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NFL Network Live Stream: Watch NFL Network Online Without Cable

Find out where to watch the NFL Network without pulling your hair out.

Best Streaming Providers for NFL Network



CHOICE Package

New DIRECTV customers get NFL SUNDAY TICKET for free for one year, so DIRECTV is the go-to TV provider for the 2018 NFL season.
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Core Package

PlayStation Vue offers reliability and solid sports offerings—perfect for football fans looking to cut the cord.
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Sling TV offers the cheapest NFL Network stream around, so it’s great for cord-cutters on a budget.
Free Trial

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The NFL Network is the best place to find in-depth pro football analysis, Thursday night NFL games, and preseason coverage, not to mention college, high school, Canadian, and Arena football.

But who carries the NFL Network, and how much does the NFL Network cost? We’ve got you covered.

Best ways to get the NFL Network

Our top three picks for watching the NFL Network this season are DIRECTV, PlayStation Vue, and Sling TV.

DIRECTV’s NFL SUNDAY TICKET package is the reason it gets our number-one pick. NFL SUNDAY TICKET gets you unparalleled access to every out-of-market NFL game, not to mention studio shows like Fantasy Football Live.

Even if we don’t love the contracts, rate hikes, and other drawbacks that come with cable service, you won’t find football coverage this comprehensive anywhere else..

For cord-cutters who still want access to all the Thursday night games, PlayStation Vue is a good pick. PS Vue is ultra-reliable, and its Core package offers the NFL Network and tons of other sports channels for a decent price, even if it doesn’t carry as much NFL content as DIRECTV.

Finally, Sling TV is undeniably the cheapest way to stream the NFL Network, though it does have some drawbacks. Specifically, the service can be unreliable on a slow internet connection, and we don’t love the way it structures its packages.

Want more info? You got it. Below, we analyze how each service stacks up.

#1 DIRECTV: The most comprehensive NFL coverage

Best Choice

CHOICE Package

185+ channels
*After $5 AutoPay/paperless bill discount.
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What we like: Reliability and high-quality picture

Drawbacks: Contracts and rate hikes

Who it’s perfect for: NFL fans who want the best football-watching experience

If you’re the type of person who needs the NFL Network, you’re probably also interested in maxing out your NFL coverage. And there’s no better way to do that than with DIRECTV’s NFL SUNDAY TICKET.

Normally, you’re limited to watching whichever NFL games air on the local CBS and FOX stations in your market. But with NFL SUNDAY TICKET, you can watch every out-of-market Sunday game (barring the occasional blackout). The best part? The first season is free for CHOICE™ All Included subscribers and above.

Real talk, though: there’s a reason we don’t recommend a lot of cable providers. With DIRECTV, you have to sign a two-year contract, and your price more than doubles after just 12 months.

You also have to deal with equipment rentals and set-up fees, so if that’s not your jam, you may want to move along to our number-two and number-three picks, PlayStation Vue and Sling TV.

DIRECTV pricing

While a lot of people are drawn in by the $35-per-month DIRECTV SELECT™ package, you have to sign up for the more expensive CHOICE™ package to get the NFL Network.

The CHOICE™ package runs at $45 per month, assuming you sign up for autopay and paperless billing (otherwise, it’s $50 per month). Then you have to pay another $5 monthly fee for regional sports channels. Even with the autopay discount, that’s still a minimum of $50 per month plus taxes—and that’s before you add equipment rental fees.

Keep in mind the $50-per-month price is only for the first 12 months, too. After that, it goes up to nearly $110 monthly.

That’s pretty steep, but if you’re dead set on getting the best possible access to regular season NFL games, it’s probably worth the price.

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Score some bonus cash with DIRECTV

Right now, if you sign up for a DIRECTV television package, you can get some sweet perks. We’re talking a $100 AT&T Rewards Card (basically a debit card you can use on just about anything). Dinner’s on you.

What channel is the NFL Network on DIRECTV? What is it like to watch it with DIRECTV?

When you tune in to the NFL Network on DIRECTV TV (channel 212), the first thing you notice is how smooth and clear the picture is.

DIRECTV is usually pretty reliable, so you don’t have to worry about your signal cutting out on you just as Aaron Rodgers throws a game-winning Hail Mary pass. Just be wary of obstructions (like trees or your neighbor’s house) and expect a few signal slip-ups during bad weather.

The best part about watching football with DIRECTV is the great playback features. Unlike streaming services, DIRECTV doesn’t make you guess whether you’ll be able to pause a livestream mid-game. You can fast-forward, pause, and rewind to your heart’s content.


DIRECTV’s wired Genie Whole Home DVR is a pretty impressive piece of equipment, especially because of its 1 TB hard drive.

Translation: your Genie Whole Home DVR can record 40 or 50 football games (200 hours in HD) without breaking a sweat.

You can even upgrade to the wireless DVR and get up to 450 hours of HD storage. It costs an extra $99 up front, but it’s a great way to keep up with the NFL top 100 players of 2017—or 2018, for that matter.

The Genie Whole Home DVR is also free with your package, assuming you select the wired version of the Genie and you connect only one TV. If you want to go wireless or connect multiple TVs, though, it’ll cost you extra in monthly fees.

DIRECTV equipment and installation

DIRECTV is a satellite TV provider, so if you don’t already have a DIRECTV dish installed, you’ll need to get one. Fortunately, the installation itself is free.

Then you’ve got your equipment fees.

The first TV you connect is free, but every additional receiver costs an extra $7 a month. And if you choose wireless receivers, you’ll also have to pay a $99 fee up front to get the Genie server—but there are no additional fees for the server after that.

