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The NFL's regular season is full of thrilling action, but even those fast-paced games pale in comparison to what comes next: the winner-take-all drama of the NFL playoffs. Fourteen teams will enter the expanded 2020 postseason, but only two will make it to the Super Bowl, and just one will get to lift the Lombardi Trophy. This is the kind of stuff that sports fans simply can't afford to miss, whether they have cable or not. But if you're both an NFL fan and a cord cutter, how can you catch every minute of the 2020-2021 NFL playoffs? Don't worry — the answers are below, and you'll have no trouble getting your hands on the NFL playoffs live stream before the next big game kicks off.
Here are a few of our favorite ways to stream the NFL playoffs:
The most effective way to watch the NFL playoffs without cable isn’t to track down online streams of each individual game. That’s a major pain, and it will likely lead you to some streams of questionable legality. The better way to enjoy the NFL playoffs without cable is to find a way to watch the channels airing the games without cable.
Which channels are the NFL playoffs on this year?
The NFL playoffs had always aired entirely on major broadcast networks, but things were a little different in 2021. We assume that will continue in 2022. You should still be able to get every game on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS, but in 2021 CBS also put an alternate stream of one wild-card game on both CBS All Access and Nickelodeon. The latter was a kid-friendly broadcast that featured appearances by both slime and SpongeBob. We hope the wild-card Nickelodeon broadcast returns, but we know CBS All Access won’t be back since it doesn’t exist anymore. It’s now known as Paramount Plus, and we’ll talk more about it below.
NBC put one of its wild-card games on both NBC and its livestreaming service, Peacock, last year. ABC simulcast a wild-card game with sister channel ESPN in 2021, and the game also aired on ESPN2 with looser commentary.
You can watch every NFL playoffs game on the major networks, but in 2022 you may have more options for commentary if you also have access to cable networks such as Nickelodeon and ESPN2.
Watch the NFL playoffs with DIRECTV Stream
DIRECTV Stream is a great way to watch NFL playoff games without cable. The live TV streaming service from AT&T offers live feeds of ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC. It also provides access to cable-only networks, which means you can use it to watch alternate broadcasts on channels such as ESPN2.
Watch the NFL playoffs with Hulu
Disney’s Hulu is a powerful option for cord-cutters. Not only does it offer a popular on-demand service, but it also boasts a live TV streaming service. The Hulu + Live TV skinny bundle service offers live feeds of tons of great channels, including ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, ESPN, and ESPN2. That’s all four major networks plus two flavors of ESPN. You can check out Hulu + Live TV’s channel lineup to learn more about its offerings.
Watch the NFL playoffs with fuboTV
fuboTV puts a special emphasis on sports coverage, including a solid showing for the NFL playoffs. In many markets, you can get CBS, NBC, FOX, and ABC. The most affordable fuboTV package also comes with ESPN, ESPN2, and Nickelodeon. Our fuboTV review can give you more guidance on what it’s like to watch this channel.
Watch the NFL Playoffs on Sling TV
Sling TV lets you pick between two base bundles: Sling Blue and Sling Orange. You can also combine them to create a package that’s not exactly skinny, but is a lot of fun. You’ll need to get the Orange bundle if you’d like to watch the NFL playoffs games on ESPN. In a few Sling markets, you can also get local feeds of FOX and NBC.
Watch the NFL Playoffs on Paramount+
Paramount Plus is a little like CBS All Access, except the words “CBS” and “All Access” no longer appear anywhere in the name. Parent company ViacomCBS wanted to better encompass the wider range of streaming offerings, so it debuted Paramount Plus in early 2021. You can still get a livestream of CBS in select markets, which means Paramount Plus makes our list of ways to watch the NFL playoffs without cable.
YouTube TV — Google’s live TV streaming service — is a great option for fans hoping to enjoy the NFL playoffs without cable. YouTube TV offers live feeds of ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC, as well as ESPN and ESPN2. For those of you who are kids at heart, you can also get a Nickelodeon livestream.
Free over-the-air TV is the most cost-effective way to watch live TV as a cord-cutter. Once you’ve set up an antenna, you’ll be able to pick up any broadcast stations in its range and watch them live for free. Not every channel is available over the air: ESPN, for instance, is not a “terrestrial” or “broadcast” station. But ABC and all the other major networks are, which means every NFL playoffs game will be broadcast for free over the air. Get the right antenna and you’ll be able to watch the NFL playoffs for free, with no cable necessary!
Only the biggest and baddest screens will do for NFL playoffs action, which is why you may be wondering if the services above will work with your favorite smart TV or streaming device. Well, the odds are in your favor. Use the chart below to check the platform support for each of our favorite ways to watch the NFL playoffs without cable.
Paramount Plus isn’t in the chart, but fear not: It works with Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, Chromecast, iOS, Android, and web browsers.
Now you know how to watch the NFL playoffs without cable, but are you going to stop there? Did Tom Brady stop at six NFL titles? Unfortunately for fans of other teams, he did not. He’s on ring No. 7, and the dude still isn’t satisfied. If he won’t stop playing football, then you shouldn’t stop looking for great streaming sports content.
The NFL has a good mix of veterans like Brady and exciting new names like Joe Burrow and Trevor Lawrence. But if you want a league that’s all up-and-comers, then you may want to check out college football. The players are still considered amateurs, and only a few of them will make a real impact in the NFL. College football is just as exciting and unpredictable as the NFL, though — if not more so. Our guide to watching college football without cable will tell you everything you need to know.
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