super Bowl LVI — Bengals (20) vs Rams (23) (NBC).

Will Nickelodeon simulcast another playoff wildcard game this year?

No, but the kids network will be bringing its special brand of enormously popular goofiness to a Christmas game. (Deck the halls with lots of slime, fa-la-la-la.) Nick’s first regular season game (a more “grown up” version of which will air on CBS) will see the Broncos going up against the Rams Christmas Day, kick off at 4:30 pm Eastern.

Where can I watch regular season games?

Regular season games are aired on largely on the same networks as the playoffs, divided by days:

How can I get information on watching specific games?

These articles provide details on watching different parts of the playoffs:

For more information, see our guide on how to watch NFL games without cable.

How can I follow my favorite team?

If you want info on a specific team, check out our team-based viewer’s guides: AFC East AFC North AFC South AFC West Buffalo Bills Baltimore Ravens Houston Texans Denver Broncos Miami Dolphins Cincinnati Bengals Indianapolis Colts Kansas City Chiefs New England Patriots Cleveland Browns Jacksonville Jaguars Los Angeles Chargers New York Jets Pittsburgh Steelers Tennessee Titans Las Vegas Raiders NFC East NFC North NFC South NFC West Dallas Cowboys Chicago Bears Atlanta Falcons Arizona Cardinals New York Giants Detroit Lions Carolina Panthers Los Angeles Rams Philadelphia Eagles Green Bay Packers New Orleans Saints San Francisco 49ers Washington Commanders Minnesota Vikings Tampa Bay Buccaneers Seattle Seahawks

Ditch “Big Cable” Now — 3 Simple Steps to Cutting the Cord

  1. Pick the right streaming service
  2. Supercharge your internet provider
  3. Protect yourself and power your streaming with the best VPN.

That’s it — you’ll save money, gain control, and enjoy TV more!

Follow me

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap