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How to watch NFL games on Paramount Plus

The NFL on Paramount Plus
(Image credit: WhatToWatch.com)

The ability to stream live sports is a big question mark when it comes to streaming services. Some have 'em, and some don't. Some have more than others. And if you're new to Paramount Plus, it's a fair question to ask. The answer? Yes, you can watch live sports on Paramount Plus. But let's narrow things down a little bit. Yes, you can watch live NFL games on Paramount Plus.

And it turns out we'll be able to watch more NFL games on Paramount Plus than we initially thought. (We've got the full schedule below.) When the latest set of rights agreements were reached, ViacomCBS announced that "Paramount+ has been granted new and expanded rights for the streaming service." Basically what that means is you'll be able to stream the same games on Paramount Plus that you'll be able to watch on CBS at home. They're regionalized, so you can't just watch anything you want. So it's not NFL Sunday Ticket, but it's also better than nothing, and a perfectly fine way to watch a game.

We also know that the live stream of the NFL games on CBS will available on the $9.99-a-month ad-free (for on-demand content, anyway) Paramount Plus plan, as well as the $4.99-a-month plan.

That last part is important because the less-expensive tier does not include a live stream of your local CBS affiliate. So this will be NFL games in addition to that.

Also: Read our Paramount Plus review

All that said, here's everything you need to know about watching the NFL on Paramount Plus. (And while you're at it, be sure to check out the best movies on Paramount Plus, and the best shows on Paramount Plus, too.)

How to watch the NFL on Paramount Plus with a subscription

The key to watching NFL games on Paramount Plus is CBS. That's where you'll find regional AFC games, and who you get to watch depends on what part of the country in which you live.

Paramount Plus comes in to play because along with all the on-demand series and movies you'll get access to your local CBS affiliate. So come Sundays when the NFL is in season, you'll be able to stream your regional NFL game. (Blackout rules may still be in effect, though. Some things never change.)

To watch the NFL on Paramount Plus, all you need to do is sign in and head to the Live TV section.

Along with the usual Paramount Plus price — $4.99 a month with ads, or $9.99 a month for the premium tier without ads — you'll get access to all sorts of great on-demand series and movies. That includes the entire Star Trek library, from the Original Series to the new exclusives like Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Picard. It also includes shows from the MTV world, and the Smithsonian channel.

And you'll be able to take all of this for a spin — for free — thanks to the Paramount Plus free trial.

How to watch the NFL without a Paramount Plus subscription

If you used to log in to CBS All Access with a cable subscription to stream NFL games online, things are going to change a bit from here on out.

Paramount Plus no longer allows you to authenticate with a cable or satellite subscription. Instead, you'll have to head to the new CBS app (or the CBS website) and then sign in — and that will get you access to your local CBS affiliate. And then you can watch whatever regional NFL is available that week. 

That really doesn't change what you get in terms of content. (CBS All Access didn't give you the on-demand content unless you had a subscription with the service.) The big difference is just where you'll go to do it.

Watch the NFL on Paramount Plus outside of the United States

One other little nugget worth mentioning is this: If you've found yourself outside of your usual Paramount Plus/CBS viewing area but still want to get your NFL on, you can potentially use a VPN to make things right. 

A virtual private network allows you to route all of your internet traffic through a specific set of servers in a specific country. (Say, the United States.) And from there you can use your Paramount Plus login (or cable or streaming login) to get to the live CBS section of things — and that's a great way to be able to watch your NFL games on Paramount+.

The one caveat here is that you need to be able to trust your VPN provider, because all of your traffic — encrypted as well as unencrypted — is going to be going through that VPN. For that, we've long been fans of ExpressVPN.

ExpressVPN
The best VPN for Paramount+

ExpressVPN is one of the easiest and affordable ways to watch what you want from anywhere you want to watch it. Plus it'll help keep your network traffic away from any prying eyes on public networks.

And ExpressVPN is a great way to make sure you can continue to watch everything on Paramount+, no matter where you are in the world.

NFL on Paramount Plus schedule

Following is the schedule for NFL games on Paramount Plus for the 2021/22 season. Games will be available regionally. A double-header denotes two games on CBS that Sunday.

Week 1 (Sept. 12) - Doubleheader

N.Y. Jets at Carolina, 1 p.m.

Jacksonville at Houston, 1 p.m.

Pittsburgh at Buffalo, 1 p.m.

Arizona at Tennessee, 1 p.m.

L.A. Chargers at Washington, 1 p.m.

Cleveland at Kansas City, 4:25 p.m.

Miami at New England, 4:25 p.m.

Week 2 (Sept. 19) - Doubleheader

Las Vegas at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m.

New England at N.Y. Jets, 1 p.m.

Denver at Jacksonville, 1 p.m.

Houston at Cleveland, 1 p.m.

Dallas at L.A. Chargers, 4:25 p.m.

Tennessee at Seattle, 4:25 p.m.

Week 3 (Sept. 26)

L.A. Chargers at Kansas City, 1 p.m.

Cincinnati at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m.

Indianapolis at Tennessee , 1 p.m.

Baltimore at Detroit, 1 p.m.

Miami at Las Vegas, 4:05 p.m.

N.Y. Jets at Denver, 4:05 p.m.

Week 4 (Oct. 3) - Doubleheader

Kansas City at Philadelphia, 1 p.m.

