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How to Watch Out-of-Market NFL Games With a VPN

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NFL broadcasting is set up so that games on Sunday afternoon occur at the same time as others. And since the games are broadcast regionally by CBS and Fox affiliates, fans are usually out of luck when it comes to watching games that feature teams outside the area.

In a hurry? You can use a VPN to make out-of-market NFL games in-market to you. These VPNs are our top picks for streaming:

Your local networks will show your local team’s games, because that’s what the most people in your area will want to see. But that’s not necessarily what you want to see.

Say you’re a Falcons fan living in New York. Most of the time, the only chance you’ll have to see the Falcs play is if they’re up against the Giants or the Jets — or when they happen to be playing a nationally-televised primetime game.

Unless you have a VPN.

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. As the name implies, it first and foremost is a service designed to protect your privacy. One of the most common uses of a VPN is to change your virtual location — where the internet thinks you are — to somewhere else in the country (or the world). This can allow you to avoid game blackouts in your area.

Using a VPN in a Nutshell

We won’t get into all the technical details here. If you want those, we have plenty in our in-depth guide to VPNs. But basically, a VPN provides an extra layer of security while hiding your computer’s real location. They sound intimidating to use, but they’re actually really simple.

Here is the process to live stream out-of-market NFL games with a VPN:

  1. Choose a VPN that fits your needs and budget. There are a lot of good ones on the market, but we all use ExpressVPN.
  2. Set up your account and download the VPN app on your devices.
  3. Figure out the location you can live stream the game from.
  4. Connect with your VPN through the location and stream the game.

Be Careful With VPNs

There are a couple of things to keep in mind when using a VPN. The most important is that some streaming services will not allow you to use one. Netflix is well known for monitoring them. There’s nothing threatening about this, but the company is very careful about licensing and user’s in different locations may not have rights to see some content.

But every streaming service tracks VPNs to one extent or another. They all have licensing issues to manage. The main thing is to make sure that your use of a VPN is in accordance with the Terms of Service (ToS) and End User License Agreements (EULA) of your streaming service.

Also, remember that VPNs are not a free ride. You still need to pay for the right to watch NFL games. Just because a VPN allows you to stream from Atlanta doesn’t allow you to live stream Falcons games. You still need a streaming service.

Sign Up for ExpressVPN

Using a VPN to Live Stream NFL Out-of-Market Games

Again, if you’re not particularly tech-savvy, this all probably sounds overwhelming. So let’s take each of the “four easy steps” above and break them down in the context of watching an out-of-market football game.

1. Choosing a VPN

We’ve got a whole page on VPNs and what the differences are. Short version: we generally recommend ExpressVPN, but there are other perfectly good VPNs that may suit you better — especially for NFL viewing.

If you’re choosing a VPN for security or privacy in addition to the ability to live stream out-of-market games, you should carefully consider each VPN’s features and pricing. 

Critical factors that affect your decision (we get into both below):

  • Does the VPN support your device? Is there an acceptable work-around if it doesn’t? Most, like Fire TV, allow you to stream through an integrated browser as a last resort.
  • Does the VPN have a server in or near the team you want to follow? For instance, if you’re a Detroit Lions fan living outside the Motor City, neither ExpressVPN (Black Friday deals) or NordVPN (Black Friday deals) have a server in Detroit. But SurfShark does (Black Friday deals).

All of the VPNs compared on our page meet industry standard requirements for encryption and other security features. Most are relatively inexpensive month-to-month. But several have tiers of service with increasing features and access to servers. 

2. Setting Up Your VPN

To set up your VPN on your computer or as a browser extension is pretty easy — just download the app and follow the setup instructions, or install the browser extension from your browser’s app store.

Most services allow you to watch on pretty much all of the streaming devices that are in use today. And that’s also true of VPNs, but not as true. Roku devices generally do not allow you to install VPNs directly. We have a complete list of devices and the VPNs that support each.

If you live stream on your computer, mobile device, or TV device that you’re used to installing apps on, then you’re done. If you have a Chromecast or a Vizio Smartcast, or you use Apple AirPlay, you’re also done. 

However, if you want to live stream the game directly on your smart TV or TV device, that’s a bit trickier. You’ll need to pick a VPN that supports your device. ExpressVPN, for example, supports Android TV and Apple TV, but not Amazon Fire TV. We have a complete comparison on our VPN page.

The alternative is to install the VPN directly on your router, so it covers your entire wifi network, not just a single device. Details on this are beyond the scope of this article, but the process is surprisingly straightforward if you know how to access your router’s user interface.

3. Finding a Streaming Location

This is where your favorite team (or teams) come into play. If you follow the Giants, Jets, Chargers, Rams, Commanders, or Bears, you should be fine with any of the VPNs that support your device, because NY, LA, DC, and Chicago are nearly universally represented in US server lists.

However, if you follow the Packers, Vikings, Colts, Bengals, or Browns, you may have a rougher time. You’ll still be able to find the games, you’ll just have to be a bit more creative.

For example, if the Colts are playing the Cowboys, you can connect to a server in Dallas to live stream the game. And the Packers, despite coming from a relatively small town, are a very popular team with a wide and loyal fan base, so their games are broadcast in more places.

You can use the table below to help you find ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Surfshark servers that are close to various NFL teams.

