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Offseason hype eventually gets put to the test. For these Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it’s time to see if chatter can translate to on-field production.
The Browns have become the buzziest team in football this offseason, with the team’s front office doing all they can to give quarterback Baker Mayfield the pieces he needs to win. The outlook isn’t quite so rosy in Tampa Bay, but the Buccaneers are getting plenty of ink nationally as well, as coach Bruce Arians comes to town in one last attempt to salvage the Jameis Winston Era.
Mayfield emerged as one of the league’s most electric young QBs last season. With the addition of Odell Beckham Jr. and the unexpected breakout of running back Nick Chubb, expectations are sky-high in Ohio. This week, we will get a chance to see just how explosive the offense might be.
Expectations are more muted in Tampa Bay, where Winston has never quite put it together. However, with Arians coming out of retirement, there is a “now or never” feeling in Tampa Bay. If famed QB whisperer Arians can’t put Winston over the top, the feeling is that no one can.
Cleveland Browns vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- When: Friday, Aug. 23 at 7:30pm ET
- Where: Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida
- Streaming: NFL Network (free trials with various streaming services)
How to watch the Buccaneers vs. Browns online
The Browns vs. Buccaneers game continues the NFL Network’s run of nationally televising the first week of the preseason, but even if you’ve cut the cable cord or you want to watch it on your mobile device, there are plenty of ways to accomplish that. But first, you’ll need to get acquainted with NFL Network.
What is NFL Network?
If you want to be immersed in pro football, NFL Network is the place to go. There’s plenty to love about NFL Network, including the ability to watch exclusive shows like Good Morning Football, NFL Total Access, A Football Life, Inside the NFL, and most importantly, Sunday’s NFL GameDay once the regular season begins. There’s also daily programming devoted to power rankings and fantasy football that football lovers will geek out over. NFL Network shows most Thursday night games during the regular season, and it’ll exclusively show some of the international games in 2019. Take note, though: NFL Network can no longer be seen via DirecTV Now.
The bottom line: If you want to get closer to the action and catch (almost) every Thursday Night Football game, you need NFL Network.
Browns vs. Buccaneers live stream: How to watch NFL Network
1) Sling TV
- Cost: $25-$40 per month (40% off first month)
- Sling TV devices: Amazon Fire TVs, Android Fire Stick, Apple TV, Android TV, Roku, Xbox One, Google Chromecast, Oculus Go, and iOS and Android devices
- Sling TV local channels: NBC, Fox (check your local availability here)
If you want to watch the Browns vs. Buccaneers online via Sling TV, you’ll need to be subscribed to either Sling Blue ($25 per month) or Sling Orange + Blue ($40 per month). Both of those packages include NFL Network and a number of sports channels—like three ESPN channels, NBCSN, and FS1—and it’s still a nice perk that Sling subscribers can order a la carte packages. Sling TV also offers a special Latino package for bilingual viewers. Sling TV is currently offering a deal where you can subscribe for 40% off the regular price for the first month of your subscription. That means Sling Blue would cost $15, and Sling Orange + Blue would cost $25. (Here’s a complete guide to Sling TV channels and our Sling TV review.)
- Cost: $54.99 per month (after a 7-day free trial)
- FuboTV devices: Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Android TV, iOS and Android devices
- FuboTV local channels: Fox, NBC, CBS (check local availability here)
If you’re a big-time sports fan, FuboTV is your best streaming service option. If you love international soccer and you’re a Spanish speaker, FuboTV also offers various add-on packages, including Fubo Latino and Fubo Português. FuboTV’s basic plan showcases nearly 100 channels and includes NFL Network. At $54.99 per month, you’ll also get FS1, FS2, NBCSN, NBA TV, Big Ten Network, Pac 12 Network, BeIn Sports, and CBS Sports Network, along with premium channels like FX/FXX/FXM. The only notable omission for sports fans is ESPN. You can add Fubo’s Sports Plus package for an additional $8.99 per month, which allows you to stream NFL RedZone, (Here’s the complete FuboTV channels list.)
- Cost: $44.99-$79.99 per month (after a 5-day free trial)
- PlayStation Vue devices: PlayStation 3 and 4, Roku, Amazon Fire, Google Chromecast, Kodi, iOS and Android devices
- PlayStation Vue local channels: NBC, Fox, ABC, CBS (enter your ZIP code here to check your availability)
If you’d like to watch live NFL games directly from your PS4, PlayStation Vue is your best bet. PlayStation also works with streaming devices like Roku and Amazon Fire products, but what separates PlayStation from the rest of the streaming services is that it’s also compatible with Kodi. No matter how you stream, you’ll get to choose from four tiers of channels—all but the cheapest include NFL Network. From there, you can also add NFL RedZone as part of the $10-per-month Sports Pack, which also unlocks ESPN Bases Loaded, ESPN Classic, Longhorn Network, Outside TV, and NBCUniversal regional sports networks. You can see the full list of PlayStation Vue channels here. Two other great perks: You can stream on up to five devices at once, and there’s also unlimited cloud DVR.
Other ways to watch NFL Network online
1) The NFL app
Cost: Depends on provider
Devices: Amazon Fire Stick, Apple TV, PS4, Roku, Android RV, iOS and Android devices
If you subscribe to NFL Network through a cable provider—or you know someone who does and they owe you a relatively large favor—you can also watch via the official NFL app. All you have to do is download it from your streaming device of choice—Amazon Fire Stick, Apple TV, PS4, Roku, or Android TV—and then enter in your cable credentials when prompted. You can also stream on any iOS or Android device, or on your desktop. Just visit nfl.com/watch.
Browns vs. Buccaneers: Why it matters
You never know how much of the starters’ play you get to see in Week 3 until game time, but if big-time players are going to get preseason playing time, it will come this week.
Both of these teams have more household names than a lot of other NFL squads on both sides of the ball. In addition to their flashy signal-callers, you have defensive stars like Myles Garrett, Olivier Vernon, Sheldon Richardson, Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David, and Carl Nassib taking the field. Offensively, it’s hard to think of two NFL receivers more electrifying than Beckham and Mike Evans.
Talent isn’t everything though, and these teams don’t exactly have inspiring track records. The Bucs have only posted two winning seasons in the last 10. For the beleaguered Browns, you have to go back to their 2007 10-6 season to find a year where they cracked .500.
But, for now, all these teams have is potential, and this weekend is the first step to seeing if either squad can turn the corner.
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Brenden Gallagher is a politics reporter and cultural commentator. His work has been published by Motherboard, Complex, and VH1. He’s the co-founder of Beer Money Films, an indie production company. Based in Los Angeles, he works in television drama as a writers assistant.