How to watch NFL games online in 2021: a complete guide

Ethan Payne
Ethan Payne | Writer
Last updated: July 26, 2021
How to watch NFL games online

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The NFL (National Football League) season is back, and viewers worldwide can get a taste of the action. However, geographical restrictions and regional blackouts can make your viewing experience quite frustrating.

Thankfully, using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to watch the NFL without cable is a great way to circumvent these issues. A VPN hides your IP, encrypts your online data, and allows you to change your location and avoid any potential blocks that might happen in your home country.

How to watch the NFL – a quick guide

Want to watch the NFL as soon as possible? Here are the four quick and easy steps that you need to take to watch NFL without cable:

  1. Subscribe to a VPN. We recommend NordVPN, currently 72% OFF!
  2. Connect to a server in a country where Game Pass offers blackout-free streaming, such as the United States
  3. Sign up for an NFL Game Pass on the official website
  4. Stream all the matches without any blackouts or restrictions

Watch the NFL with a VPN

Why do you need a VPN to watch NFL online?

SlingTV not working outside the US

The answer to that question is quite simple – the NFL is an American organization. Thus, most match broadcasts are geographically restricted to the United States in one way or another.

Furthermore, most streaming services that offer live coverage of NFL matches are also US-only. Naturally, there are some exceptions when some broadcasters get exclusive rights to stream matches in specific regions. And of course, Game Pass International is specifically for viewers outside the States, but some restrictions apply as well.

Then there’s the issue of blackouts. In essence, blackouts were a way to improve stadium attendance by restricting broadcasts locally. In theory, this would force NFL fans to attend matches live, cheer with their fellow sports enthusiasts, and chow down on overpriced hot dogs.

Lucky for us, this practice has been scaled back significantly. Now, blacked-out games become available for viewing 24 hours after the match. Due to broadcast restrictions, many countries worldwide are affected by blackouts, including the US. Of course, these policies could change at a moment’s notice and leave you without access to your most-anticipated matches.

Thankfully, you can resolve all of these issues by having a high-quality VPN for streaming. With it, you can switch between regions to get the best NFL-watching experience.

Of course, not just any VPN will do. You need to choose a service that can maintain the high connection speeds necessary to stream in UHD or 4K. Plus, a massive number of servers is required to accommodate a large number of potential viewers.

How to watch NFL games online without blackouts

If blackouts are ruining your football-watching experience, one excellent solution is to use an NFL Game Pass International package with a Virtual Private Network (VPN). The trick is to use a VPN to access a server where blackouts don’t apply. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Download a VPN that delivers excellent streaming speeds and has a wide choice of servers. We recommend NordVPN, the best VPN for streaming.
  2. Create your VPN account and log in. You might also want to install clients for your smartphone or tablet to give you the chance to watch NFL online, wherever you go.
  3. Select an NFL Game Pass International package that you like and use your VPN to route your data through a server in that country. India is a popular location to buy a pass due to its low prices and a full schedule of matches.
  4. Once you buy an International Game Pass from a specific country, you can use it from anywhere with a VPN. For example, you choose a fast server in a location where blackouts don’t apply. The VPN will route your data through that server, and, as far as the NFL Game Pass team knows, you are a resident in the same jurisdiction. So if you’ve been struggling with blackouts in the UK, you can pose as a German fan and get full access.

Even though our top VPN recommendation for watching the NFL is NordVPN, pretty much any provider from the elite VPNs list will do great.

Keep in mind that not all International Game Passes are equal. The price and range of games available vary depending on where you purchase your pass, so check different options before buying.

Best VPN services to watch NFL online

Due to severe geo-restrictions, watching the NFL live might be impossible if you end up in the wrong country. That’s why we’ve hand-picked these five VPN services that are excellent at streaming the NFL from anywhere. For more options, check out the overall best VPN services.