Of course, you can avoid all those fees if you opt to connect a single TV with a wired receiver. But just the idea of navigating all that red tape gives us the heebie-jeebies.

#2 PlayStation Vue: Solid streaming with no contract

Great Choice

Core Package

50+ Channels

This service is available on these devices

Free Trial

What we like: Reliable streams and affordable sports offerings

Drawbacks: Limited playback controls on live TV

Who it’s perfect for: Sports fans who want a decent replacement for cable

If you’re opposed to getting a new cable plan, it’s not the end of the world—you can still stream the NFL Network.

For that, we like PlayStation Vue. PlayStation Vue is extremely reliable, so your TV picture is smooth enough that you don’t have to squint to figure out if Odell Beckham got both feet in the endzone after his catch.

We also like all the sports offerings available with PlayStation Vue’s Core package. So if you’re the type of fan who wants more than just the NFL Network analysts’ commentary on the NFL draft, you’ve got plenty of options.

PlayStation Vue pricing

To get the NFL channel with PlayStation Vue, you’ll need to sign up for the Core package.

It costs $44.99 per month—not the cheapest option (that’s Sling TV), but not as expensive as DIRECTV either.

Can you watch the NFL Network online with PlayStation Vue?


PlayStation Vue is one of the most reliable streaming services on the market, so you get a smooth livestream with HD quality and almost no glitches.

PS Vue also offers a user-friendly interface, which makes it easy to look up the NFL Network preseason schedule. With the service’s intuitive channel guide, you can figure out what time the draft starts without having to stress about it.

Overall, it’s a great service if you want a reliable way to watch football without cable.

PlayStation Vue DVR

If you’re looking to stream the NFL Network free of commercials, PlayStation Vue’s DVR is just the thing.

PlayStation Vue comes with unlimited cloud DVR storage, so you can record as many games and shows as you want without filling up your DVR. The only service that can top it is YouTube TV, but YouTube TV doesn’t offer the NFL Network, so . . . .

The one downside to PlayStation Vue’s DVR? It automatically deletes your recordings after 28 days. That pretty much rules it out for anyone who wants to relive their favorite highlights after the season ends. But if you use your DVR just to skip commercial breaks, it’s a good fit.

PlayStation Vue device compatibility

Despite its name, PlayStation Vue actually is available on other devices (not just PlayStation consoles).

So if you’re looking to watch the NFL Network on your Roku device, don’t rule out PlayStation Vue.

In addition to all the devices listed above, you can also use your PlayStation Vue credentials to log in to the NFL Network app on any of your mobile devices.

That way, you can watch Thursday Night games from either your couch or your favorite date-night restaurant.

#3 Sling TV: The NFL Network for the lowest price

Also Great


44+ Channels

This service is available on these devices

Free Trial

What we like: Super affordable price

Drawbacks: Unreliable streams

Who it’s perfect for: NFL fans on a budget

If you’re looking for a way to livestream the NFL Network, Sling TV is the cheapest—even if it’s not our favorite way.

Sling TV is cost efficient, but it tends to be glitchy and slow, especially on slow internet connections.

But if you’ve got a fast internet plan and you want to save some cash every month, Sling TV is a solid way to watch the NFL Network top 100.

Sling TV pricing

In case we haven’t already mentioned it, Sling TV is the cheapest way to watch the NFL Network.

The NFL Network channel is included with the Sling Blue package, which costs $25 per month—$20 less than it costs with PlayStation Vue. That’s a pretty decent savings.

But there’s more to the story. While the Sling Blue package lets you watch the NFL Network cast as they cover Thursday night games, it does not include ESPN, which you need to watch Monday Night Football. For that, you’ve got to sign up for the Sling Orange + Blue package, which costs $40 per month.

So if you’re a diehard football fan who wants to get every game, you probably won’t save much with Sling TV.

Livestreaming the NFL Network on Sling TV

Sling TV has the NFL Network, sure. And you get a functional interface and channel guide, so you can easily look up the NFL Network schedule to see when NFL Fantasy Live starts. That makes it perfect for football fans who just want access to the couple of games per season that aren’t broadcast over the air or on Amazon Prime.

But Sling TV’s football-watching experience leaves a lot to be desired.

For starters, Sling TV is unreliable. Unless you’ve got a private, super-fast internet connection, you’ll probably deal with long buffering times, glitchy playback controls, and blurry picture.

But possibly the biggest drawback for football fans is the fact that Sling TV doesn’t offer CBS. CBS will broadcast the Super Bowl in 2019, so that’s a major gap in Sling TV’s football coverage.

Sling TV DVR

Sling TV’s DVR is less than stellar.

First of all, packages don’t include any DVR space, so if you want to record any NFL Network shows, you’ll need to pay an extra $5 per month for DVR service. And even then, you’ll get only 50 hours of recording space.

Sling TV’s lackluster DVR offering is especially disappointing considering most streaming services include at least a few hours of DVR space for free.

Besides, $5 a month for 50 hours of storage seems pretty steep considering fuboTV offers ten times the storage (500 hours) for $10 per month.

Sling TV device compatibility

Okay, we haven’t had a ton of nice things to say about Sling TV. But we’ll give it this: it sure is compatible with a lot of devices.

In fact, if you’ve already got a streaming device, there’s a good chance you can watch Sling TV without buying new equipment.


Ultimately, the best service for watching the NFL Network depends on your household, but we’re confident at least one of these three options will work for you.

Let us know in the comments whether you’ve tried DIRECTV, PlayStation Vue, or Sling TV and what your experience was like!

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