How to watch the NFL’s Wild Card games for free

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stream nfl playoff games free

There’s something truly electric about the NFL Wild Card games, a thrilling combination of optimism and desperation. The NFL playoff games today offer some intriguing matchups—with the Colts vs. Texans, Seahawks vs. Cowboys, Rams vs. Ravens, and Eagles vs. Bears—none of which you’ll want to miss. But if you’ve cut the cord, you might have some difficulty finding a live stream of the games. Here’s everything you need to know to watch online for free and the NFL playoff TV schedule for the Wild Card games.

Stream NFL playoff games today: How to watch Wild Card games for free

1) FuboTV

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FuboTV

Cost: $39.99 for your first month and $44.99 per month thereafter (after a 7-day free trial)
Devices: Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Android TV, iOS and Android devices
Local channels: ABC, Fox, NBC, CBS (check local availability here)
ESPN: No
NFL Network: Yes
NFL RedZone: Yes (FuboTV + Sports Plus)

FuboTV specifically caters to sports fans, as you’ll note by the abundance of sports channels in its basic lineup, which includes regional sports networks, Big Ten Network, BeIn Sports, and FS1 and FS2. It’s the best streaming service for international soccer and, with a standard package that includes access to all four major broadcast channels and NFL Network, which you might need to watch Thursday Night Football, it’s a solid choice for streaming NFL games, too, especially if you add NFL RedZone to your package. The major asterisk to FuboTV is that it doesn’t include ESPN, but you’ll get free three-day replay for games and 30 hours of cloud DVR storage. (Here’s the complete FuboTV channels list.)

2) Hulu with Live TV
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Hulu

Hulu with Live TV

Cost: $40 per month (after a seven-day free trial)
Hulu devices: Roku, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch, and iOS and Android devices
Local channels: ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, the CW (check your local availability here)
Local channels: Yes (check your local availability here)
ESPN: Yes
NFL Network: No
NFL RedZone: No

Hulu with Live TV has all of the essentials when it comes to streaming NFL games today. Even better, its 50-plus channel lineup includes six ESPN channels, seven if you include SEC Network. (Here’s the complete list of Hulu Live TV channels.) While you won’t be able to add NFL RedZone or NFL Network, Hulu has one thing none of its competitors can match: a massive library of on-demand entertainment you can watch anytime. Here are guides to the best movies, documentaries, anime, and Hulu original series to watch to get you started.

3) Sling TV
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Sling TV

Sling Orange + Blue

Cost: $25-$40 per month (after a seven-day free trial)
Sling TV devices: Amazon Fire TVs, Android Fire Stick, Apple TV, Android TV, Roku, Xbox One, Google Chromecast, and iOS and Android devices
Local channels: NBC, Fox (check your local availability here.)
ESPN: Yes
NFL Network: Yes (Sling Orange, Sling Orange + Blue)
NFL RedZone: Yes (Sling Blue + Sling Blue Sports “Sports Extra”)

Sling TV is your cheapest option for watching NFL RedZone. You can add it to the Sling Blue or Sling Orange + Blue packages for just $10 per month. You’ll want the latter, which costs $40 per month, if you want to get ESPN channels in addition to regional sports networks and FS1 and FS2. (Here’s a complete guide to Sling TV channels.) The one drawback: When it comes to network channels, Sling TV only offers NBC and Fox (and here again, you’ll need either Sling Blue or Sling Orange + Blue), but the company is currently offering new subscribers a free HD antenna, so you can at least watch some games that way (just not this week). For what it’s worth, ABC games are typically simulcast on ESPN3.

