Whether your team makes the cut or not, the NFL playoffs make for an incredibly entertaining week of games, some of the best pro football has to offer. And, if your team did make the cut, livestreaming the NFL playoffs is absolutely necessary. It’s time to find out who’s going to make it to the AFC and NFC Championship games.
Don’t panic fellow cord-cutter—we’ll make sure you know the absolute best way to watch the NFL playoffs online. We can’t, however, guarantee you’re going to like the result of the game.
Just so we’re on the same page, here’s a schedule of the upcoming playoff games, including the wild card matchups:
2018 NFL Playoffs Live Stream Schedule
Wild Card Weekend
Saturday, Jan. 6
AFC: (5) Tennessee Titans (9-7) at (4) Kansas City Chiefs (10-6), 4:35 p.m. ET (ESPN/ABC)
NFC: (6) Atlanta Falcons (10-6) at (3) Los Angeles Rams (11-5), 8:15 p.m. ET (NBC)
Sunday, Jan. 7
AFC: (6) Buffalo Bills (9-7) at (3) Jacksonville Jaguars (10-6), 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
NFC: (5) Carolina Panthers (11-5) at (4) New Orleans Saints (11-5), 4:40 p.m. ET (Fox)
Saturday, Jan. 13
NFC: (6) Atlanta Falcons at (1) Philadelphia Eagles (13-3), 4:35 p.m. ET (NBC)
AFC: (5) Tennessee Titans at (1) New England Patriots (13-3), 8:15 p.m. ET (CBS)
Sunday, Jan. 14
AFC: (3) Jacksonville Jaguars at (2) Pittsburgh Steelers (13-3), 1:05 p.m. ET (CBS)
NFC: (4) New Orleans Saints at (2) Minnesota Vikings (13-3), 4:40 p.m. ET (Fox)
AFC Championship Game: (3) Jacksonville Jaguars at (1) New England Patriots, 3:05 p.m. ET (CBS)
NFC Championship Game: (2) Minnesota Vikings at (1) Philadelphia Eagles, 6:40 p.m. ET (Fox)
Super Bowl LII (Minneapolis)
New England Patriots vs. Philadelphia Eagles at U.S. Bank Stadium, 6:30 p.m. ET (NBC)
The NFL playoffs stream on a lot of different channels, so you’re going to need a pretty all-encompassing streaming service.
To make sure you can livestream the NFL playoffs, you’ll need access to the following channels:
Here’s a breakdown of channel coverage from the best streaming services to watch the NFL playoffs online:
|Playstation Vue||Hulu Live TV||DIRECTV NOW||Sling TV||fuboTV|
|Free Trial||Free Trial||Free Trial||Free Trial||Free Trial|
|ABC||Yes (24 markets)||Yes (33 markets)||Yes (43 markets)||Yes (8 markets)||No|
|CBS||Yes (109 markets)||Yes (95 markets)||Yes (15 markets)||No||Yes (14 markets)|
|FOX||Yes (34 markets)||Yes (62 markets)||Yes (51 markets)||Yes (16 markets)||Yes (66 markets)|
|NBC||Yes (23 markets)||Yes (27 markets)||Yes (26 markets)||Yes (12 markets)||Yes (12 markets)|
#1 PlayStation Vue: The best overall package for livestreaming the NFL playoffs
What we like about it: A really nice streaming service
Drawbacks: A little pricey
Who it’s perfect for: Fans who want the smoothest stream
PlayStation Vue takes the number-one spot on our list of recommended streaming services to watch the NFL playoffs online. Long story short: it’s a quality streaming service with lots of channel channel availbility. You can try it out and watch the NFL playoffs live online for free with a PlayStation Vue 5-day trial.
Pricing and plans for PlayStation Vue
Thankfully, all the channels we need to watch the NFL playoffs online are in the most inexpensive PlayStation Vue plan—the Access package. It costs $39.99 a month and includes ABC, CBS, ESPN, FOX, and NBC, along with more than 45 other channels worth checking out. But remember that just because a streaming service says it carries local channels doesn’t mean you can stream them in your area. Before you decide on anything, make sure to enter your ZIP code by clicking the pin button next to the Start Free Trial button.
If you’re the type of person who wants the most channel variety possible, you can always upgrade your channel package, too. You can try a 5-day free trial with any package, so you can try out the Ultra package, for example, before you start paying for it. The prices get pretty expensive as you go up in packages, but if your heart tells you to get more channels, we won’t judge.