1. NordVPN – the best VPN for NFL

NordVPN is the number one choice for streaming NFL without cable from anywhere in the world. With 5500+ servers in 59+ countries, you’ll have no trouble getting the best deal for Game Pass International and avoiding blackouts in your country.

Furthermore, the ultra-fast proprietary NordLynx tunneling protocol will guarantee that the stream doesn’t glitch while watching the match’s most crucial and impressive plays. Plus, SmartPlay will allow you to use the VPN on practically any device that you own. And with split tunneling, you could enable the VPN to run exclusively with a particular application.

For your convenience, NordVPN is available on desktop, mobile devices, Fire TV Stick, Android TV, Kodi, and various smart TVs. Plus, a single subscription allows you to connect up to six different devices simultaneously. If that’s not enough, you can simply set up your router with a VPN and enjoy potentially unlimited secure connections on your home network.

And if you ever have trouble using the VPN service, NordVPN offers 24/7 customer support, which is available via live chat for quick fixes.

Currently, NordVPN is available at a 72% discount and starts at $3.30/month. Alternatively, you can grab a 7-day free trial on the Google Play Store and start using the VPN on any other device. After that, each subscription comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

For more in-depth information about NordVPN, read our NordVPN review.

Get NordVPN

2. Surfshark – NFL VPN with unlimited connections

Another fantastic VPN for streaming NFL without cable is Surfshark. It’s equipped with 3200+ servers in 65+ countries, allowing you to watch your favorite American football matches from anywhere in the world.

Additionally, Surfshark uses the high-speed WireGuard tunneling protocol, which is modern, lightweight, and efficient. Plus, you can take advantage of the many benefits of a VPN by using Smart DNS on any device that doesn’t typically support VPN software. That way, you can get around geographical restrictions and gain access to foreign content. And, of course, strong AES-256 encryption will guarantee confidentiality and security.

Furthermore, Surfshark has dedicated apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android. Additional applications are available for browsers, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Android TV, and more. Plus, one of the most significant advantages of Surfshark is that it allows you to connect an unlimited number of devices simultaneously.

If you ever come across difficulties while using the VPN service, you can always rely on 24/7 customer support for assistance. You can contact it via live chat or email.

If you’d like, Surfshark has a 7-day free trial available on mobile devices. Once claimed, you can take advantage of the service on any other device as well. Plus, the 30-day money-back guarantee gives you more than a month of risk-free access to the VPN. After that, subscriptions start at only $2.49/month and come with an 81% discount.

For more in-depth information about Surfshark, read our Surfshark review.

Get Surfshark

3. PrivateVPN – efficient VPN for streaming NFL

One of the best overall VPNs for streaming is PrivateVPN. With 150+ efficient servers across 62+ countries, this service won’t leave you asking for more.

In addition to the secure OpenVPN tunneling protocol, PrivateVPN uses solid AES-256 encryption, offers a kill switch, and has a list of dedicated servers for specific streaming services, such as Amazon Prime, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Disney+. Unsurprisingly, these servers work great at getting around various geographical restrictions, including the ones imposed by the NFL.

Unsurprisingly, PrivateVPN is available on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. Besides that, it’s also compatible with Android TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, and Kodi. Plus, a single subscription allows you to connect six different devices simultaneously. Of course, you can improve that number even further by setting up your home router with a VPN, protecting your entire home network.

Starting at $2.50/month, PrivateVPN offers a 82% discount and is one of the best cheapest VPN providers that you can get. Additionally, you can even grab a 7-day free trial to try the service out before committing. After that, you’re still secured by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

For more in-depth information about PrivateVPN, read our PrivateVPN review.

Get PrivateVPN

4. VyprVPN – budget-friendly and secure NFL VPN

The most budget-friendly NFL VPN by far is VyprVPN. With over 700 servers in 70+ locations, VyprVPN won’t leave you without access to your favorite NFL matches.