Cleveland at Minnesota, 1 p.m.

Indianapolis at Miami, 1 p.m.

Tennessee at N.Y. Jets, 1 p.m.

Houston at Buffalo, 1 p.m.

Pittsburgh at Green Bay, 4:25 p.m.

Baltimore at Denver, 4:25 p.m.

Week 5 (Oct. 10)

Miami at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.

New Orleans at Washington, 1 p.m.

New England at Houston, 1 p.m.

Tennessee at Jacksonville, 1 p.m.

Chicago at Las Vegas, 4:05 p.m.

Cleveland at L.A. Chargers, 4:05 p.m.

Week 6 (Oct. 17) - Doubleheader

Miami at Jacksonville (London), 9:30 a.m.

Kansas City at Washington, 1 p.m.

L.A. Chargers at Baltimore, 1 p.m.

Houston at Indianapolis, 1 p.m.

Dallas at New England, 4:25 p.m.

Las Vegas at Denver, 4:25 p.m.

Week 7 (Oct. 24) - Doubleheader

Kansas City at Tennessee, 1 p.m.

N.Y. Jets at New England, 1 p.m.

Cincinnati at Baltimore, 1 p.m.

Chicago at Tampa Bay, 4:25 p.m.

Houston at Arizona, 4:25 p.m.

Week 8 (Oct. 31)

Pittsburgh at Cleveland, 1 p.m.

Miami at Buffalo, 1 p.m.

Tennessee at Indianapolis, 1 p.m.

Cincinnati at N.Y. Jets, 1 p.m.

New England at L.A. Chargers, 4:05 p.m.

Jacksonville at Seattle, 4:05 p.m.

Week 9 (Nov. 7)

Las Vegas at N.Y. Giants, 1 p.m.

New England at Carolina, 1 p.m.

Cleveland at Cincinnati, 1 p.m.

Buffalo at Jacksonville, 1 p.m.

L.A. Chargers at Philadelphia, 4:05 p.m.

Week 10 (Nov. 14) - Doubleheader

Cleveland at New England, 1 p.m.

New Orleans at Tennessee, 1 p.m.

Buffalo at N.Y. Jets, 1 p.m.

Jacksonville at Indianapolis, 1 p.m.

Seattle at Green Bay, 4:25 p.m.

Philadelphia at Denver, 4:25 p.m.

Week 11 (Nov. 21)

Baltimore at Chicago, 1 p.m.

Indianapolis at Buffalo, 1 p.m.

Miami at N.Y. Jets, 1 p.m.

Houston at Tennessee, 1 p.m.

Cincinnati at Las Vegas, 4:05 p.m.

Week 12 (Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25)

Las Vegas at Dallas, 4:30 p.m.

Week 12 (Nov. 28)

Tennessee at New England, 1 p.m.

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati, 1 p.m.

N.Y. Jets at Houston, 1 p.m.

Atlanta at Jacksonville, 1 p.m.

L.A. Chargers at Denver, 4:05 p.m.

Week 13 (Dec. 5) - Doubleheader

Denver at Kansas City, 1 p.m.

Philadelphia at N.Y. Jets, 1 p.m.

Minnesota at Detroit, 1 p.m.

Indianapolis at Houston, 1 p.m.

Baltimore at Pittsburgh, 4:25 p.m.

Jacksonville at L.A. Rams, 4:25 p.m.

Week 14 (Dec. 12) - Doubleheader

Las Vegas at Kansas City, 1 p.m.

Baltimore at Cleveland, 1 p.m.

San Francisco at Cincinnati, 1 p.m.

Jacksonville at Tennessee, 1 p.m.

Buffalo at Tampa Bay, 4:25 p.m.

Week 15 (Dec. 19)

Tennessee at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m.

Houston at Jacksonville, 1 p.m.

Atlanta at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m.

Cincinnati at Denver, 4:05 p.m.

Week 16 (Dec. 26) - Doubleheader

Buffalo at New England, 1 p.m.

Baltimore at Cincinnati, 1 p.m.

Jacksonville at N.Y. Jets, 1 p.m.

L.A. Chargers at Houston, 1 p.m.

Pittsburgh at Kansas City, 4:25 p.m.

Denver at Las Vegas, 4:25 p.m.

Week 17 (Jan. 2)

N.Y. Giants at Chicago, 1 p.m.

Las Vegas at Indianapolis, 1 p.m.

Kansas City at Cincinnati, 1 p.m.

Miami at Tennessee, 1 p.m.

Jacksonville at New England, 1 p.m.

Denver at L.A. Chargers, 4:05 p.m.

Houston at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m.

Week 18 (Jan. 9) - Doubleheader

Cincinnati at Cleveland, 1 p.m.

N.Y. Jets at Buffalo, 1 p.m.

Pittsburgh at Baltimore, 1 p.m.

Tennessee at Houston, 1 p.m.

Indianapolis at Jacksonville, 1 p.m.

New England at Miami, 1 p.m.

L.A. Chargers at Las Vegas, 4:25 p.m.

Kansas City at Denver, 4:25 p.m.

Phil Nickinson

Phil spent his 20s in the newsroom of the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, his 30s on the road for AndroidCentral.com and Mobile Nations, is the Dad part of Modern Dad, and is editor of WhatToWatch.com.