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

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The NFL is the most popular sport in the United States. And starting last season and continuing this coming season, you can only watch it all by streaming. Learn everything you need to know below.

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:

  • Fubo: The best streaming service for international sports also provides 130+ well-selected channels. Fubo allows you to try out its service free for 7 days.
  • 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.

Unfortunately, we don’t know a streaming service in that covers this sport. But if you’ve already paid for the right service, and just can’t watch because of your location, there is an easy way to get the content you deserve. You need a VPN, like one of the following.

  1. ExpressVPN: Known as “The VPN that just works,” it combines remarkable ease of use with with state-of-the-art power, speed, security, and privacy. Get three extra free months when you sign up for a year. Unleash your streaming with this top-rated VPN.
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  1. Surfshark: Surfshark: Secure and easy to use with thousands of servers around the world. Of special note is its excellent collection of servers inside the US, which is great for regional sports lie NFL, MLB, and NBA. Get it now with an incredible 82% discount on a 24-month plan.
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  1. NordVPN: One of the top VPNs with extremely fast servers all over the world. Great for streaming with tested perfomance on the biggest servers and included ad-blocking. Currently offering 70% discount on 2-year plans.
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If you’re overwhelmed and not sure where to begin, you’ll find all the answers in our full VPN guide.

The 2021 season featured 17 games during the course of an 18 week regular season. There was one unfortunate exception to this was the Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills Monday Night Football game during week 17. The game was canceled after Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest. Thankfully, Hamlin survived and is on the mend.

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The 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.

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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.

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Which Channels Carry the NFL Playoffs?

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 Sports gets to broadcast two games in primetime during the wild card round and one during the divisional round. These games are generally the ones that are 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.

Philadelphia Eagles Houston Texans
Cropped from Football Professional by KeithJJ under Pixabay License.

Best Streaming Services to Watch the NFL Playoffs

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

Get the NFL Postseason on FuboTV

fubotv logo

The FuboTV Pro package is $74.99/mo and comes with NBC, CBS, Fox, and ESPN — everything you need to watch every game!

But there’s a lot more — over 130 live TV channels with a special focus on sports with CBS Sports Network, FS1, FS2, ESPN2, Galavision, Golf Channel, NFL Network, and a whole collection of channels from beIN Sports and TUDN.

All FuboTV plans come with a minimum of 1000 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 offers all the channels that air NFL games.

Watch NFL Playoff Games on 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 $74.99/mo. There are three other plans if you want more including your local regional sports networks (RSNs).

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

Our DIRECTV STREAM review has more details.

Get DIRECTV STREAM Free for 5 Days

How to See the NFL Playoffs With Hulu + Live TV

hulu logo

For $69.99/mo, you can get Hulu + Live TV. This service adds 85 live TV channels to the base Hulu on-demand plan with ESPN+ and Disney+. 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!

Sling TV Plans That Carry the NFL Playoffs

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 ($40.00/mo) includes NBC and Fox. Its Orange plan ($40.00/mo) comes with ESPN. You can get them both for $55.00/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 your local CBS affiliate.

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, as well as our guide to watching the Super Bowl on Sling.

Save 50% on Sling TV Now

Streaming NFL Playoff Games With Vidgo

vidgo logo

For $69.99/mo, Vidgo provides access to ABC, Fox, and ESPN. In total, you get 100+ channels, which includes NFL Network. (NFL RedZone is included with the Premium plan.) 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 Premium and Paramount+. Note also that only the Premium plan comes with a cloud DVR. Both plans 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 Streaming Services That Air NFL Postseason Games

There are other options for watching some of the live games of 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 for 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 $72.99/mo. It provides all the channels you’ll need to watch the NFL playoffs.
The New York Giants take the field against the Washington Football Team on October 18, 2020
The New York Giants take the field against the Washington Football Team on October 18, 2020 by All-Pro Reels under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Stream the Playoffs With 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+.

Stream the NFL Playoffs Outside the US

The NFL is popular all over the world. And in most countries, it’s even easier to watch than in the United States. Fans in most places can watch all the games with NFL Game Pass International. See our review for more details.

Fans in Canada can watch all the games with a subscription to DAZN. Our DAZN Canada review has all the details.

For those in China and other areas, see our NFL Playoff VPN guide.

Sign Up for a Free 7-Day Fubo Trial

Streaming Devices For Watching 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 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. Be sure to check out our deals page on ExpressVPN, NordVPN, SurfShark and PureVPN.

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 Premium.

FuboTV is our top pick for watching all of the NFL playoffs. Fubo allows you to try out its service free for 7 days.

Sign Up for a Free 7-Day Fubo Trial

Patrick Mahomes (#15), quarterback with the Kansas City Chiefs calling a play during a game against the Washington Football Team at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland on October 17, 2021.
QB Patrick Mahomes (#15) calling a play during a game against the Washington Football Team at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland on October 17, 2021, with #31 Damien Williams, #65 Trey Smith, and #52 Creed Humphrey by All-Pro Reels under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons


How can I watch the NFL playoffs for free?

Every game of the 2023 NFL playoffs airs on either ABC, CBS, Fox, or NBC. Each of these is a broadcast network with local affiliates. This means that in most areas, they can be watched for free via an over-the-air signal. All you have to do is set up a digital antenna and you will be watching the games in full high-definition. See our antenna guide for more information.

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.

Jacksonville Jaguars players #11 Marvin Jones, Jr. (WR), #16 Trevor Lawrence (QB), and #1 Travis Etienne, Jr. (RB) - Jaguars @ Washington Commanders, NFL Week 1 2022
Marvin Jones, Trevor Lawrence, and Travis Etienne (2022) by All-Pro Reels under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Flickr

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 January 23rd, 2023, the favorites to win the Super Bowl are roughly as follows. (It depends upon the exact handicapper and sports book. We are using FanDuel.)

  • Philadelphia Eagles (+230)
  • Cincinnati Bengals (+260)
  • Kansas City Chiefs (+270)
  • San Francisco 49ers (+320)

Here were the odds going into the divisional round (taken January 19th, 2023):

  • Kansas City Chiefs (+300)
  • Buffalo Bills (+330)
  • San Francisco 49ers (+450)
  • Philadelphia Eagles (+500)
  • Cincinnati Bengals (+750)
  • Dallas Cowboys (+850)
  • New York Giants (+2500)
  • Jacksonville Jaguars (+3300)

Before the season started, here were the odds:

  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)

Where can I watch regular season games?

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

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

Can I watch the NFL playoffs with a VPN?

A VPN is a great tool for cord cutters that allows them to watch games that are blacked out or otherwise geo-restricted. But it isn’t a streaming service itself. For complete information, wee our NFL Playoff VPN Guide. It will explain all that you need to know.

What were the results of the 2022-23 NFL playoff?

If all that made your head spin, we understand. Here is the playoff schedule with everything you need to know.

Super Wild Card Weekend

NFL Divisional Round

NFL Conference Championship

Super Bowl LVII

  • Sun Feb 12 : Super Bowl LVII — Philadelphia Eagles vs Kansas City Chiefs (Fox)

Ditch “Big Cable” Now – 3 Simple Steps to Cut the Cord

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  3. Supercharge your internet provider

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

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