Watching the NFL playoffs on PlayStation Vue
If you’re looking for the most consistently smooth stream, we’d strongly recommend PlayStation Vue for your NFL playoffs online marathon.
We recently did a little digging to find out what set PlayStation Vue’s streaming quality so far above the competition’s, and we discovered the secret is its streaming capacity. Out of all livestreaming services, PlayStation Vue can handle the most streamers at one time, meaning its connection doesn’t get weighed down by large numbers of viewers like other services’ do.
For example, if you tuned in to the World Series with Hulu Live TV, you might have noticed the connection was pretty glitchy. That’s because the system couldn’t handle so many users tuning in at once. Of course, that doesn’t mean we’re guaranteeing a crystal-clear stream for everyone using PlayStation Vue, but the service should give you the best overall experience.
Another one of our favorite things about PlayStation Vue is its unlimited cloud DVR storage. You can literally record as many shows as you want without worrying about filling up your DVR. There is a catch, however—your recorded content gets deleted after 28 days. Make sure to keep up with your recordings, or you’ll be in for a nasty surprise when you go to re-watch an epic wild card game.
For more specifics on PlayStation Vue, check out our in-depth review.
PlayStation Vue device compatibility
Keep in mind that streaming services allow you to watch on the go, so you could even watch the NFL playoffs live on your iPhone, iPad, or Android device.
#2 Hulu with Live TV: Stream the NFL playoffs and enjoy tons of on-demand content
What we like about it: Tons of on-demand content to enjoy
Drawbacks: No channel upgrades
Who it’s perfect for: Fans who enjoy some binge-watching
Pricing and plans for Hulu with Live TV
Good news—Hulu with Live TV offers only one channel package to choose from on Hulu, so that helps eliminate some stress. Its channel selection comes with ABC, CBS, ESPN, FOX, and NBC, along with 45 other channels for $39.99 a month. Hulu with Live TV also offers the most local channel affiliates, barely edging out PlayStation Vue.
Our favorite thing about Hulu with Live TV, though, is its incredible on-demand content. With your subscription, you get access to Hulu’s entire streaming library, which means you can binge-watch your favorite season of Mad Men after watching the NFL playoffs online.
There are a few upgrade options with Hulu with Live TV, like adding HBO for $14.99 a month, Cinemax for $9.99 a month, or Showtime for $8.99 a month. Yeah, those aren’t really amazing deals, especially compared to DIRECTV NOW, but it’s nice knowing you can add those channels to the service if you want them.
If you’re not a fan of commercials, you can also upgrade to a commercial-free plan for $43.99 a month instead of $39.99 a month. Keep in mind that removes commercials from only on-demand content.
Watching the NFL on Hulu with Live TV
If we’re talking about on-demand streaming, Hulu’s quality couldn’t be better—but the livestreaming leaves something to be desired.
Occasionally while we were testing the service, a high-traffic show like Monday Night Football would get stuck buffering for a few seconds. The stream would get a little choppy afterward, too. That wasn’t always the case, of course, but it happened enough times for us to feel the need to mention it here. That being said, watching shows off of primetime went extremely well. From our experience, we’d say aim for an internet speed of at least 5 Mbps per second for a quality stream. Your mileage can vary when it comes to streaming services, sometimes it can look perfect, and other times, for reasons out of your control, it will look fuzzy.
You’ll be happy to know your subscription comes with 50 hours of cloud DVR storage. You won’t need to worry about your recorded content being deleted after a certain time either, which means you can replay especially epic games whenever you want. And if you somehow manage to max out your storage hours, don’t forget you have Hulu’s on-demand streaming library just waiting for you with classics like Seinfeld and new shows like The Handmaid’s Tale.
Check out our Hulu with Live TV review for more in-depth details.
Hulu with Live TV device compatibility
You can stream the NFL playoffs on Hulu with Live TV using pretty much any device, except for PlayStation consoles.
#3 DIRECTV NOW: Livestream the NFL playoffs and enjoy tons of other channels
What we like about it: The cheapest price per channel out there
Drawbacks: Not much CBS coverage
Who it’s perfect for: Fans looking for channel variety
If you’re the type of streamer that cares about channel variety more than anything, DIRECTV NOW will make for a good fit. You can watch the NFL playoffs for free and try out DIRECTV NOW with a 7-day trial.
Pricing and plans for DIRECTV NOW
Fortunately, DIRECTV NOW’s cheapest package—the Live a Little option for $35 a month—offers all the channels you’ll need to watch the NFL playoffs. You’ll like this part: $35 a month gets you over 60 channels. You won’t find a cheaper price per channel with any other streaming service, and along with local channels like NBC and ABC, you’ll get other awesome choices like AMC, FX, and TNT.