To start off, VyprVPN is equipped with the modern WireGuard tunneling protocol. It’s ultra-fast and will ensure that your NFL stream plays without buffering or any other issues. Additionally, the service works brilliantly at getting around various geographical restrictions, even those by streaming services, such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and more. Plus, VyprVPN boasts its own proprietary secure tunneling protocolChameleon.

Furthermore, VyprVPN is supported on a wide array of platforms, such as Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Android TV, and much more. And on the off chance that you own a device that doesn’t support VPNs natively, you can take advantage of the dedicated VyprVPN router app. Naturally, you can also set up your router with VyprVPN the old-fashioned way.

Finally, VyprVPN comes with an astounding 87% discount. Subscription plans start at $1.67/month and come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

For more in-depth information about VyprVPN, read our VyprVPN review.

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5. IPVanish – the most versatile VPN for NFL

If you’re looking for an affordable and versatile VPN that isn’t just for streaming, IPVanish might be just the service you need. It’s equipped with 1500+ servers across 75 different countries, meaning you won’t have to worry about NFL blackouts.

For balance between speed and security, IPVanish is equipped with the tried and tested OpenVPN tunneling protocol. Plus, it also uses solid military-grade encryption, has a reliable internet kill switch, and has a strict no-logs policy. But the most appealing and unique feature of IPVanish is 500GB of secure cloud storage, something that most VPN providers do not offer.

IPVanish has dedicated apps for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. Additionally, it’s compatible with Android TV, Fire TV Stick, and even ChromeOS. Like many other VPNs, IPVanish can also be configured directly on your router to secure your entire home network. That way, you can technically secure an unlimited number of devices.

To get started with IPVanish, you can grab a subscription at a 68% discount for only $3.75/month. Each subscription comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

For more in-depth information about IPVanish, read our IPVanish review.

Get IPVanish

Top use-case for each VPN

Of course, these services are much more versatile and can be used for more than just streaming NFL. Here’s a quick recap of the greatest benefits of each VPN provider.

NordVPNBest VPN for NFL overall
SurfsharkGreat VPN for multiple devices
PrivateVPNBest balance between price and performance
VyprVPNThe most budget-friendly VPN
IPVanishVPN with bonus secure cloud storage

How to watch the NFL on your devices with a VPN

With the advent of various online streaming services, fans can view the NFL conveniently from a wide range of devices. However, the process of getting everything up and running can be tricky, especially if you add a VPN to the mix. As such, here are a few guides on how to watch the NFL games without cable.

How to watch NFL on PC

Whether you’re using Windows, Mac, or Linux, the process is pretty straightforward. These platforms are supported by practically all VPNs out there and do not cause additional headaches by having GPS hardware. With that said, here’s how to watch the NFL on PC:

  1. Download a VPN that can effectively get around geographical restrictions. We recommend NordVPN, currently 72% off!
  2. Connect to a country that has easy access to the NFL catalog, such as the US.
  3. Open an internet browser and visit your favorite NFL streaming service.
  4. Watch the NFL live without any issues

How to watch NFL on mobile devices (Android, iOS)

Android and iOS users might come across some difficulties when trying to access geo-restricted content. That’s because mobile devices keep track of your GPS location and not every VPN can override that. Thus, your actual location becomes much more difficult to hide.

Fortunately for us, Surfshark has a feature specifically designed for this issue. It’s called GPS Override, and it’s available both for iOS and Android devices. Here’s how it works:

  1. Install a VPN with GPS spoofing capabilities. We suggest Surfshark, currently off!
  2. Log out of your Google Account or Apple ID
  3. Launch Surfshark and connect to a country with easy access to the NFL, for example, the US.
  4. Create a new user for the app store on your device. Make sure that you choose the US as your country of residence.
  5. Search and download the app for your streaming service
  6. Enjoy the exciting NFL matches wherever you go!

