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You don’t see many stars in the last week of the preseason, but you might just see stars in the making.
In the final week before the regular season kicks off, teams solidify their roster. The Bengals and the Colts both have a number of interesting questions to answer before the regular season officially kicks off.
For the Colts, this is the first game since the shocking announcement of Andrew Luck’s retirement. Though we likely won’t see much of newly anointed QB starter Jacoby Brissett, there are other positions that are still being firmed up.
The Colts will be looking to solidify their depth at cornerback. While the top spots on the roster are firmly set in place, four hopefuls, Chris Milton, Marvell Tell, Nate Hairston, and Jalen Collins, will fight it out for what will likely be two remaining roster spots. At wide receiver, Deon Cain, Zach Pascal, Marcus Johnson, and Krishawn Hogan will battle it out to see who might join T.Y. Hilton and Devin Funchess in the Colts receiving corps.
On the Bengals side of the football, this roster simply needs to find more talent. While expectations are high for the rest of the AFC North, the Bengals are going to have to continue to find and develop talent if they are going to compete.
The injury to star wide receiver A.J. Green has opened the door for a bunch of unknown pass catchers to make an impact on this Bengals team. While undrafted Damion Willis has impressed in the preseason, Josh Malone, Cody Core, and Auden Tate will all have to show the coaching staff that they want a role in regular-season action. On the offensive line, rookie Michael Jordan threatens to knock some more experienced linemen off of their perch. On the defensive line, one of the Bengals’ areas of strength, lineman Andrew Brown will try to crack a solid unit and avoid the practice squad.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Cincinnati Bengals
- When: Saturday, Aug. 29 at 7pm ET
- Where: Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio
- Streaming: NFL Network (free trials with various streaming services)
How to watch the Colts vs. Bengals online
The Colts vs. Bengals game continues the NFL Network’s run of nationally televising preseason games, 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.
Colts vs. Bengals 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 Colts vs. Bengals 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.
Colts vs. Bengals: Why it matters
These are two very different teams. Until Luck’s retirement, the Colts seemed poised to be a top-tier AFC team. Expectations have rarely been lower for a Bengals team that perennially fails to put it all together.
However, at this moment, they are both in a similar position. They have some major issues that will open up opportunities for players on their roster bubble. With Andrew Luck gone, will the Colts receiving picture drastically change? With A.J. Green sidelined by injuries, will a new receiving threat emerge to help this historically mediocre offense?
Defensively, the Bengals have a unit slated to be a basement dweller. Can they find some final pieces to shore up their problems. By contrast, the Colts look like they could be a top-10 unit, turning around a trend of underperforming. Will they add some final pieces to what could be an elite defense?
Though many of the players fighting for roster spots on Thursday aren’t going to be household names, these final pieces of the roster puzzle could make or break the season for these teams. As the Colts hope to keep it all together without Andrew Luck, and the Bengals hope to avoid embarrassment, the stakes couldn’t be higher but both squads as they head into an uncertain Week 1.
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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.