4) DirecTV Now
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DirecTV Now

DirecTV Now’s Live a Little package

Cost: $40-$75 per month (after a seven-day free trial)
Devices: Roku, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, and Amazon Fire Stick
Local channels: ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, the CW (enter your ZIP code here to check local availability)
ESPN: Yes
NFL Network: Yes (Just Right package and above)
NFL RedZone: No

By far the most comprehensive option, DirecTV Now is the online version of DirecTV, and it offers five distinct channel packages at prices that are still far below cable. The entry-level Live a Little package ($40 per month) has pretty much everything you need to stream NFL games today, plus cable essentials like CNN, ESPN, and MTV. But you get have a whopping 125 channels if you upgrade to the $75-per-month Gotta Have It package. Worth noting: If you’re an AT&T Unlimited customer, you’ll save $25 a month on any DirecTV Now package. (You can view the full DirecTV Now channels list here.)

5) YouTube TV
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YouTube TV

YouTube TV

Cost: $40 per month (after a seven-day free trial)
Devices: Google Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV, Android TV, Xbox One, iOS and Android devices
Local channels: NBC, CBS, Fox, ABC, the CW (enter your ZIP code here to check your availability)
ESPN: Yes
NFL Network: No
NFL RedZone: No

YouTube TV offers a simple and compelling package for sports fans. In addition to all of the local channels, you’ll get ESPN, a couple of college sports networks, and specialty channels like NBA TV and MLB Network. While it’s light on extras like NFL RedZone, YouTube TV is great if you have roommates you’re looking to split the cost with. Each subscription supports up to six accounts per household, and each comes with unlimited cloud DVR. (You can find the full list of YouTube TV channels here.)

6) PlayStation Vue
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PlayStation Vue

PlayStation Vue’s Access package

Cost: $44.99-$79.99 per month (after a seven-day free trial)
Devices: PlayStation 3 and 4, Roku, Amazon Fire, Google Chromecast, Kodi, iOS and Android devices
Local channels: NBC, Fox, ABC, CBS (enter your ZIP code here to check your availability)
ESPN: Yes (PlayStation Vue Access and above)
NFL Network: Yes (PlayStation Vue Core and above)
NFL RedZone: Yes (PlayStation Vue Sports Pack)

PlayStation Vue offers a comparable channel list as Hulu with Live TV and YouTube TV at a slightly higher price point. One thing that sets it apart: You can stream on up to five devices at once, and you can upgrade your account to include nearly 80 channels. (Here are all of PlayStation Vue channels.)

Other ways to watch NFL playoff games today on TV
1) CBS All Access

Cost: $4.99 per month
Devices:  Roku, Apple TV,  Android and Android TV, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, select smart TVs

If you’re looking for CBS games in particular, CBS All Access will let you catch all of the action live. You can also add CBS All Access as an Amazon Prime channel, which comes with a free seven-day trial. No matter what device you subscribe on, you’ll also get access to all of your favorite CBS shows and Star Trek: Discovery.

2) Locast

Locast is a not-for-profit service offering a completely free way to stream your local broadcast channels (though donations are encouraged). It’s a godsend for football fans, especially during the NFL playoffs. There’s one catch. The service is only available in a handful of cities at the moment: New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, Houston, Denver, Boston, and Dallas. If you happen to be in one of those areas, it’s worth trying. 

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Locast

Locast

NFL playoff games today: The Wild Card TV schedule

Saturday, Jan. 5

4:35pm, Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans | ABC/ESPN3

8:15pm, Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys | FOX

Sunday, Jan. 6

1:05pm Los Angeles Rams at Baltimore Ravens | CBS

4:40pm, Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears | NBC

 

New to cord-cutting? Here are our picks for the best movie streaming sites of 2018 and free live TV apps and channels. If you’re looking for a specific channel, here’s how to watch HBO, Showtime, Starz, Sundance TV, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU, AMC, FX, Fox News, Freeform, MSNBC, CNN, CNBC, FS1, TBS, TNT, Tennis Channel, Golf Channel, Syfy, HGTV, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, Bravo, Lifetime, Discovery, PBS, the CW, BBC, CSPAN, NBA TV, MTV, Comedy Central, Food Network, TLC, HLN, A&E, Animal Planet, National Geographic, the Weather Channel, the History Channel, and NFL RedZone without cable, as well as free movies on YouTube. If you’re on the move, here’s how to watch Fox Sports Go and live stream NBC Sports.

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