TeamExpressVPNNordVPNSurfshark
Arizona CardinalsPhoenixPhoenixPhoenix
Atlanta FalconsAtlantaAtlantaAtlanta
Baltimore RavensWashington DC
Buffalo BillsBuffaloBuffalo
Carolina PanthersCharlotteCharlotte
Chicago BearsChicagoChicagoChicago
Cincinnati Bengals
Cleveland Browns
Dallas CowboysDallasDallasDallas
Denver BroncosDenverDenverDenver
Detroit LionsDetroit
Green Bay Packers
Houston TexansHouston
Indianapolis Colts
Jacksonville Jaguars
Kansas City ChiefsKansas CityKansas City
Las Vegas RaidersLas Vegas
Los Angeles ChargersLos AngelesLos AngelesLos Angeles
Los Angeles RamsLos AngelesLos AngelesLos Angeles
Miami DolphinsMiamiMiamiMiami
Minnesota Vikings
New England Patriots
New Orleans Saints
New York GiantsNew YorkNew YorkNew York
New York JetsNew YorkNew YorkNew York
Philadelphia Eagles
Pittsburgh Steelers
San Francisco 49ersSan FranciscoSan FranciscoSan Francisco
Seattle SeahawksSeattleSeattleSeattle
Tampa Bay BuccaneersTampaTampa
Tennessee Titans
Washington CommandersWashington DC

4. Using Your VPN

Once it’s installed, VPNs are a breeze. Most have a list of locations or a map (or both). You can use this to search by city or country name.

Many VPNs have a smart connect function that allows you to select a country, region, or city to connect to. They then choose the least crowded, fastest server available. All of the most popular ones will walk you through the process with pop-up tips and suggestions.

Sign Up for ExpressVPN

Live TV Streaming Services to Use With VPNs

VPNs can be used to access content from all over the world. Since live TV streaming services offer all the channels you need to live stream the NFL games, fans are in luck — no matter where they are.

Out-of-market NFL games are shown on CBS or Fox. Since they only show local games, VPNs allow you to live stream other games that are not broadcast in your local area.

Here are streaming services that will offer you the best coverage of NFL games around the nation:

  • FuboTV: It is well known for its wide sports coverage offering 35+ sports channels out of the 110+ channels in its Pro plan ($69.99/mo). The plan includes CBS and Fox. (FuboTV review)
  • Sling TV: It is cheaper than the others at $40.00/mo but it only offers Fox (no CBS) in its Sling Blue package in select markets. (Sling TV review)
  • DIRECTV STREAM: The Entertainment package goes for $69.99/mo and it offers all the local network affiliates ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC. (DIRECTV STREAM review)
  • Hulu+ Live TV: With 85+ live channels, Hulu Live has an excellent local channel lineup including Fox and CBS. It also includes ESPN+ and Disney+. The base package is $69.99/mo. (Hulu + Live TV review)
  • Vidgo: Offers 100+ channels including Fox (but not CBS) for $59.95/mo. (Vidgo review)
  • YouTube TV: It is similar to Hulu Live offering 85+ channels with all the local channels. It has only one package ($64.99/mo) which gives you access to CBS and Fox.

Out-of-Market NFL Games Without VPNs

Other than streaming services, you can watch out-of-market NFL games with varying success through NFL Sunday Ticket, NFL+ Premium, and NFL Redzone.

NFL Sunday Ticket

NFL Sunday Ticket is an NFL fan’s jackpot. It costs a bit less than $300 for the entire NFL season or $50 for a month. And it is worth every penny! This season, it is available through DIRECTV Satellite. It fills in all of those afternoon classics that your local networks don’t air, so you can what the games you want rather than just what’s on.

Fans in most countries outside the US can get the same thing and more with NFL Game Pass Intl. Check out our review.

See our NFL Sunday Ticket review.

NFL+

NFL+ is an in-market service. It allows you to live stream (Android and iOS mobile devices only) your local NFL games live. It also includes Prime Time games. So why are we mentioning it? Two words: NFL+ Premium.

NFL+ Premium is $9.99/mo. There’s also a 7-day free trial. And in addition to those in-market games, it provides replays of all the games. So if you can wait until the game is over, you are golden.

You can also live stream NFL game replays in a condensed version that does not include the breaks and commercials. And you aren’t limited to this season’s games. Its library goes back to 2009 and includes more than just regular season games. You also get all preseason and playoff games — including the Super Bowl.

This is an excellent way for avid sports fans to watch every single play and even analyze the games with the coaches film feature.

Our NFL+ review has more information.

NFL RedZone

NFL RedZone is part of the NFL Network. It streamlines the process of watching all the Sunday afternoon games that occur at the same time. This channel makes it easy for fans who want all their football fix in one place.

And it is available through several streaming services: FuboTV ($80.98/mo), Sling TV ($46/mo), Hulu + Live TV ($79.98/mo), Vidgo ($79.95/mo) and YouTube TV ($75.98/mo) all offer NFL Redzone as add-ons or premium packages.

See our complete NFL RedZone review.

Sign Up for ExpressVPN

Wrapping Up

So if you live in Boston but you left your heart in San Francisco, don’t despair. With the help of a VPN, you can still regularly tune into the 49ers. Yes, it’s a bit more work, but when you catch that big play of the year (or decade!) live, it’ll all be worth it. 

Don’t let accidents of geography keep you from your team of choice. Install a VPN and never have to worry about out-of-market games again!

More Info on NFL Without Cable

If you still have questions, these resources should help:

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

  1. Pick the right streaming service
  2. Get the content you deserve with the best VPN.
  3. Supercharge your internet provider

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

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