How to watch NFL on Android TV

Many VPNs have dedicated apps for Android TV since there’s little difference from the Android mobile version. Because of that, using a VPN to watch the NFL on Android TV is relatively easy. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Choose a VPN that has an Android TV app. Our go-to choice is NordVPN, the number one VPN
  2. Go to the Google Play Store and download the VPN application
  3. Connect to a country that allows you to watch the NFL, such as the US
  4. Watch the NFL by using a streaming service or an NFL Game Pass

How to watch NFL on Apple TV

Unfortunately, few VPNs are compatible with Apple TV. Thankfully, some of the best VPNs for Apple TV are equipped with Smart DNS, allowing you to get around most geographical restrictions.

Alternatively, you can install a VPN directly on your router, making all of your router-connected devices secured. Plus, this allows you to get around geographical restrictions on devices that don’t support VPN software natively. Whichever method you choose, be sure to consult the customer service of your VPN service provider to get all the needed insights.

How to watch NFL on smart TVs

Smart TVs come from a wide variety of manufacturers with different operating systems pre-installed. Because of that, dedicated VPN support is hard to come by.

Thankfully, there are a few workarounds for this, such as the earlier mentioned Smart DNS feature. Additionally, installing a VPN on your router and then connecting your smart TV into that network will work as well. The details will depend on your chosen provider, so make sure to contact customer support for more information.

How to watch NFL on Kodi with your Game Pass

how to watch NFL on Kodi with Game Pass

If you choose to go down the NFL Game Pass Europe or Asia route, it’s a good idea to check out what Kodi has to offer. If you aren’t familiar with this service, Kodi is an open-source media player that streams content directly from the internet onto home TVs. It works via an app that is free to download. Naturally, choosing a Kodi-compatible VPN is essential.

Learning how to watch NFL on Kodi isn’t hard. Here’s how to get the game on-screen with Kodi in minutes:

  1. Use your VPN to purchase a Game Pass subscription. Our top NFL VPN choice is NordVPN, available for 72% off!
  2. Download the Kodi client on your device. When you fire up Kodi, go to the “Add-ons” section and choose the “Package Installer.”
  3. Now, choose the “Install from Repository” option and scroll until you find the NFL Game Pass add-on.
  4. Choose the install option. You’ll be asked to supply your NFL Game Pass Europe password, and after that, the add-on will be available on your Kodi client.
  5. You should receive a notification telling you that your NFL Game Pass has been activated. To access games, just head to the Video Add-Ons menu to the left of your Kodi user interface, and any ongoing matches should be available to watch.

The great thing about Kodi is watching the NFL online while casting this stream to a standard TV. However, always remember to engage your VPN to avoid blackouts, as these will still apply whether you’re using Kodi or not.

How to watch NFL games with Kodi for free

You can watch all NFL games on Kodi for free with the right add-on. Alternatively, you can install one of the best Kodi builds to get all the necessary add-ons combined in one package. In any case, here are some of the best add-ons dedicated to sports:

  • SportsDevil
  • Supremacy
  • Joker Sports

These are third-party add-ons, meaning you’ll have to enable “Unknown sources” first. To do that:

  1. On the Kodi Home screen, click on the Settings icon
  2. On the System Menu, select System settings
  3. Scroll down to Add-ons and then turn on Unknown sources. A warning box will pop up after checking the button. Click Yes to turn it on

Using third-party Kodi add-ons is risky if you happen to stream copyrighted content. To avoid legal issues, use a VPN. Not only will it hide your IP address and encrypt your traffic, but you’ll also prevent ISP throttling and geo-blocking.

How to stream the NFL on Amazon Fire TV Stick for free

The best way to watch the NFL on FireTV or FireStick is with Kodi. After installing Kodi, you should get one of the add-ons mentioned above to watch all NFL games for free.

Using a VPN is needed to protect your privacy when streaming content with third-party add-ons. To install one of our recommended VPNs for Fire Stick, simply follow one of our VPN installation guides for Amazon Fire Stick.

Other ways to watch NFL games online for free

Even the cheapest Game Pass package available will cost over $100, which isn’t great if you only want to watch a couple of matches every season (or just the Super Bowl). So what are the options for finding an NFL live stream free of charge?

