How to watch 49ers vs. Cardinals Thursday Night Football tonight without cable

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Nick Bosa of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates after getting a sack against the Panthers last Sunday.


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Only two teams remain undefeated as the NFL season as we enter Week 9, and one of those teams will be in action Thursday night. After routing the Panthers on Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers are back on the field Thursday to take on recent No. 1 pick Kyler Murray, newly acquired Kenyan Drake and the Arizona Cardinals. Led by an impressive defense, a win would see the Niners join the Patriots — who topped the Browns on Sunday to give coach Bill Belichick his 300th career victory — at 8-0 and keep their lead atop the NFC for at least one more week. 

And there are more ways than ever to catch the only NFL game in town tonight. Tonight’s game kicks off at 8:20 p.m. ET on Fox, the NFL Network, Twitch, Yahoo and Amazon Prime Video. Here’s how cord cutters can watch Thursday Night Football without cable — as well as the rest of the NFL games this season on Monday nights and Sundays.

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How to watch on Fox (and how to get 4K) 

Fox’s Thursday Night Football broadcast will be available to stream on live TV streaming services that carry your local Fox station (see below), as well as via antenna, cable or satellite.

New for 2019 is the ability to watch Thursday Night Football in 4K. Traditional cable and satellite companies such as DirecTV, Altice’s Optimum, Comcast’s Xfinity, Verizon Fios and T-Mobile’s TVision will all offer 4K versions of the game if you have a compatible set-top box. In addition, streaming service FuboTV will let subscribers watch in the higher resolution on most 4K streaming devices

The downside? The game itself isn’t a native 4K stream. Instead it will be produced in 1080p with HDR and then upconverted to 4K HDR.

The Fox Sports app (not to be confused with the Fox Sports Go app) will also be streaming the game in 4K on the Apple TV 4K and certain 4K Roku devices, but you need a login from a cable, satellite or live TV streaming service provider to access the stream in the app. 

What about Amazon Prime Video?

In addition to Fox and the NFL Network, Amazon will be streaming the game live to Prime Video subscribers. You will need to have the Prime Video app, but thankfully that’s available on a nearly every TV and mobile device including Chromecast, for casting from a phone or tablet to a TV. 

Amazon’s broadcast will feature the choice of listening to Fox’s Joe Buck and Troy Aikman on the call or switch to a broadcast team of Hannah Storm and Andrea Kremer. Scottish and Irish broadcasters Derek Rae and Tommy Smyth, previously heard calling soccer on ESPN, will also be an option.

Features like X-Ray, which provides the NFL’s Next Gen Stats, will be available to those watching on Android, iOS or Fire TV.

Et tu, Twitch?

Those without Prime or a subscription to a video service will be able to stream the Fox broadcast of Thursday Night Football on Twitch for free at the streaming service’s /primevideo channel. In addition to the official broadcast, Twitch fans can watch the co-streams with a host of the site’s personalities on their own, respective Twitch channels. 
A full list of co-streams for each Twitch game can be found on Twitch’s blog.

How can I watch my local team’s NFL games?

For teams in your local market — Steelers fans in Pittsburgh, Dolphins fans in Miami, and so on — you’ll be able to watch your local team’s games on a major local network channel.

Games are typically broadcast on CBS and Fox on Sunday afternoons. National broadcasts are shown on NBC on Sunday nights, ESPN on Monday nights and the NFL Network on Thursday nights. Most of the Thursday night games are simulcast on Fox, Amazon Prime and Twitch. (Note that CBS is the parent company of CNET.)

There is also NFL RedZone to consider, a channel that springs to life each fall and shows live coverage from around the league with the promise to show you every touchdown from every Sunday afternoon game. It’s a great way to watch out-of-market action and essential viewing for fantasy football GMs.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Which live TV streaming services are best for NFL fans?

The short answer? PlayStation Vue is our No. 1 overall pick for streaming live NFL football. It’s going dark in January 2020, but until then football fans can still subscribe and watch.

Read more: Best ways to watch football live without cable

The longer answer: Many live TV streaming services — including Vue as well as AT&T TV Now, FuboTV, Hulu with Live TV and YouTube TV — carry one or more local networks (namely CBS, Fox and NBC), so they’re the best bet for cord cutters who don’t want to use an over-the-air antenna.

The catch is that not every service carries every local network, so check each one using the links below to make sure it carries the network you want in your area.

Other stuff to know about live TV streaming services:

PlayStation Vue offers all the networks that show NFL games, and you can add the NFL RedZone channel for $10 a month extra. The $55 Core plan is the cheapest option that includes the five channels NFL fans need — CBS, Fox, NBC, ESPN and NFL Network — and the $10-a-month Sports Pack will get you NFL RedZone. As we mentioned above Vue is shutting down in January but until then it’s still available.

Sling TV splits its live NFL options across its $25-a-month Blue plan and $25-a-month Orange plan, which forces NFL fans into a tricky decision or encourages them to spring for both at $40 a month. 

Sling Blue includes Thursday and Sunday games on NBC, Fox and the NFL Network. Sling Orange includes Monday night games on ESPN. And if you want to add the NFL RedZone, you’ll need Sling Blue. Blue — but not Orange — subscribers can add the $10-a-month Sports Extra package, which includes NFL RedZone. Sling TV does not offer CBS, which typically carries AFC games on Sunday afternoons.

Sling’s packages are discounted 40% for the first month.

Hulu with Live TV costs $45 a month and includes CBS, Fox, NBC and ESPN but not NFL Network or RedZone.

YouTube TV costs $50 a month and includes CBS, Fox, NBC and ESPN, but not NFL Network or RedZone.

FuboTV costs $55 a month and includes CBS, Fox, NBC and NFL Network but not ESPN. You’ll miss out on Monday Night Football on ESPN but will get the games on Sunday afternoons (CBS and Fox), Sunday nights (NBC) and Thursday nights (NFL Network). The $9-a-month Sports Plus package adds NFL RedZone.

CBS All Access costs $6 a month and lets you watch AFC matchups on Sunday afternoons. It makes for a good add-on for Sling TV subscribers, who don’t get CBS.

Prime Video will stream the Thursday Night Football games this season that will be simulcast on Fox. The games on Prime Video will also be streamed live on the Amazon-owned Twitch, which means you don’t need an Amazon Prime membership to stream Thursday night football.

Stream live on your phone with NFL Mobile and Yahoo app

In previous years, only Verizon Wireless subscribers could livestream games on their phones with the NFL Mobile app. Now, anyone can get a live NFL stream on a phone, regardless of carrier. You’ll be limited to watching on your phone and will see only local, in-market games and the national broadcasts on Thursday, Sunday and Monday nights.

National and local games will also be streamed on the Yahoo and Yahoo Sports app.

Originally published earlier this year. Regularly updated with the latest game details.