Folks, it’s time. After the first-ever 17-game NFL regular season, the dust has settled and the tournament of champions that ends at the Super Bowl finally has all its entrants. In other words: The 2022 NFL playoffs are here.
This is as wide open as the playoffs, which begin on Jan. 15, have ever felt, as both of last year’s Super Bowl teams (the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers) will be challenged for supremacy by newcomers like the Philadelphia Eagles and Cincinnati Bengals. No one team is a clear favorite, which is as exciting as it is rare in this sport.
But how the heck do you watch the games if you don’t have cable? You may have to spend some money, but it can be done without too much hassle.
Which networks are airing NFL playoff games?
One nice thing about pro football is that almost every game airs on network TV (aka the channels you don’t need to pay to see). Simply slap an antenna on your wall and you should get access to almost every playoff game, including the Super Bowl.
But to be more specific, here’s which channels you’ll need to catch all of the single elimination tournament:
ESPN (for one game on Monday, Jan. 17)
Aside from ESPN, those networks can all be accessed locally over the air with an antenna. However, your individual situation might not lend itself to that. Signal problems or geographical oddities may occur. As long as you have adequate internet, streaming is the most reliable way to catch all the big plays.
Which streaming services carry all the networks?
Your best bet for watching every NFL playoff game without managing several free trials or remembering multiple passwords will be one of the many cable streaming alternatives out there. Specifically, there are three major ones that carry every one of the aforementioned TV channels:
It should go without saying that none of those options are especially cheap and it’s perfectly understandable if you don’t want to spend that much for something you’ll only use for a month. Unfortunately, only Fubo and Hulu offer free trials, and those only run for seven days. In other words, you won’t get much without just paying for a month of service.
A quick word to the wise: Local networks like FOX, CBS, and NBC are offered by all three services, but that’s not universally true across every part of the country. You should double-check the channel lineups on the DirecTV Stream, Fubo, and Hulu websites (they’ll ask for your ZIP code) to make extra sure you’ll be all set.
Are there cheaper streaming alternatives?
Unless you can grab a cable login from a friend or family member (which would grant access to at least the Fox Sports and ESPN apps on your streaming device or smart TV), one way to save a little bit of money is to subscribe to the $50 monthly Sling Blue + Orange package and the $10 monthly Paramount Plus premium package.
Put simply, that particular Sling bundle gets you FOX, NBC, and ESPN, while Paramount Plus offers a live stream of your local CBS station. You’re ultimately only saving $5 to $10 by doing this (and you’ll have to remember multiple passwords and use multiple apps) but savings are savings.
Of course, you could always go to a bar or a friend’s house if they have cable to avoid all of this.
The point is that you don’t need cable to watch the 2022 NFL playoffs, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be cheap. Figure out what’s right for you and, above all else, go Chiefs.