In this case, you’ve got a few other alternatives:

1. Use a streaming service from your smartphone network

In the USA, some cellphone companies like Verizon Wireless offer free NFL streaming thanks to agreements with Fox, CBS, NBC, and ESPN. In this case, if you sign up for the right tariff, you can download their streaming app and watch NFL games for free wherever you like.

But blackouts will still apply, as usual, so you need a VPN to avoid them.

2. Use Amazon Prime to catch the game

These days, The National Football League isn’t restricted to old-school TV or cable networks. Amazon has also entered the fray, screening Thursday Night Football matches for free to all Amazon Prime subscribers.

So if a big game is coming up, triggering a free Prime trial could be the ideal way to watch it. However, keep in mind that you could still need a VPN to watch the NFL if blackouts occur.

3. Find a reliable Flash stream

Various sites will stream most games in the NFL, and all you need is a browser to access these feeds. An excellent place to look is the Reddit NFL Streams site, with aggregated streams that people are watching.

But don’t expect fantastic quality and a silky smooth viewing experience. These streams tend to be a little rough around the edges. And if you use them, be sure to apply your VPN to keep your identity safe and sound.

How to watch NFL games from anywhere in the world

By changing your location with a VPN, you can watch the NFL practically anywhere in the world without any limitations. Of course, some local options are still available in most regions, albeit with some restrictions. If you’d like to consider some before opting for a VPN, here are some of your choices in certain countries.

How to watch NFL games from the United States in 2021

There’s no shortage of options for watching the NFL without cable in the United States. Naturally, NFL Game Pass is by far the best way to catch all the matches. However, some alternative streaming options exist if you’d like to have a more versatile streaming service. For example, you could also utilize:

  • SlingTV ($35/month)
  • YouTube TV (starts at $64.99/month)
  • fuboTV ($64.99/month)
  • Hulu + Live TV ($64.99/month)
  • AT&T TV ($69.99/month)
  • NFL Game Pass ($199/year)

With all that said, it’s important to remember that some states might receive a blackout on specific matches. In that case, it’s helpful to have a VPN for the US so you could connect to a server in a different state and get around any possible restrictions.

How to watch NFL games from Canada

Unsurprisingly, the most straightforward way to watch the NFL in Canada is to get NFL Game Pass. On the other hand, there are a couple of worthwhile cable-free options as well, such as:

  • DAZN ($20/month CAD)
  • TSN Direct ($24.99/month CAD)

Of course, having a VPN for Canada could prove beneficial as well. If not for streaming NFL then at least for extra security and privacy. Plus, a VPN allows you to watch restricted content even when traveling to other countries.

How to watch NFL games from the UK

There are a few options to choose from if you’d like to watch the NFL in the UK. The choices include:

  • NFL Game Pass (£145/year)
  • Now TV (£6.99/month)

With prices so low, it would be a shame to skip out on a VPN for the UK. With it, you’ll have additional privacy while watching the games. And if you’re ever outside the United Kingdom, you can use a VPN to watch UK services from anywhere.

How to watch NFL games from Australia

For Australians, there are a couple of cable-free options to choose from, such as:

  • 7mate (free)
  • Foxtel Now ($40/month)
  • NFL Game Pass ($199/year)

While it’s a relief to see a free option, it’s unclear how much of the NFL you’ll be able to watch live in 2021/2022. However, if that’s not an issue for you, getting a VPN for Australia enables you to watch the NFL for free. Simply connect to any server in Australia and tune into 7mate. Otherwise, a VPN also allows you to watch your local streaming service even when traveling abroad.

NFL 2021/2022 schedule

The NFL is divided into two conferences, the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC). In turn, both of these conferences are divided into 4 Divisions, called the North, South, East, and West. You can check how the teams have been divided on the official NFL website.

