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NFL Playoffs Online: When Are They & How to Watch Anywhere Without Cable

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The NFL is the most popular sport in the United States. And as of the 2021 season, you can only watch every game by streaming. Learn all 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 150+ well-selected channels. Fubo allows you to try out its service with a free trial.
  • 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.
  • Hulu + Live TV: This total entertainment streaming service provides a great on-demand selection and all the essential live TV channels with a 3-day free trial.

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 offers this TV channel/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 sports, movies, and TV you deserve. You need a VPN, like one of the following.

ExpressVPN

1. ExpressVPN: Established VPN provider in 105 countries. Smart DNS, a built-in ad-blocker, and unlimited bandwidth. Try it with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Surfshark

3. Surfshark: Top-notch VPN with unlimited devices. Save 86% on two-year plan.

If you’re overwhelmed and not sure where to begin, you’ll find all the answers in our full VPN guide.

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In each conference, 7 teams are selected to go to the playoffs. These are the winners of the 4 divisions and then the 3 other teams with the best record.

The top-seeded team in each conference gets a bye and doesn’t play the first week known as Wild Card Round. The other 6 teams play in 3 games with the weakest team playing the best team at home. And so on. It looks like this:

  • 7 Seed at 2 Seed
  • 6 Seed at 3 Seed
  • 5 Seed at 4 Seed

The three winners of this round plus the 1 Seed team then meet in the Divisional Round.

  • Lowest Seed at 1 Seed
  • Second Lowest Seed at Third Lowest Seed

The next weekend is the Conference Round, which determines the winner of each conference. And then there is the Super Bowl, two weeks later.

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

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Which Channels Carry the NFL Playoffs?

Playoff games featuring AFC teams are generally broadcast on CBS.

Playoff games featuring NFC games tend to be broadcast on Fox.

There are exceptions, like the Jan 10th, 2021 wildcard game between NFC teams the Saints and Bears which was broadcast on CBS.

Since the 2014-2015 season, ESPN/ABC has broadcast one playoff game each season – until the 2020-21 season, this was always the first game of the season. This year, ESPN is slotted to air the last wildcard game.

NBC Sports broadcasts two games in primetime during the wild card round and one during the divisional round. These are usually the games expected to bring in the highest ratings, regardless of which conference the teams play in.

Super Bowl LVIII will be broadcast on CBS and Univision (Spanish), scheduled for Feb 11, 2024, at Allegiant Stadium in Paradise, Nevada. It will also be streaming on Paramount+.

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 Fubo

fubotv logo

The Fubo (formerly FuboTV) Pro package is $79.99/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 Fubo 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 Fubo review.

Sign Up for a Free Fubo Trial

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

Watch NFL Playoff Games on 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 $79.99/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 $76.99/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 for 3 Days Free!

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 three 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

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 ($5.99/mo) way to watch all the games that air on CBS. It will also stream the Super Bowl this year and is a particularly good addition for people who are using Sling TV as their primary streaming service.
  • Peacock: Streams live coverage of any game that is broadcast on NBC. And it is only $5.99/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.

During the regular season, NFL+ is limited. But the playoffs are all nationally televised, so 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 their own streaming service (review).

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

Sign Up for a Free 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, as most platforms are supported.

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 them all: 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.

Fubo, 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 above).

2024 NFL Playoff Schedule

See our NFL Games Guide for the complete schedule of the 2024 NFL playoffs and the teams as they are known. But briefly, here is a list of the upcoming games.

Wild Card Round

  • Sat Jan 13 : Cleveland Browns (14) at Houston Texans (45) (NBC/Peacock)
  • Sat Jan 13 : Miami Dolphins (7) at Kansas City Chiefs (26) (Peacock)
  • Sun Jan 14 : Green Bay Packers (48) at Dallas Cowboys (32) (Fox)
  • Sun Jan 14 : Los Angeles Rams (23) at Detroit Lions (24) (NBC/Peacock)
  • Mon Jan 15 : Pittsburgh Steelers (17) at Buffalo Bills (31) (CBS/Paramount+)
  • Mon Jan 15 : Philadelphia Eagles (9) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (32) (ABC/ESPN/ESPN2/ESPN+)

Divisional Round

  • Sat Jan 20 : Houston Texans (10) at Baltimore Ravens (34) (ABC/ESPN)
  • Sat Jan 20 : Green Bay Packers (21) at San Francisco 49ers (24) (Fox)
  • Sun Jan 21 : Tampa Bay Buccaneers (23) at Detroit Lions (31) (NBC)
  • Sun Jan 21 : Kansas City Chiefs (27) at Buffalo Bills (24) (CBS)

Conference Round

Super Bowl LVIII

  • Sun Feb 11 : Super Bowl LVIII Kansas City Chiefs vs San Francisco 49ers (CBS)

Wrapping Up

The NFL playoffs may be the most popular sporting event in the United States. Football games usually draw millions of viewers, regardless of who’s playing, what time they’re aired, or which network they appear on.

NFL post-season contests will appear on NBC, CBS, Fox, and ESPN. They will also be simulcast on other stations and streaming platforms such as Paramount+ and Peacock Premium.

Fubo is our top pick for watching all of the NFL playoffs. Fubo allows you to try out its service with a free trial.

Sign Up for a Free 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

FAQs

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 LVII shake out?

Super Bowl games are often disappointments. But that wasn’t the case last year, as the Eagles and Chiefs proved to be well-matched.

By halftime, the Eagles were up 24-14, but the Chiefs rallied in the second half to win the game with a final score of 38-35.

The total of 73 points scored made Super Bowl LVII the third-highest-scoring Super Bowl game in history. And the Eagles’ 35 points were the most that have ever been scored by the Super Bowl losing team.

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 each 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 each 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.

What other NFL playoff games are available?

The following guides provide details on watching the NFL playoffs:

Which teams are betting favorites to win the Super Bowl?

As of December 23, 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.)

  • San Francisco 49ers (+220)
  • Baltimore Ravens (+550)
  • Kansas City Chiefs (+700)
  • Philadelphia Eagles (+800)
  • Dallas Cowboys (+1000)
  • Buffalo Bills (+1200)
  • Detroit Lions (+2000)
  • Jacksonville Jaguars (+2900)
  • Cleveland Browns (+5500)

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 as it allows you to watch games that are blacked out or otherwise geo-restricted.

But it isn’t a streaming service itself. For complete information, see our NFL Playoff VPN Guide, which will explain all you need to know.

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

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 (35) vs Kansas City Chiefs (38) (Fox)

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