Thepandemic wreaked havoc on the schedules for the NBA, NHL, MLB and MLS (plus nearly everything else), but the NFL still plans to go ahead with its 2020 campaign. The lead-up to the season, however, has been anything but normal. A number of players have opted out, all preseason games have been canceled and training camps opened late, so teams will go right from practice to Week 1 of the regular season.
The defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs began their quest to repeat in the season opener Thursday night, with rookie RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire putting on a show in his debut as the Chiefs took down the Houston Texans 34-20. The bulk of the league opens play Sunday, with a host of exciting matchups including the Cleveland Browns versus the Baltimore Ravens at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) on CBS and Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers debut against the New Orleans Saints at 4:25 p.m. ET (1:25 p.m. PT) on Fox.
Sunday’s action closes out with the Los Angeles Rams opening their new SoFi Stadium by taking on the Dallas Cowboys at 8:20 p.m. ET (5:20 p.m. PT) on NBC.
There are plenty of unknowns about what football in 2020 will look like, but here’s how to watch Week 1’s action.
How can I watch the NFL without cable?
You stream the 2020 NFL season, no cable required, on any live-TV streaming service that carries channels with live games. Numerous such services offer broadcast networks like CBS, NBC, Fox as well as ESPN, the NFL Network and/or NFL RedZone. (Editor’s note: CNET and CBS are both owned by ViacomCBS.) Exact channels may also vary based on where you live, but the .
YouTube TV costs $65 a month and includes all the channels NFL fans need: CBS, Fox, NBC, ESPN and NFL Network. There’s also an option for RedZone for an extra $11/month. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome page to see which local networks are available in your area.
FuboTV costs $60 a month for its Standard plan and includes CBS, Fox and NBC plus ESPN and the NFL Network. An $11-a-month Sports Plus add-on will let you get RedZone, and FuboTV will also stream the Fox Thursday Night Football games in 4K.
Click here to see which local channels you get.
Hulu with Live TV costs $55 a month and includes CBS, Fox, NBC and ESPN. Click the “View channels in your area” link on its welcome page to see which local channels are offered in your ZIP code. The NFL Network and RedZone are not available here.
AT&T TV Now’s basic, $55-a-month Plus package includes CBS, Fox, NBC and ESPN. You can use its channel lookup tool to see which local channels are available where you live. The NFL Network and RedZone are not available.
Sling TV splits its live NFL options across its $30-a-month Blue plan and $30-a-month Orange plan, which forces NFL fans into a tricky decision or encourages them to spring for both at $45 a month. Sling Blue includes the NFL Network, NBC and Fox as well as the ability to add RedZone through the Sports Extra add-on for $10 per month. Sling Orange includes ESPN.
Sling TV doesn’t offer CBS, but its packages are discounted by $10 for the first month. Enter your address here to see which local channels are available where you live.
CBS All Access costs $6 a month and will let you watch the games being broadcast on your local CBS station on Sundays if you live in one of these 206 markets where the service offers live TV. It makes for a good add-on for Sling TV subscribers, who don’t get CBS.
All of the services above offer free trials, allow you to cancel anytime and require a solid internet connection. Looking for more information?.
The NFL will also once again. The full list of dates and games for that platform are:
- Oct. 8: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Chicago Bears
- Oct. 15: Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills
- Oct. 22: New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
- Oct. 29: Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers
- Nov. 5: Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers
- Nov. 12: Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans
- Nov. 19: Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks
- Dec. 3: Dallas Cowboys at Baltimore Ravens
- Dec. 10: New England Patriots at Los Angeles Rams
- Dec. 17: Los Angeles Chargers at Las Vegas Raiders
- Dec. 25: Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints
Finally, cord cutters can receive free local CBS, Fox and NBC broadcasts.
When did the NFL season start?
The NFL regular season began on Thursday, Sept. 10 with the Houston Texans visiting the Kansas City Chiefs. Sunday features 13 games while Monday night offers a doubleheader featuring the Pittsburgh Steelers at the New York Giants followed by the Tennessee Titans at the Denver Broncos to close out Week 1.
Where will games be played?
The current plan is for teams to play their games as scheduled in their respective home stadiums.
Will fans be allowed in?
This is one of the big wildcards. There is no clear answer, with some teams planning to open with fans and some without.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Aug. 17 that the Chiefs plan to host their home opener with 22% capacity at Arrowhead Stadium, which would equate to roughly 16,800 fans. The official reported number for Thursday night’s opener was 15,895 fans, 21% of Arrowhead’s capacity.
Other teams, including the Tennessee Titans and Chicago Bears, have said that they plan to host their respective home openers without fans in the stands. This so far seems to be a team-by-team, city-by-city situation that is subject to a lot of change before the games kick-off.
What happened to the preseason?
The NFL canceled the entire 2020 preseason in July, with teams focusing on doing their own training camps to prepare for the upcoming season.
Will the NFL move some Sunday games to other days?
This seems possible, especially if college football doesn’t happen or is scaled back significantly. The NFL has been rumored to be looking at moving some games to Saturday if college football gets canceled, but this is still very much an unknown. Some of the Power 5 college football conferences still currently plan to play games this fall.
The NFL would potentially need to seek government approval if it did want to move games to Friday or Saturday nights due to Chapter 32 of the United States Code that was designed to keep those nights free from September through December for high school and college football.
Which players are sitting out?
Like other sports, a fair amount of NFL players have opted out of the 2020 season. Here are a few of the notable players not participating this year, with a larger list available at ESPN:
- Patrick Chung, S, New England Patriots
- Dont’a Hightower, LB, New England Patriots
- Marqise Lee, WR, New England Patriots
- Marquise Goodwin, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
- Devin Funchess, WR, Green Bay Packers
- Geronimo Allison, WR, Detroit Lions
- C.J. Mosley, LB, New York Jets
- Nate Solder, OT, New York Giants
- Damien Williams, RB, Kansas City Chiefs