NFC TeamsAFC Teams
Arizona CardinalsBaltimore Ravens
Atlanta FalconsBuffalo Bills
Carolina PanthersCincinnati Bengals
Chicago BearsCleveland Browns
Dallas CowboysDenver Broncos
Detroit LionsGreen Bay Packers
Green Bay PackersIndianapolis Colts
Jacksonville JaguarsJacksonville Jaguars
Minnesota VikingsKansas City Chiefs
New Orleans SaintsLas Vegas Raiders
New York GiantsLos Angeles Chargers
Philadelphia EaglesSan Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ersNew England Patriots
Seattle SeahawksNew York Jets
Pittsburgh SteelersPittsburgh Steelers
Washington Football TeamTennessee Titans

One of the best news to come out this year is the return of NFL club rookie and veteran training camps. On July 31st, all 32 clubs will practice, while some fan events will be happening as well. You can share your excitement with other NFL fans on Twitter.

NFL 2021 week 1 schedule

The NFL preseason kicks off on August 12th and will go on for three weeks. After that, a staggering number of 18 weeks of NFL matches awaits us, starting on September 9th. Meanwhile, the 2022 Super Bowl is scheduled for February 6th.

Bottom line

Watching the NFL online seems like quite the undertaking if you live outside the US. Of course, even sports fans in the United States have to deal with regional blackouts when trying to enjoy the matches. That means that all NFL fans can make use of the streaming benefits that a VPN offers. Plus, a VPN can be used for other purposes as well, making it a worthwhile investment any time of the year.

Will you get a VPN to watch the NFL? Let us know by leaving a comment!


You may also like to read:
Should I leave my VPN on all the time?
How to watch Formula 1 online
How to stream UFC from anywhere
How to change Netflix region
How to watch HBO Max


FAQ

How do I watch NFL games with VPN?

If you want to watch all the NFL games, you’ll need a VPN with plenty of servers in the US, such as NordVPN. That way, you’ll be able to access NFL Game Pass while also getting around any potential state-wide blackouts.

Does VPN work on the NFL app?

Yes, a VPN should work with the NFL app. All you need to do is to pick a VPN service that’s compatible with your device.

Is it legal to stream NFL with a VPN?

Yes, it’s completely legal to use a VPN in most parts of the world. However, some services might restrict access if they notice that you’re using a VPN. That’s why it’s essential to use a high-quality VPN that can avoid detection.

Top VPN providers
NordVPN
9.6 / 10
30-day money-back guarantee
Military grade encryption
Friendly support
Surfshark VPN
9.4 / 10
Strong encryption
Excellent performance
Unlimited simultaneous connections

Disclaimer: Affiliate links help us produce good content. Learn more.

5 comments
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  1. T W

    In 2020, can’t find any of these …

    “You can watch all NFL games on Kodi for free with the right add-on. Here are some of the best ones dedicated to sports:
    SportsDevil
    Supremacy
    Joker Sports”

    Any other suggestions?


    1. avatar
      Julie Cole

      Hi, T W. Unfortunately, Kodi add-ons come and go. I suggest trying NetStream Sports Hub, Atom Reborn, Pro Sport, Goodfellas 2.0, and Sports World. Good luck!


  2. BuzzMentors

    The list of subscription-free streaming services you have given above is just awesome! I’ll see if I can tune in to the NFL games using any of these mediums.


  3. Daniel Berry

    I remember the days of the blacked out local games, it was so frustrating! I really hope the NFL doesn’t have any plans to reinstate that terrible rule. Since I live in Kansas City, (Go Chiefs!), I don’t think the lack of attendance is an issue since Arrowhead Stadium is full for every game. Your post has inspired me to select an NFL Game Pass International package to use with my VPN and find an free NFL live stream. Thanks!


    1. avatar
      Julie Cole

      Hi Daniel,

      Yeah, the blackouts were never really popular anywhere. Nonetheless, getting the international game pass is a great option, since you get much better content. Highly recommended, and thanks for reading!

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