If you ever feel like upgrading your channel package, the price per channel gets cheaper with every upgrade. You can work your way up to the Gotta Have It package with more than 120 channels for $70 a month. At that point, you’ve crossed the threshold into being as expensive as cable, so we generally recommend staying below that. But don’t let us stop you if you know it’s what you want.
Watching the NFL playoffs on DIRECTV NOW
This is where DIRECTV NOW gets a little tricky. Besides not having much CBS coverage, our least favorite thing about DIRECTV NOW is the lack of cloud DVR. Now, you may be the type of fan that has no problem watching the NFL playoffs live, but for some viewers, suffering through commercials can be a hard task. We’ve heard DIRECTV NOW will soon add cloud DVR to its service, but that likely won’t occur before the playoffs.
In terms of streaming quality, DIRECTV NOW has a few quirks, but overall it offers a decent stream. Let’s get the quirks out of the way first—sometimes you’ll run into problems with the interface. For example, if you scroll through the guide too quickly, the system will glitch out and you’ll need to restart from the top. Also, if you switch between inputs while livestreaming something, the system will glitch out, requiring yet another restart.
You may not experience these problems, but as reviewers, we test everything out, so we’re more likely to make weird stuff happen. As long as you’re just sitting and enjoying the stream, DIRECTV NOW should be reasonably solid.
If you want to learn more about DIRECTV NOW, check out our review.
DIRECTV NOW device compatibility
Most devices are compatible with DIRECTV NOW, so you shouldn’t have a problem finding a way to stream the NFL playoffs.
#4 Sling TV: Easy to stream ESPN, but local channels can be a struggle
What we like about it: Cheapest way to stream ESPN
Drawbacks: Weak local channel coverage
Who it’s perfect for: Fans looking for the cheapest option
Sling TV may not shine when it comes to local channel coverage, but it overcomes the downsides by offering super cheap, almost à la carte channel packages. You can try out Sling TV and watch the NFL playoffs for free with a 7-day trial.
Prices and plans for Sling TV
Sling TV channels are split in two different packages, Sling Orange for $20 per month and Sling Blue for $25 per month. In case you’re curious, yes, those prices are significantly cheaper than PlayStation Vue ($40 a month). The catch, as you might have guessed, is that the channel offerings aren’t quite as high.
It’s all about deciding what you need and what you can live without. For example, the Sling Orange package offers ESPN, but it doesn’t have AMC, CBS, FOX, or NBC local channels. So, as long as you are willing to sacrifice a chunk of the NFL playoffs, you’ll have to pay only $20 a month.
For those of you who don’t want to sacrifice any of the NFL playoffs, you can always opt into a Sling Orange + Sling Blue combo package for $40 a month.. That way you can get your ESPNs as well as ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC.
But before you do, we have to emphasize again that Sling TV doesn’t offer much in the way of local channel coverage. Until Sling TV acquires more streaming rights in markets across the country, we recommend going with a different streaming service to watch the NFL playoffs online.
Watching the NFL playoffs on Sling TV
After testing Sling TV for several hours, we can confirm that it offers a very smooth stream. Of course, we encountered the same problems you’ll find with any streaming service, where the picture looked fuzzy for a moment or two before correcting itself. Unfortunately, until internet speeds become lightning quick, we’ll have to deal with that occasional annoyance for a little while longer. Other than that, Sling TV looked and sounded great the majority of the time.
We always prefer it when features come built in to your subscription, but with Sling TV, you have to pay $5 a month for 50 hours of cloud DVR storage. If you commit to only Sling Orange, though, paying an extra $5 a month is still cheaper than the other streaming options.
If you have any more questions about Sling TV, you’ll probably find the answer in our review.
Sling TV device compatibility
If you have any streaming device, chances are you’ll have no problem watching the NFL playoffs with Sling TV.
#5 fuboTV: Missing some channels but offers great FOX coverage
fuboTV is missing some critical channels when it comes to watching the NFL playoffs online, but it offers strong local channel coverage that could redeem it for some people.
Price and plans for fuboTV
Assuming you’re looking for American channels, fuboTV offers only one package. And there’s good news for new subscribers to fuboTV—you get a discounted rate of $19.99 a month for the first two months. After that, the price jumps to $39.99 a month going forward. Yeah, we wish the discounted price was the official one, too. But sometimes a free trial can be too short a time to figure out if you really want a service, so we say at least take advantage of the cheaper two months to figure out if fuboTV is a good fit for you.
One of the most polarizing things about fuboTV is its channel offerings. You’ll get some of the usual suspects, like History channel, Syfy, and FX, but you’ll miss out on important staples like ABC, ESPN, and TNT. fuboTV tries to make up for it by offering channels that are harder to find, like BeIn Sports, the Olympic Channel, FOX Soccer Plus, and others. Whether or not you like these channels is what makes or breaks fuboTV.
Watching the NFL playoffs on fuboTV
Let’s cut to the chase: even with a high-speed internet connection, you’ll occasionally run into frame dips with fuboTV. That being said, we still have a lot of confidence in what fuboTV will eventually become. It doesn’t have the same resources as a PlayStation Vue, but the stream quality has managed to steadily improve since the company started just a few years ago. At this rate, fuboTV could be the best streaming service within a few more years. But until fuboTV catches up with the competition, it won’t quite make the top of our recommendation list.
However, if you are tempted by fuboTV’s unique channel offerings, you won’t be making a bad decision. As opposed to DIRECTV NOW, fuboTV comes with 30 hours of cloud DVR built in to your subscription. You also get two simultaneous streams, which means you can share a subscription with a friend and split the costs.
For more info on fuboTV, check out our review.
fuboTV device compatibility
You can stream the NFL playoffs with fuboTV on the majority of devices.
#6 Wild card: Antenna
Since most of these games air on local channels, definitely consider getting an antenna. If you do, you can ignore whether or not you get local channels with your streaming service (which means you could opt for a cheap one, like Sling TV) and set an antenna in a clandestine spot near your television set. Granted, antennas still can’t guarantee you’ll get the channels you want, but it’s more likely than a streaming service to hook you up with local channels at the moment.
You might feel a little overwhelmed just typing in “antenna” in Amazon, so we went ahead and tested out a few different options and landed on the Mohu Leaf HD Antenna. The picture quality looked great, and we were able to stream all our local channels without a problem. If you are in the market for an antenna, we recommend you check out our guide to digital antennas.
In addition, you can pair the antenna with a DVR device. The DVD will let you rewind, record, fast-forward, and pause any live TV you watch on your antenna. This would be an awesome setup during the NFL playoffs, especially if you miss any big plays and want to re-watch any of the action. Check out our full DVR comparison guide to learn more.
Use CBS All Access to Watch NFL Playoffs Online (select games)
CBS All Access is a streaming service designed for fans of CBS’ hit programming. It used to be just for TV shows, but now, you can use it to watch NFL Playoff games online, as well! All games that are set to air on CBS will now also air on CBS All Access, and you can watch these games – and lots more – for just $5.99 a month.
In addition to NFL Playoff game live stream, you’ll be able to enjoy over 8,500 episodes of hit CBS shows on-demand, whenever you want! There’s even a free 7-day trial available – and you can also check out our CBS All Access review to learn more.
Subscribe To NFL Game Pass To Watch NFL Playoff Games On-Demand
This season, the NFL released its highly anticipated Game Pass service in the United States. The streaming service lets subscribers view tons of on-demand games including all 256 games of this regular season and games from the 2009-2015 season, including Super Bowls. Live audio is actually available for all of the regular season games during the year. During the playoffs, you can watch all of the NFL Playoff games on-demand after they air this season. So, you won’t be able to watch a football playoffs live stream, but you can catch the games after they air. A year subscription costs $99.99 for NFL Game Pass, but right now you can get the rest of the season for just $49.99. Check out our full review for details, Also, there is currently a free 7-day trial.
For NFL fans outside of the United States, there is an additional NFL Game Pass service. The NFL Game Pass international version provides all of the same features as the domestic version, but also lets you live stream NFL Playoff Games. It’s a great option for fans who cannot easily watch NFL Playoff games online. During the regular season, subscribers can actually live stream all of the games. Learn more about Game Pass International here.
What’s your best way to watch the NFL Playoffs Online?
Now that we’ve laid out your options, you’ve got a choice to make. Our rankings were based around the value of the streaming service, and hopefully that makes things easier for you. But what matters most is that you enjoy watching the NFL playoffs online, including a free Super Bowl live stream. If you want to learn more about how to watch NFL games without cable, check out our detailed guide on how to watch the NFL online.
We always want to hear about your experiences, so please let us know in the comments what option you went with and what you think about it so far.